Scottish Independence: Poll shows 65% opposed

Alex Salmond has a negative approval rating in the new poll.  Picture Ian Rutherford
Alex Salmond has a negative approval rating in the new poll. Picture Ian Rutherford
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A POLL published today shows 65 per cent of Scots opposed to independence, with just 26 per cent planning to vote Yes in next year’s referendum.

The survey of 10,000 adults across Scotland was carried out between February and May this year as part of a series of polls by former Tory Party deputy chairman Lord Ashcroft.

The same survey gives Alex Salmond a negative approval rating, 45 per cent saying they have a favourable view of the First Minister and 49 per cent saying an unfavourable one.

Scottish Labour leader Johann Lamont emerged with a positive rating, 31 per cent saying they had a favourable view and 28 per cent unfavourable, though 40 per cent said they had not heard of her or had no opinion.

A smaller poll of 1000 people, carried out in June, found that despite their views on independence, voters were still ready to put the SNP back into power at Holyrood.

The party was ahead of Labour by 40 per cent to 35 per cent in the constituency vote for the Scottish Parliament and by 36 per cent to 24 per cent for the list vote.

The final poll in the series, carried out last month, with just over 1000 people questioned, found 61 per cent think the Scottish Government has got its priorities wrong.

Some 49 per cent said the government was treating independence as its priority at the moment with only seven per cent saying the economy and jobs was top of Mr Salmond’s agenda.

When people were asked what the government’s main priority should be, 41 per cent said the economy and jobs and only three per cent independence.

In the same survey, people said the top three achievements of the Scottish Parliament since devolution were free prescriptions, free university tuition and free social care.

Blair McDougall, director of the anti-independence Better Together campaign, welcomed the poll findings. He said: “It is increasingly clear that Alex Salmond is putting his obsession with independence ahead of the interests of the Scottish people.

“Instead of focusing on the things that people care about, likes jobs and the economy, the nationalists spend all their time campaigning for independence. Alex Salmond is more interested in securing his own place in history than securing a better future for Scotland.”

But a spokesman for Yes Scotland said the research was “wildly out of date”, with a number of surveys having been carried out since.

He said: “Much has changed since then. The most recently sampled poll shows Yes one point ahead.”

SNP backbencher Sandra White welcomed the SNP’s strong showing and said the top achievements of the parliament were all policies under threat from Labour.