In a new UK KnowledgePanel survey by Ipsos MORI, half of the UK public (51%) believe the Scottish National Party should be allowed to hold another independence referendum if they win a majority of seats in the 2021 Scottish Parliament elections. Four in ten (40%) say the UK Government should not allow this.
Support for holding another referendum is highest among those in Northern Ireland (66%) and Scotland (56%), while a majority of those in England and Wales also believe the SNP should be able to hold another referendum (51%).
Half of the UK public would prefer Scotland to vote against becoming an independent country if another referendum was held while 17% would prefer them to vote for this. Opinion is split in Scotland - 46% would prefer their country to vote against independence while 45% would prefer Scots to vote for it. Those in England and Wales are most likely to want Scotland to vote against leaving the UK (51% and 57% respectively).
Four in ten (41%) of the public across England, Wales and Northern Ireland would feel sad if Scotland did vote to leave the UK while 38% say it would make no difference to them. Only 7% say they would be happy. Those in Northern Ireland are significantly more likely to say they would feel happy should this be the outcome; a quarter say they would be happy (24%) and 29% say they would be sad, although most (38%) say it would make no difference to them.
Looking to the future, over half (53%) expect the UK not to exist in its current form in 10 years’ time, with those in Scotland and Northern Ireland more likely to say this (61% and 59% respectively). Over a third (35%) expect the UK not to exist in its current form in five years’ time – rising to 45% of those in Scotland.
Six in ten (59%) of the UK public believe the UK will become weaker if Scotland decides to leave, while only 11% believe this would make the UK stronger. Half (48%) believe it would make England weaker while 60% predict it will make Scotland weaker.
Emily Gray, Managing Director of Ipsos MORI Scotland, said:
The Scottish Parliament elections on 6 May look set to be a critical point in the future of the Union. Should the Scottish National Party win a majority of seats, as looks likely if current levels of support hold, it will be much more difficult for the UK Government to refuse a second referendum on independence. And these figures suggest that on balance, the UK public are on board with that course of action - more believe that the UK Government should allow a second referendum in the event of a SNP majority than say it should not.
This data has been collected by Ipsos MORI’s UK KnowledgePanel, a random probability panel which provides gold standard insights into the UK population, by providing bigger sample sizes via the most rigorous research methods
Ipsos MORI interviewed a representative sample of 8,558 people over 16 in the UK. Interviews were conducted online from 1 to 7 April 2021.
Data are weighted to match the profile of the population. All polls are subject to a wide range of potential sources of error.
Pre-election, Scots were divided over Scottish Government’s course of action if UK Government refuses a second referendum
A majority of those who would vote No to independence thought that in this situation the Scottish Government should accept another referendum cannot be held in the next five years, while over half of Yes supporters thought that the Scottish Government should take legal action against the UK Government.