Bloomberg News

U.K. Support for Scottish Independence Is Increasing, Poll Says

October 17, 2011

Oct. 17 (Bloomberg) -- More people in the U.K. support independence for Scotland than oppose it, according to a poll published in the Edinburgh-based Scotsman newspaper today.

The proportion of U.K. voters in favour of Scotland going it alone rose six percentage points to 39 percent since May, while opposition to independence fell four percentage points to 38 percent, a poll conducted by ComRes showed.

“Among the ordinary folk in England, there’s a substantial amount of support for the idea that Scotland wants to stand on its own two feet and make its own way in the world,” Scottish First Minister Alex Salmond told the Scotsman. “I think there is a deep undercurrent of support.”

The ComRes poll matches the findings of a poll by TNS-BRMB published last month in the Glasgow-based Herald newspaper. Salmond, leader of the pro-independence Scottish National Party and Scotland’s semi-autonomous government, promised to hold an independence referendum in the second half of the five-year parliament that started in May.

Support in Scotland for independence rose 11 percentage points since May to 49 percent, while backing for staying in the U.K. dropped nine percentage points to 37 percent, the ComRes poll showed.

The latest Scottish social attitudes survey, published yesterday, showed 74 percent of Scots say the Scottish government should have the most influence over their lives. The sample of 176 Scottish voters was dismissed by Scottish Labour leader Iain Gray as too small to be taken seriously.

The referendum might include a question on whether Scotland should have economic independence and leave foreign affairs and defense policy to the U.K. government in London, Salmond said. That was a legitimate point of view, he told the Scotsman.

Salmond won’t bring forward the referendum as U.K. Prime Minister David Cameron has urged, he said.

Salmond is currently seeking extra borrowing powers as well as more control over corporation tax, excise duties and the Crown Estate to be given to the Scottish Parliament in Edinburgh under legislation being considered by U.K. lawmakers.

ComRes polled 2,004 people including 176 in Scotland.

--Editors: Tim Farrand, Lukanyo Mnyanda

To contact the reporter on this story: Peter Woodifield in Edinburgh at pwoodifield@bloomberg.net.

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Colin Keatinge at ckeatinge@bloomberg.net.


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