Latest poll results issued by TNS BMRB and its new Scottish Opinion Monitor

EDINBURGH – 3rd September 2013
– Scottish support for independence has fallen to its lowest level this year; a new opinion poll has shown.

The TNS BMRB survey of 1,017 adults in Scotland shows 25% supporting independence, down from 33% in February. However, support for an outright ‘No’ vote is also down – from 52% to 47% - with 28% saying ‘don’t know’, against 15% in February.

Tom Costley, TNS Scotland, said: “The high number of don’t knows could turn out to be the most significant factor in how the referendum campaign develops.

Both the Yes and No camps have lost ground in 2013, which suggests that neither campaign has yet succeeded in making a strong connection with the voters in Scotland.”

He continues: “The surge in the number of those who have not decided how to vote may have arisen because both campaigns have succeeded in giving rise to doubts among some who have previously backed the other side, without generating positive support for their positions. With so many undecided, there is still all to play for.”

The 25% ‘Yes’ vote represents the lowest support for independence since TNS BMRB began polling on the issue in 2007. Until the wording of the referendum question was settled – on January 30th this year – the question that was asked was whether respondents agreed that Scotland should negotiate on independence.

Support for this proposition stood at 39% in August 2011, the first TNS BMRB poll after the SNP’s victory in the Holyrood elections, on a manifesto which included an independence referendum.

In the new poll, support for both ‘Yes’ and ‘No’ votes in the referendum is higher among those who say they are certain to vote - 30% of these voters say they will vote ‘Yes’ and 51% back a ‘No’ vote. The latest level of ‘Don’t Knows’ is the highest recorded since 2007.

Younger voters are slightly more inclined than average to support independence: 29% of 16-34s say they will vote ‘Yes’ with 39% opposed and almost a third uncertain. But this group appears also to be the least likely to vote (45% say they are certain to vote, against 62% of the population as a whole).

By contrast, 70% of the over-55s say they are certain to vote: among this age group, only 20% intend to vote ‘Yes’, against 53% intending to vote ‘No’.

Just over half (55%) of those who voted SNP back a ‘Yes’ vote, with 19% intending to vote ‘No’. This supports the idea that a significant number of those who voted SNP in the last Holyrood elections did so because they preferred the SNP’s policies for the devolved government and had more faith in their ability to run that government, rather than because they supported the SNP’s key ambition of independence.

Download the graphical summary of polling results here.

Notes to editors:

  • A sample of 1,017 adults aged 16+ was interviewed in 71 constituencies across Scotland over the period 21st – 27th August 2013. 
  • All interviews were conducted face-to-face, in-home using CAPI (Computer Assisted Personal Interviewing) and quota sampling. 
  • To ensure the sample was representative of the adult population of Scotland, it was weighted to match population profile estimates in the analysis.
  • Full data tables are available here. Please treat with caution those figures where the sample size – the unweighted base – is less than 50.
  • Respondents were asked: There will be a referendum on Scottish Independence on the 18th of September 2014. How do you intend to vote in response to the question: Should Scotland be an independent country? Yes, No, Don’t know?
  • From August 2007 until January 2013, TNS polling on Scottish independence asked respondents the following question: The SNP are outlining their plans for a possible referendum on Scottish independence in the future. If such a referendum were to be held tomorrow, how would you vote? - I AGREE that the Scottish Government should negotiate a settlement with the Government of the United Kingdom so that Scotland becomes an independent state. - I DO NOT AGREE that the Scottish Government should negotiate a settlement with the Government of the United Kingdom so that Scotland becomes an independent state. - Don’t know.

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