A new poll of Scottish voters doesn’t bode well for Tory Brexiteers

EU flag waving outside UK supreme court
Brian Finlay

A recent YouGov poll shows an increase in support for Scotland staying in the EU. In June 2016, 62% of Scottish voters backed remaining in the EU. The YouGov poll suggested support for remaining in the EU now stands at 66%. The poll also revealed that only 12% of Scottish voters believe Britain will get a good deal out of Brexit.

The breakdown of support by party is startling. STV News says:

The poll also indicated widespread support among SNP, Labour and Liberal Democrat voters for staying in the EU and at 73%, 67%, and 77% respectively.

Conservative voters were 29% in favour of staying in the EU with 64% backing Brexit

And there’s more bad news for Tory Brexiteers. The same poll shows that 43% of Scottish voters believe Brexit will make Scottish independence even more likely.

Scotland has been ignored

Until now, in spite of the fact that the Conservatives only hold 13 out of 59 seats in Scotland, Scottish Conservative Brexiteers have been in the driving seat when it comes to Brexit.

Nearly two thirds of Scots feel UK ministers have ignored their concerns over Brexit. And to be frank, it’s surprising the figure isn’t a lot higher.

During the EU withdrawal process, the Scottish parliament refused to give consent to the UK’s EU Withdrawal Bill. However, the UK government decided to challenge the Scottish government’s compromised Continuity Bill at the Supreme Court rather than respect their wishes. In the House of Commons, the devolution aspect of Brexit was given less than 20 minutes to debate. The SNP has also accused the UK government of a ‘power grab’ of devolved responsibilities coming back from Brussels after Brexit.

So it’s surprising that even 16% of the respondents felt the UK government was listening to Scotland during the EU withdrawal process.

At the last poll on Scottish independence voting intention, with ‘don’t knows’ removed, the support had risen to 47%. However, 43% of respondents in the latest YouGov poll believed Brexit would contribute towards Scotland gaining independence.

Scotland and its economy

Scots are pessimistic about Brexit in general, but particularly concerned about the economic consequences. The majority of respondents felt that Brexit would make the economy weaker. Only 12% that it would do the opposite. Just under half of Scots thought it would also be detrimental to living standards.

Scotland’s economy grew at double the rate of the UK’s in the first quarter of 2018. Scotland could face economic damage from a Brexit it not only voted against but continues to reject in poll after poll.

Party leader positions

As reported by the Guardian, Scottish Labour voters wanted Jeremy Corbyn to:

shift his stance on Brexit, with 44% saying he should oppose Brexit more strongly, 22% saying he should support Brexit more strongly, and 11% saying he had the balance “about right”.

Alternatively, SNP voters felt Nicola Sturgeon had the balance right:

29% of SNP supporters wanted their party leader, Nicola Sturgeon, to oppose Brexit more strongly, 13% wanted her to support Brexit more strongly and 45% believed she had got the balance right.

Scotland and the People’s Vote

Most respondents backed the idea of a People’s Vote on Brexit. Excluding ‘don’t knows’, 66% of Scots want a vote on the final Brexit deal.

As reported in the Independent, Peter Kellner, former president of YouGov, said:

Support for a public vote on the outcome is growing across the UK but is particularly strong in Scotland where most people did not want to leave in the first place. There is deep pessimism about what Brexit will mean for Scotland and the next generation. Around two-thirds of Scots think the UK is ignoring their concerns and don’t trust Westminster to take the decisions.

He went on to say:

But the survey suggests the leaderships of both the SNP and the Labour Party are in the wrong place with most of their supporters. There may be an electoral dividend in Scotland for one of these parties if they strengthen their position.

For instance, by a margin of three to one Labour supporters want Jeremy Corbyn to campaign for a public vote, while Nicola Sturgeon may yet want to move faster than she has in backing such a route on Brexit.

One thing is clear, Scotland has never backed, wanted, or voted for Brexit. The concerns around negative impacts on the economy and living standards have not been addressed by Westminster. As a ‘United’ Kingdom, we are heading towards a catastrophe, and it’s little wonder Scotland is seriously considering independence.

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Featured image via CBS News/YouTube

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