Support for Scottish independence has surged in the last decade
After the release of the recent YOUGOV poll, a Reddit Scotland user created three graphs showing trends in Scottish independence polling.
The first graph highlights that since 2011 support for independence has risen dramatically. Whereas support for the union has remained fairly steady.
The 2014 independence referendum seems to have had an impact on support for and against. Support for the union slowly decreased leading up to the referendum and has increased again since. Whereas, the rate that independence has gained support started to drop off after the 2014 referendum.
This is probably why Labour and the Conservatives are fighting so hard to stop a second referendum from happening.
The number of people who don’t know how they would vote seems to have steadily declined in that timeframe.
Graph 2 shows the trend since the 2014 independence referendum.
The numbers seem to have remained fairly steady for a while but seem to have started moving in favour of No in 2016.
Which might be related to the EU referendum.
Graph 3 shows the trend since the EU ref.
There was a wee spurt in favour of Yes just after the EU vote but since then the polls have slowly inched towards No.
So, what to make of the results?
I’m not an expert on interpreting polls but it is clear that there has been a massive increase in support for Scottish independence in a relatively short time.
It also seems to be that the bulk of that increase occurred when there was an active campaign promoting a Yes vote. So, this shows we have come a long way and if we were to get organised and in campaign mode again then perhaps the trend could continue.
On a negative note, Brexit thus far seems to have had the opposite impact than I would have expected.
As we have pointed out before, nothing highlights the need for independence more than Brexit. Scotland is being forced into doing something that most Scots don’t want and that most Scots think will be damaging. Yet, support for taking control over our own fate is at best stagnating.
There are probably a few things to note here.
- Brexit has not yet happened so maybe there is still potential for a Brexit swing towards independence.
- Many independence supporters voted for Brexit and their votes may now be lost. An EFTA type deal for an independent Scotland has been floated as a way to win those votes back.
- The union backing parties in Scotland have been strongly campaigning on anti-independence tickets in recent years which may have influenced public opinion.
- There has not been a similarly strong campaign promoting independence. Even when the SNP announced they would be seeking a second referendum, I never felt they really got behind the idea and there was no great effort to rally the ground troops behind an inspiring message.
- The general public is suffering from a major case of voter fatigue and feels like they need a break.
All in all, the general trend is encouraging as it shows that when there is an actual campaign, momentum moves in our favour. I’m fairly confident that, with the right post-Brexit message the long-term trend would continue if there was to be an indyref2.
I guess the biggest problem now is arranging a binding vote. Time is running out this term and a pro-indy majority is far from guaranteed at Holyrood in the future.
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