Poll: Euroscepticism in Scotland at record level

SNP leader Nicola Sturgeon [SNP/Flickr]

Support for Scottish independence is at its highest ever but it might not be the best time for Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon to hold a new referendum, a survey by ScotCen’s Scottish Social Attitudes said on Wednesday (15 March).

The survey showed 46% of the Scottish public backing independence from UK, twice the level of support in 2012. 42% supported devolution while 8% did not want a Scottish parliament at all.

But the report suggested a second independence referendum could prove difficult for Sturgeon’s Scottish National Party to win.

Scotland seeks second referendum amid Brexit doubts

The Scottish government announced today (13 March) a new independence vote, pre-empting this week’s expected start of the Brexit process. Nicola Sturgeon will seek the power to call a new referendum on whether Scotland should follow the UK out of the EU or form its own country.

Scottish voters backed remaining in the European Union by 62% to 38% in the Brexit referendum last year, against the overall United Kingdom trend. But the survey said scepticism about the EU in Scotland was now at the highest level ever recorded by ScotCen.

The survey recorded that two in three Scots either wanted the UK to leave the EU or the EU’s powers to be reduced, compared with 53% considered “Eurosceptic” in 2014.

Voters’ commitment to the EU could be “too weak” to persuade them to change their minds about independence, the survey found.

“High levels of Euroscepticism in Scotland mean focusing on EU membership may not be the best way to swing voters in favour of ‘Yes’,” the pollsters said.

Still, support for independence was at its highest ever. 72% of voters aged between 16 and 24 were in favour of Scotland’s independence compared to only 26% above the age of 65.

“Overwhelming support for independence among younger voters might mean there is majority support for independence in future,” ScotCen said.

On Monday (13 March) Sturgeon said that she would demand a referendum be held in late 2018 or early 2019, once the terms of Britain’s exit from the EU have become clear.

British Prime Minister Theresa May’s spokesman said on Tuesday (14 March) she was committed to engaging with the Scottish government on Brexit plans.

SNP Brexit minister: There is no such thing as a UK 'single market'

On the day Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon announced a new referendum on independence, EURACTIV.com quizzed the SNP’s Brexit minister in Brussels on whether Scotland could actually rejoin the EU and why pro-independence polls hadn’t budged since the Brexit vote in June.

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