Scottish independence: More would vote for remaining in UK if referendum were held tomorrow, poll suggests

A small survey has suggested more Scots would vote in favour of remaining in the UK if a second independence referendum was held. 

Some 46% said they would vote No for Scottish independence if a referendum was carried out tomorrow, while 43% said they would vote Yes and a further 10% said they didn’t know, in polling carried out by Savanta ComRes for The Scotsman on Sunday.

When unsure voters are excluded, the poll indicates 52% to 48% in favour of the union, according to Savanta ComRes.

A total of 1,015 people were surveyed between 4 and 5 March, although the figures have not been weighted for voter turnout. This means the figures are not directly comparable with previous polls on the subject, which have consistently shown the Yes vote having a lead for months.

However, the poll does give some indication that the Alex Salmond inquiry could be turning some voters away from Scottish independence.

Both First Minister Nicola Sturgeon and her predecessor Mr Salmond have given evidence at a Holyrood inquiry into the handling of harassment complaints against the former first minister.

The polling was carried out in the two days immediately after Ms Sturgeon appeared before the committee.

Asked which issues were making survey respondents more or less likely to vote for independence, those interviewed said the Salmond inquiry was the biggest driver against voting Yes.

More than a third (35%) said this would make them less likely to vote Yes.

On the other hand, 16% said it would make them more likely to vote Yes, and 41% said it made no difference. Another 8% said they didn’t know.

The next issue most likely to drive voters towards supporting staying in the UK was Brexit, with 26% saying it would make them less likely to vote for independence.

The Scottish government’s handling of the pandemic and the vaccine rollout were the issues most likely to see survey respondents choose independence.

Some 43% of respondents said they now trust Ms Sturgeon less due to the inquiry, although trust in Mr Salmond has fallen more at 57%.

Former SNP leader Mr Salmond was awarded a payout by the Court of Session after it ruled in January 2019 the Scottish government had acted unlawfully in its handling of sexual harassment allegations against him.

He was acquitted of 13 charges in March 2020 following a criminal trial.

A separate inquiry is now under way to consider if Ms Sturgeon breached the ministerial code, with the first minister answering questions for eight hours before a Scottish parliament committee.

The SNP’s Mhairi Black will be speaking to Sky’s Sophy Ridge on Sunday this morning from 8.30am

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