LONDON: Support for Scottish independence has risen to 56 per cent, according to an Ipsos poll released on Wednesday, two weeks after the United Kingdom’s top court stopped an attempt by Scotland’s government to hold another independence referendum next year.

The poll of 1,065 people aged over 16 across Scotland found support for independence had risen by 6 percentage points since the last survey in May. Only 44pc backed staying in the union once undecided voters were stripped out.

The results showed the Scottish National Party (SNP) led by First Minister Nicola Sturgeon would win more than half the votes at the next election expected in 2024. She has vowed to fight the contest solely on whether Scotland should be independent, making it a “de facto” referendum.

The poll showed “an increase in both support for independence and support for the SNP,” said Emily Gray, managing director of Ipsos Scotland. “Whether this is a temporary ‘bounce’ in the wake of the recent Supreme Court judgement or a longer-lasting trend, remains to be seen.”

In a referendum in 2014, Scots rejected ending the more-than 300-year-old union with England by 55pc to 45pc. However, demands for independence gained momentum after Britain’s 52pc-48pc referendum vote to leave the European Union two years later, a step which the majority of Scottish voters opposed.

Until recently, polls suggested Scots remained evenly split on independence and a vote would be too close to call.

Support for independence briefly touched a record 58pc in 2020 as the Scottish government won widespread public backing for its handling of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Published in Dawn, December 8th, 2022

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