Sturgeon says independence 'essential' to avoid Brexit 'disaster'
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Scots have backed independence in a fourth consecutive poll in a boost to Nicola Sturgeon’s bid to break up the UK. The YouGov survey of 1,090 voters Scottish voters found 47 percent would vote in favour of Scotland becoming an independent country in a fresh referendum.
Support for the union stood at 42 percent in the poll carried out between December 6 and 9.
A further eight percent said they did not know or would not vote.
Backing for independence is up four percent since the last YouGov survey in October, while support for remaining in the UK is down three points.
When unsure and non-voters are excluded, support for Scotland breaking away from the union sits at 53 percent, compared to 47 percent against.
It is the fourth poll in a row to show the push for Scottish independence outstripping remaining in the union, following surveys from Redfield and Wilton Strategies, Ipsos and Find Out Now.
Polling expert Professor Sir John Curtice, of Strathclyde University, said the poll was the highest pro-independence result recorded by YouGov.
He added that it equalled a survey in August 2020 when Ms Sturgeon was riding a wave of goodwill for her clear communication in the early stages of the Covid pandemic.
Prof Curtice told The Times: “On this evidence, just saying no to another ballot does not look like a viable long-term strategy for maintaining public support for the Union.”
But the poll suggests that Ms Sturgeon could run into problems over her plot to use the next general election as a de facto referendum.
The Scottish First Minister set out the plan after the Supreme Court last month ruled that Holyrood cannot legislate for a second referendum without the consent of Westminster.
The SNP leader said the next general election will act as a de facto referendum, with more than 50 percent of the vote for pro-independence parties needed for a mandate.
But the survey shows voters could be unsure of the plan, with support for the SNP in a general election projected to fall two points to 43 percent.
Some 52 percent said they do not think a pro-independence vote majority would constitute a mandate for a referendum, with 23 percent of SNP supporters agreeing with the view.
Meanwhile, 39 percent said the de facto referendum would be enough to leave the UK, while 9 percent were not sure.
However, 51 percent believed the Scottish Parliament should have the power to hold the ballot, compared with 39 percent against and 10 percent undecided.
A majority – 52 percent – were against a 2023 referendum, with 38 percent in favour and none percent unsure.
But 51 percent did say there should be a vote within the next five years.
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