MOST people in Britain believe Scotland will vote for independence “within the next year or so”, according to dramatic new research.
The survey found 54% of voters thought the constitutional move would be backed within such a short timescale.
The study was part of the What Britain Thinks series run by leading pollster and academic Professor Sir John Curtice, of Strathclyde University in Glasgow, which aims to capture the mood of people across Britain.
It was based on an online survey of 2028 people across the UK, with the research carried out from September 25 and 27.
It also found that in Scotland, 61% of voters thought Scotland would back independence within the next year or so.
However, the specific Scottish percentage may carry less weight as it drew on a sample size of 160 people taking part in the survey in Scotland. The results follow a bombshell poll published within the last week, which found support for independence was at a record high with 58% of Scots saying they would back independence in a new referendum.
Responding to the latest results, SNP depute leader Keith Brown said: “Voters here in Scotland, and across the UK, agree: independence is coming. Poll after poll shows a majority support in favour of independence – leaving the Westminster parties lost for words.
“Even Douglas Ross, Boris Johnson’s man in Scotland, admits that his bosses don’t care about Scotland.”
The What Britain Thinks poll also found that a third of people who voted for Brexit were now pessimistic about their decision.
Brown added: “Brexit is a mess – more than a third of leave voters are now pessimistic about their decision – and no wonder with Boris Johnson telling the country to brace itself for a No Deal in the middle of a public health crisis.
“Clearly, it’s time for Scotland to avoid the self-inflicted catastrophe of dodgy trade deals and lower living standards by instead choosing our own future through independence.”
The new What Britain Thinks poll and the Ipsos Mori survey for STV News published last week are the latest in a series of research work showing growing support and confidence in the prospect of Scotland becoming an independent nation.
A survey published by Ipsos Mori at the beginning of October found that 95% of the top business executives are confident their company would adapt to the consequences of independence.
The relaxed attitude among industry figures marks a significant change in that community’s mood compared to the run-up to the 2014 referendum, when many business leaders were hostile toward independence.
Meanwhile, one bookmaker company yesterday said that the odds of independence being backed in a new referendum are shortening as punters react to the opinion polls.
BoyleSports, Ireland’s largest independent bookmaker, based in Dundalk, County Louth, said the odds are in favour of Scotland reversing the 2014 result if asked to vote again, with a Yes vote to independence now sitting at 4/5 from 11/10.
Lawrence Lyons, spokesman for BoyleSports, said: “If the opinion polls are to be believed, support for Scottish independence is at an all-time high and now the betting trends are gathering momentum in that direction too.
“The majority of our customers in this market now think a new referendum will offer a different result than in 2014 and we have to make it an odds-on shot at 4/5 from 11/10.”
The Ipsos Mori poll for STV News found just 42% of Scots now back staying in the UK.
Nicola Sturgeon urged her fellow SNP members not to take the growing support for independence for granted.
The First Minister wrote on social media: “Stay focused and independence will follow – I’ve never been more certain.
“But our, my, immediate responsibility is to lead Scotland through Covid – right now, nothing matters more.”
The STV poll also found 64% of Scots said the UK Government should agree to another referendum within the next five years if the SNP wins a majority at the Holyrood election next year.
It puts the SNP on course for a majority, with 58% of voters planning to back the party in the constituency vote.
However, Prime Minister Boris Johnson has refused to hand powers to Holyrood to hold a new vote, following the process agreed between David Cameron and Alex Salmond ahead of the referendum in September 2014.
The STV news poll found the First Minister was the most trusted among the UK’s political leaders, with a net positive of 49% among those asked – that’s compared to Johnson’s net negative of 58%.
The Scottish Government will publish a draft referendum bill setting out the question, the timing and the terms of a new independence referendum before the end of the current parliamentary term in March next year.