Scottish voters are reconsidering their opposition to independence after the Brexit vote, the SNP’s business convener, Derek Mackay, has said, despite a poll that found a majority still favoured being part of the UK outside the EU.
YouGov said the results represented a move towards the independence option of just 1% since it last asked the question in May.
“This poll is the latest to demonstrate that many no voters are reconsidering their opposition to independence now that Scotland faces being dragged out of the EU against our will,” Mackay said.
“In light of the overwhelming vote to remain in the EU, it is right that the Scottish government explores every option to protect our relationship with and place in the EU, including the option of another independence referendum if that is what it takes.
“The UK that Scotland voted to remain part of in 2014 is changing fundamentally.”
Fifty-five percent of Scottish voters opted to remain in the UK less than two years ago, with 45% supporting independence, but the SNP has since received a huge boost in support, winning all but three Scottish seats in Westminster at last year’s general election.
At 62%, almost two-thirds of Scots who took part in last month’s referendum on EU membership voted to remain, prompting the SNP’s leader and Scotland’s first minister, Nicola Sturgeon, to say that the leave result made another vote on Scottish independence highly likely.
The latest findings also emerged just hours after the SNP’s leader in Westminster, Angus Robertson, said Scotland was “truly on the brink of independence”.
YouGov polled 1,006 adults between 20 and 25 July, roughly a month after the referendum, and concluded that a guarantee of an independent Scotland being able to remain in the EU did not move public opinion.
Forty-six percent of respondents said they would rather live in a Scotland that was still part of the UK after it had left the EU, compared with 37% who would rather live in an independent Scotland within the EU. The numbers become 55% to 45% once “don’t knows” are removed.
The percentage who said they would not vote or did not know increased from 12% to 14% after the Brexit vote, the poll found.
YouGov’s Matthew Smith said: “One month after the UK’s shock decision to leave the EU, the latest YouGov research in Scotland shows no real shift towards independence.”
“While Scottish independence has been mooted in the wake of the vote to leave the EU, a new referendum is not currently on the table.
“However, a lot could still change on this front in the coming years. Article 50 has not yet been triggered and once details of the Brexit deal emerge it may alter the context of the independence debate.”
The UK minister Andrew Dunlop said another “divisive constitutional debate” was not what the country wanted.
“The arguments for Scotland remaining a part of the UK are just as compelling as they were in 2014, in or out of the EU,” he said.
“The prime minister has been very clear that we are going to make a success of Brexit, and the focus now needs to be on collaborative working with the Scottish government as ‘Team UK’ to ensure the best possible deal for Scotland and the rest of the UK.”
Saturday’s findings follow another recent poll which found almost a third of voters wanted to wait until the UK’s deal with the EU was clear before deciding whether to hold another independence referendum.
This article was written by Nadia Khomami, for theguardian.com on Saturday 30th July 2016 12.12 Europe/Londonguardian.co.uk © Guardian News and Media Limited 2010