Scottish Independence Referendum & Westminster Voting Intention (3-5 June 2023)

June 7, 2023
R&WS Research Team
Approval Rating | GB Politics | GB Public Figures | Scottish Independence | UK Elections | UK Politics | Voting Intention

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Redfield & Wilton Strategies’ latest monthly Scottish independence referendum voting intention poll finds ‘no’ leading by 7%

Altogether (with changes from 30 April-2 May in parentheses), 50% (-2) of Scottish respondents say they would vote ‘no’ and 43% (+1) say they would vote ‘yes’ if there were to be a referendum tomorrow on whether Scotland should be an independent country. 7% (+1) don’t know how they would vote. 

Support for Scottish independence remains strong among younger Scots, with 61% (+6) of 25-to-34-year-olds, as well as a plurality (48%, –) of those aged 16-to-24, saying they would vote ‘yes’ for independence. By comparison, only 35% (-2) of those aged 55-to-64 and 31% (-1) of those aged over 65 would vote ‘yes.’ 

Those who voted for the Scottish National Party (75%) in the 2019 General Election are significantly more likely than those who voted Conservative (11%) or Labour (26%) to say they would vote ‘yes.’ 

On the question of whether a second referendum should take place, and if so, when, 42% (+5) would support a referendum on Scottish independence being held in the next year, while 40% (-7) would oppose one being held in this timeframe.

Given a broader timeframe of between one and five years, a narrow plurality (42%, +3) of Scottish voters would support—against 39% (-3) who would oppose—a referendum on Scottish independence being held in that period

On the possible conditions for holding a second independence referendum, a plurality (44%) of Scots agree that a second independence referendum should only be held if the UK Government agrees to it. 39% disagree.  

Secretary of State for Scotland Alister Jack has previously suggested that the calling of a second independence referendum should be conditional on public opinion polls consistently showing that 60% of Scots want one. 49% of Scottish voters agree with this proposed condition, including 51% of 2019 SNP voters. 

If a second referendum were to be held in Scotland in the next six months, 38% (+7) of voters in Scotland say they would expect the ‘yes, for independence’ side to win, whereas 43% (-7) think the ‘no, against independence’ side would win. 20% (+1) of respondents say they don’t know who would win if a referendum were held in the next six months. 

Pluralities of Scottish voters say neither adopting the Euro (40%) nor creating a new currency post-independence (40%) would make them more or less likely to support Scottish independence. 

27% say if Rishi Sunak were Prime Minister at the time of a referendum it would make them more likely to support independence, although a majority of 52% still say it would make them neither more nor less likely either way. Likewise, 54% say if Keir Starmer was Prime Minister at the time of a referendum it would also make them neither more nor less likely to support independence.

The next major electoral test for the Scottish parties is the next United Kingdom General Election, which must be held before January 2025.

When voters are asked who they would vote for if a UK General Election were held tomorrow, the Scottish National Party leads Labour by nine points, six points more than in our previous Scottish tracker poll. The Conservatives are in third place, eight points behind Labour.

Altogether the results of our Westminster Voting Intention poll (with changes from 30 April-2 May in parentheses) are as follows:

Scottish National Party 37% (+2)
Labour 28% (-4)
Conservative 20% (+2)
Liberal Democrat 9% (–)
Green 3% (–)
Reform 3% (+1)
Other 0% (-1)

Overall, the Labour Party remains the most favourably viewed party in Scotland, holding a net favourability rating of +9% (-3).

The SNP is the second most favourably viewed party, gaining six points in net favourability from our previous poll to hold a net positive rating of +2%. All other parties hold negative net favourability ratings, while an outright majority of Scottish voters have an unfavourable view of the Conservative Party (55%).

63% of Scottish voters cite the economy as one of the three most important issues that would determine how they would vote in a General Election, ahead of the NHS (61%). 

25% of respondents cite Scottish Independence/The Union as one of the three issues that would most determine their vote if a General Election was held tomorrow. Among 2019 SNP voters Scottish Independence is only the third most commonly selected issue (38%) behind the NHS (66%) and the economy (63%).

Prime Minister Rishi Sunak receives a net approval rating of -13%, up nine points from his rating last month. Our poll finds 40% (-4) of Scots disapprove of his overall job performance against 27% (+5) who approve.

Sunak’s Chancellor of the Exchequer, Jeremy Hunt, has a slightly worse net approval rating, although his rating also improves by nine points from last month. 37% (-4) disapprove of Hunt’s performance as Chancellor, compared to 22% (+5) who approve, giving him a net approval rating of -15% (+9). 

