A record number of Scots now back a second independence referendum and support a breakaway from the UK, according to a bombshell new poll.
The Ipsos MORI poll found just 42% back staying in the union when undecided voters are stripped out, with 58% in favour of a breakaway.
Including the undecideds, 55% of people would vote Yes if there was an independence referendum tomorrow, 39% would vote No and 6% said they didn’t know.
It’s the biggest lead in a poll ever recorded for the pro-independence side and comes just days after a Progress poll found that almost a third of Scots who voted against independence in 2014 would now back a breakaway from the UK.
Emily Gray, managing director of Ipsos MORI Scotland, said: “Our latest poll will put a spring in the step of nationalists but makes grim reading for unionists.
“The Scottish public have shifted even further towards supporting an independent Scotland, with record numbers now saying they would vote Yes.
“Of course, we are still a long way out from next May’s Holyrood elections, but SNP support currently looks very strong, buoyed by Nicola Sturgeon’s high satisfaction ratings among Scottish voters.
“Our poll suggests that there will be significant public pressure for the UK Government to transfer powers to the Scottish Parliament to hold a second independence referendum if the SNP win a majority at next year’s Holyrood elections.”
The STV/Ipsos MORI survey also suggests the SNP is on course for a Holyrood majority in next year’s Scottish Parliament election, with 58% of likely voters planning to back the party in the constituency vote.
And should the SNP win a majority of seats next May, nearly two-thirds of Scots (64%) say the UK Government should permit a second independence referendum within the next five years.
Meanwhile, the poll also found people overwhelmingly back Nicola Sturgeon as first minister, with 72% saying they are satisfied with the job she is doing compared to 24% dissatisfied, giving her a net approval rating of +49.
Ms Sturgeon’s numbers are in stark contract to the prime minister’s polling in Scotland, with more than three quarters of Scots (76%) saying they are dissatisfied with the job he is doing.
‘Independence settled will of majority in Scotland’
SNP deputy leader Keith Brown MSP said it was now “clearer than ever” that independence was on the horizon.
He said: “This is a landmark poll which shows that independence has now become the settled will of the majority of people in Scotland.
“Faced with the chaotic and incompetent government of Boris Johnson and a Westminster system which treats Scotland as an afterthought at best, more and more people are deciding that the best way forward for Scotland is as an equal, independent country.
“And if there is a clear majority for pro-independence, pro-referendum parties in next year’s election – as this poll shows there would be by some considerable margin – then no Tory or any UK Government has the right to stand in the way.
“Quite simply, in those circumstances, the Tories would lack any moral or democratic authority whatsoever to try to block the will of the people, and it would not stand.”
He added: “It is clearer than ever that Scotland’s future lies as an independent country.”
Indyref2 ‘last thing’ Scotland needs
The Scottish Tories said a second poll was the “last thing” Scotland needed.
A party spokesman said: “In the middle of a pandemic, the last thing that Scotland needs right now is another independence referendum.
“Another divisive referendum would only take the focus away from rebuilding Scotland’s economy, protecting jobs and restoring our schools and hospitals.
“Only Douglas Ross and the Scottish Conservatives have the strength to stop the SNP and move Scotland on from the divisions of the past.”
Downing Street dismissed the poll this evening, saying the question of independence was a “settled” one.
‘Once-in-a-generation vote must be respected’
A Number 10 spokesman said: “The issue of independence was settled when the Scottish people voted decisively to remain part of a strong United Kingdom; it was a once-in-a-generation vote and it must be respected.
“The first minister promised that it would be a once-in-a-generation vote, the UK Government will continue to uphold that decision.”
The poll was conducted by Ipsos MORI between October 2 and October 9 and pollsters spoke by telephone to 1,045 Scots.