83% of Scots more likely to support independence due to Boris Johnson. Our August Panelbase poll proved to be one of the most interesting political polls in Scottish history. It found 55% support for Scottish independence, reversing the 2014 referendum result and sending shockwaves throughout political society.
An extensive poll, many of the questions had the goal of simply directing our policy work and campaign messaging but taken together they paint a picture of crumbling support for the Union; it seems, however, that the secondary data has been just as revealing. Including that:
- 63% of Scottish voters think Yes would win a 2021 referendum
- 70% of Scots have more confidence in the Scottish Government to manage the economy compared with Westminster
- 42% of Labour voters now support independence
One of the most striking findings of the research is that – of those that said it would make a difference – 83% of voters in Scotland were more likely to vote for independence due to Boris Johnson being the UK Prime Minister.
This is an important finding as it suggests that the recent rise in support for Scottish independence is driven as much by the motivation to get away from Boris Johnson’s unpopular leadership as his Brexit and COVID-19 mismanagement.
We asked: “Has Boris Johnson being Prime Minister made you more or less likely to support Scottish independence?”
Overall 37% said that it made no difference and these responses were split between independence and Union supporters
- 52% said it made them more likely to support independence
- 10% said it made them less likely to support Scottish independence
When you remove those to whom it made no difference, we find 83% would be more likely to vote Yes in a new Scottish independence referendum. Whichever way the data is presented it is disastrous news for the PM who has awarded himself the title of Minister for the Union, thus suggesting that the man taking personal responsibility for maintaining the Union is one of the key reasons the Union is unlikely to survive.
The breakdown of the data demonstrates where the negativity towards Boris Johnson is having the biggest impact:
- 57% of Labour voters were more likely to vote for independence (83% of those to whom it made a difference)
- 14% of Conservative voters were more likely to vote for independence (37% of those to whom it made a difference)
- 37% of Lib Dem voters were more likely to vote for independence (91% of those to whom it made a difference)
48% of people who voted No in 2014 said Johnson being Prime Minister made no difference to their constitutional position whilst 39% of 2014 No voters said they were more likely to vote Yes now. Of those that said it did make a difference a massive 74% of 2014 No voters were more likely to support independence due to Johnson being PM. Conversely, only 7% of 2014 Yes voters were more likely to vote No for the same reason (we assume this is largely due to Yes voters who also voted Leave in the EU referendum).
The top-line independence data – 55% Yes versus 45% No – illustrates the change that has happened in attitudes to Scottish independence that have manifested so far. The continuing unpopularity of Brexit in Scotland and of Boris Johnson and his Unionist Government explain some of the key reasons for growing independence support and suggests the direction of travel towards Yes is likely to continue for the foreseeable future.
Opinion by GMK
Boris Johnson is deeply unpopular in Scotland but it’s not just the man personally, it’s a complex jigsaw of Brexit, perceived incompetence and the unpopularity of his Government and his ministers overall that paints the whole picture. There is no-one within the Conservative ranks that posseses the people power to engage and increase trust in the Westminster government. Additionally, with almost half of Dec 2019 GE Labour voters supporting independence, if Labour tries to reclaim the mantle of the party of the Union their support is likely to disintegrate ahead of the 2021 Holyrood election.