Scottish Independence Support Retains Strong Lead in Latest Poll

Scottish support for breaking away from the rest of the U.K. is rising because of concern over Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s leadership, according to the latest opinion poll.

A survey by JL Partners reported by news website Politico found 56% of voters were in favor of independence with 44% against when excluding respondents who didn’t know which way they would vote. It also put support for the Scottish National Party as high as 58% versus 19% for Johnson’s Conservatives ahead of May’s Scottish elections.

The poll of 1,016 voters was conducted in September. Brexit, the U.K. government’s handling of the coronavirus pandemic and the increasing inclination to settle the independence issue with a new referendum also played into the 12-point lead for independence supporters, Politico said.

The results are in line with recent polling that suggests there’s now firm and rising support for Scottish independence, something that’s beginning to worry the British government.

Bloomberg News reported earlier this month that the Conservatives are sketching out a strategy to counter rising support, with a document produced by a consultancy firm circulated to a select group of people including Cabinet minister Michael Gove.

Continuing to dismiss Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon’s calls for another independence vote outright could be “counterproductive,” the memo said. Key will be stopping the SNP from winning a majority in May, something the party is on course to do.

A poll published by Ipsos MORI this month put support for independence at as high as 58% based on people who expressed a voting intention. In a referendum in 2014, Scots voted 55% to 45% to remain in the U.K., though then voted two years later against leaving the European Union.

©2020 Bloomberg L.P.

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