• MySTV

Poll: Half of Scots would back independence after Brexit

Sturgeon would face a 'tough decision' if Britain voted to leave the EU, a polling expert said.

Hard choice: Sturgeon has a 'tough decision' to make if Britain leaves the EU.
Hard choice: Sturgeon has a 'tough decision' to make if Britain leaves the EU. Toby Melville/PA Wire/Press Association Images

Scotland would be divided in half on independence if the UK votes to leave the European Union, a new poll suggests.

Scots would be split 50/50 on independence in the event Britain left the EU, according to a new Panelbase survey for the Sunday Times and Heart FM.

The poll revealed Brexit would push up support for independence from 47% to 50% - but this was down from a similar poll in January, which said support for independence would rise from 47% to 52% in the event of Brexit.

Support for staying in the European Union remained strong among Scots, with 63% in favour and 37% against.

Professor John Curtice, a polling expert from Strathclyde University, told the Sunday Times: "Although Scotland apparently remains determined to vote by nearly two to one in favour of remaining in the EU, this does not mean that a UK-wide vote to leave would necessarily clear the way for Nicola Sturgeon to hold and win a second independence referendum.

"Such an outcome is more likely to leave her with a tough decision as to whether to call a second referendum at all."

Professor Curtice added that the 50/50 split on independence would leave the First Minister "well short of the 60% support for independence she says she would want to see before calling a second referendum".

The 50/50 split was determined by stripping out undecided voters and those unlikely to vote. With undecideds included, the figures were 46% Yes, 45% No and 9% Don't Know.

The poll also suggested a narrow majority support holding another independence referendum if the UK votes to leave the EU, with 45% in favour, 42% against and 12% undecided.

The Panelbase poll was carried out between April 6 and April 5 2016, and surveyed 1021 voters in Scotland.

The SNP said many Scots would demand a second referendum if they were "dragged out of Europe" unwillingly.

A party spokesperson said: "The First Minister has already made it very clear that in the event of Scotland being dragged out of Europe against our will, there would likely be a strong public demand for a second independence referendum.

"As she has also made clear, the timing of any such vote is ultimately a matter for the people of Scotland.

"In the meantime, we will be adding our voice to the efforts to keep Scotland and the rest of the UK in the EU, and stop us being taken out of Europe by a campaign led by Tory right-wingers and UKIP."

Scottish Labour called for the country to "move on" from the idea of independence.

"Labour's manifesto will rule out another referendum for the lifetime of the next Parliament," a spokesperson said.

"No matter how we voted in the referendum we all need to move on as a country.

"The major new powers coming to the Scottish Parliament give us the chance to stop the cuts and invest in the future. That should be the priority."

A fresh independence referendum "amid the tumult of Brexit" could be a mistake, the Scottish Greens warned.

A spokesperson said: "Greens have cautioned that a push for another independence referendum amid the tumult of Brexit would be unwise.

"We strongly support independence and believe Scotland should ask itself the question again when there is a clear public appetite."

The SNP should stop trying to find reasons for a new independence vote, said the Lib Dems.

Party leader Willie Rennie said: "The SNP should not be jumping at any opportunity to find ways to justify a second independence referendum.

"We can't wait on the SNP while they spend their days using fine-tooth combs to work out what constitutes a material change in circumstances."

Rennie added: "Scotland's place should be firmly in the UK and the UK's place should be firmly in Europe."

The Remain campaign said the benefits of EU membership "touch all parts of Scottish society".

John Edward, senior spokesperson for Scotland Stronger In Europe, said: "In the independence referendum, both the Yes and No sides stressed the importance of European Union membership," adding that Scotland could have a "decisive impact on the UK-wide result".

He added: "The benefits of being in Europe touch all parts of Scottish society - rights for families such as maternity and paternity leave, protection for workers including paid holiday leave, a boost to business from guaranteed access to the single market, freedoms for pensioners, and opportunities for young people."

Tom Harris of the Scottish campaign to leave the EU said support for Leave was coming from people who voted both Yes and No in 2014.

The head of Scottish Vote Leave said: "On 23 June we will be asked a vital question and it would be unfair to everyone in Scotland if we used the referendum as a proxy about any other issue than our future membership of the EU.

"It's clear that support for Leave is coming from both Yes and No voters who reject David Cameron's campaign to keep Scotland in the EU."

Harris added: "Voters across Scotland want to see more powers for Scotland, control over our borders and to take back the £1.5bn Scotland sends to Brussels every year, which is why we believe a victory for Leave in Scotland is within our reach."

The Scottish Conservatives have been approached for comment.

One account. All of STV.

This field is required. That doesn't look like a valid e-mail format, please check. That e-mail's already in our system. Please try again.
Forgot password?
This field is required. This must be at least 6 characters long. Did you enter your details correctly?
If you've forgotten your details then use the 'Forgot password?' link.
Need to reset your password?

We'll send a link to reset your password to

We've sent you details on how to reset your password

Please check your email and follow the instructions.

Forgotten your email address?

Have you forgotten the email address that you previously joined with? Don't worry, by emailing enquiries@stv.tv we can help.

One account. All of STV.

This field is required. Please enter at least 2 characters
This field is required. Please enter at least 2 characters
This must be at least 6 characters long.
This field is required. This must be at least 6 characters long.
You must be over 16 to join STV.
This field is required. This doesn't appear to be a valid date
We need this to check that you live in an STV region.
This field is required. This doesn't appear to be a valid postcode
Would you like us to email you about our great shows and services from time to time?
We'll only send emails we think you'll like (see example) based on information you have supplied and shows you have watched on STV Player. For details on emails and advertising, see our STV & You page.
Would you like to receive emails from the Scottish Children's Lottery about draws, instant games and competitions?
We support the Scottish Children's Lottery (SCL), which is managed by our colleagues at STV ELM Ltd. You can find out more about the SCL on its website, including its Privacy Policy.

By continuing you agree to our Terms of Use, and understand our Privacy and Cookie Policies.

Upload Profile Picture

Please make sure your image is under 2mb in size and a valid JPG, PNG or GIF.

Are you sure?

Unfortunately, you'll be unable to access our premium content. We’ll be sorry to see you go, but if you change your mind you can rejoin us at any time.

Please verify your STV account

Please verify your STV account using the email we sent you. If you have lost the email, we can send you another one, just click the button below.


We've sent you a new verification email.
Please check your email and follow the instructions to verify your account.

Welcome to STV
Thanks for joining us.


Sorry, you must be at least 12 years old to place a vote for your Real Hero.

Please review our Voting Terms of Use for more information.


Sorry! It seems that you are using a browser that is incompatible with our voting service.

To register your vote please copy the below URL in to your regular mobile browser. We recommend Google Chrome, or Safari.



Sorry, you seem to have already voted in this category.

Thanks for voting

Now share your vote with friends on your social network

Share on twitter Share on facebook

Cast your vote

Please register or sign in to continue.

Cast your vote

This field is required. This doesn't appear to be a valid date

Cast your vote

Please fill out this form to cast your vote. As you are under 16 years old you will not create an STV account. Why do we need these details?

This field is required. Please enter at least 2 characters
This field is required. Please enter at least 2 characters
This field is required. That doesn't look like a valid e-mail format, please check.
Location This field is required.
Parental Consent This field is required.

That's you. All that's left is to click the 'Submit Vote' button below. By doing so, you confirm that you and your parent or guardian have read and accept our Voting Terms of Use, Privacy Policy and Cookie policy, and that the details you have entered are correct. We'll look after them as carefully as if they were our own.