Asked their view on the UK Government, a majority of Scots (60%, -3) say the current UK Government is incompetent. Only 17% (+1) view the UK Government as competent.

On its policy performance, Scottish voters give the UK Government negative net approval ratings on every policy issue listed, including on the NHS (-49%), the economy (-41%), and housing (-35%).

Labour leader Keir Starmer’s net approval rating in Scotland stands at -3%, down five points from our previous poll. 29% (-1) of Scottish voters approve of Starmer’s job performance, against 32% (+4) who disapprove. 

However, when asked which would be a better Prime Minister between Rishi Sunak and Keir Starmer, 41% (–) of Scottish voters say Keir Starmer and 28% (+1) say Rishi Sunak. 31% (-1) say they don’t know.

The next Scottish Parliamentary Election is not due to be held until May 2026.

When voters are asked who they would vote for if a Scottish Parliamentary Election were held tomorrow, the Scottish National Party retains its lead in our constituency voting intention poll and is now tied with Labour in our regional list voting intention poll.

Altogether the results of our Holyrood Constituency Voting Intention poll (with changes from 30 April-2 May in parentheses) are as follows: 

Scottish National Party 36% (–)
Scottish Labour 29% (-3)
Scottish Conservatives 21% (+3)
Scottish Liberal Democrats 8% (–)
Scottish Green Party 2% (–)
Reform UK Scotland 2% (–)
Alba Party 1% (–)
Other 0% (–)

When voters are asked who they would vote for on their regional list ballot, the Labour Party (25%, -2) and the SNP (25%, –) are tied, with the Scottish Conservatives in third position on 19% (–).

Humza Yousaf’s latest net approval rating is -5%, up twelve points from last month. 29% (+7) approve and 34% (-5) disapprove of his overall job performance since he became Leader of the SNP, with a further 30% (–) saying they neither approve nor disapprove of his job performance.

Among other party leaders in the Scottish parliament the Conservatives leader, Douglas Ross, holds a net approval rating of -22%, down one point from last month’s poll. The Scottish Labour leader, Anas Sarwar, holds a net approval rating of +4%, up one point from last month.

A plurality (42%, -2) say the current Scottish Government is incompetent, compared to 30% (+5) who say it is competent. 

The Scottish Government earns negative ratings for its policy performance on every issue listed, except for the coronavirus pandemic (+34%) and the environment (+2%). 

The Scottish Government holds double-digit net negative ratings for its handling of issues including gender reform (-21%), drug policy (-20%), housing (-16%), crime/policing (-13%), the economy (-12%), and the NHS (-12%). 

43% disapprove of the Scottish Government’s performance on Scottish independence, compared to 33% who approve. 

Yousaf (41%, +4) leads Ross (27%, +2) by 14 points for best First Minister, while Yousaf (36%, +5) also leads Sarwar (29%, –) by seven points.

The Scottish Government has proposed the introduction of a Deposit Return Scheme (DRS) in 2024, which will add a 20p surcharge to single-use containers that is refunded to people who return the then empty bottles or cans to retailers or hospitality premises

A plurality (47%) of Scottish voters support the proposed Deposit Return Scheme, against 28% who oppose it.

The UK Government has proposed a rival scheme, which would also set a 20p surcharge on single-use plastic or aluminium containers but would exclude glass containers from this scheme.

While a narrow plurality (34%) support the UK Government’s alternative scheme—compared to 31% who oppose it—Scottish voters would prefer the Scottish Government’s proposal to be implemented.

47% would prefer to see a DRS implemented in Scotland that includes glass containers, while only 13% would prefer to see a DRS that excludes glass containers. A further 25% would prefer to see no DRS implemented at all.

Finally, a recent review into the culture within Police Scotland led the Chief Constable of the force, Sir Iain Livingstone, to publicly accept that “Police Scotland is institutionally racist and discriminatory.”

A majority (52%) agree with the Chief Constable’s statement that Police Scotland is institutionally racist, against only 14% who disagree.

There is no consensus, however, on how Police Scotland is dealing with the issue, with a plurality of 42% responding that they ‘don’t know’ when asked if Police Scotland is taking the right steps to reduce instances of institutional racism and sexism within the force. 30% believe the force is taking the right steps to deal with the issue, while another 29% believe it is not doing so.

To find out more information about this research contact our research team. Redfield & Wilton Strategies is a member of the British Polling Council and abides by its rules. Follow us on Twitter

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