Opinion polling for the 2014 Scottish independence referendum

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This page lists the public opinion polls that were conducted in relation to the 2014 Scottish independence referendum, that was held on 18 September 2014. Overall, polls showed that support for a "No" vote was dominant until the end of August 2014, when support for a "Yes" vote gained momentum and the gap closed significantly, with at least one poll placing the "Yes" vote ahead. In the final week of the campaign, polls showed the "No" vote to be consistently but somewhat narrowly ahead. There were no exit polls [1] [2] although a YouGov post-election poll was published shortly after the polls closed. [3] For the history of the campaign itself see 2014 Scottish independence referendum, Yes Scotland ("yes" supporters), and Better Together (campaign) ("no" supporters).

Contents

Opinion polls conducted by British Polling Council members

Overview

Results of polls to 11 Sep 2014 Scottish independence polls graphic.svg
Results of polls to 11 Sep 2014

Professor John Curtice stated in January 2012 that polling showed support for independence at between 32% and 38% of the Scottish population—this is a slight decline from 2007, when the Scottish National Party (SNP) first formed the Scottish Government. [4] Up until January 2012, there was an insignificant amount of poll evidence showing majority support for independence, although the share "vehemently opposed to independence" declined. [4]

Polls in March and April 2014 showed opposition to independence at an average of 55% (excluding those who registered a "Don't know" opinion), compared to 61% in the period before December 2013. [5] During September 2014, the month of the referendum, the poll results appeared to narrow further—as of 11 September, the average opposition to independence stood at 51%. [6]

A poll by Survation in April 2014 suggested that a high turnout in the referendum would be likely: [5] 75% of respondents indicated that they were certain to vote in the referendum, compared to 63% for the next United Kingdom general election. [5]

Results

Only polling companies that are members of the British Polling Council, and therefore fully disclose their findings and methodology, are shown in this section. Three methods of conducting polls were used by the polling companies for referendum polling. YouGov, Survation and Panelbase conducted polls online, although Survation's final poll was by telephone. Ipsos Mori conducted their polls by telephone, ICM conducted online and telephone polls for different clients and TNS BMRB used face to face interviews. [7] There were variations in the questions used by each company, with TNS BMRB, ICM and Panelbase asking respondents how they intended to vote on 18 September 2014, while YouGov, Survation and Ipsos Mori asked their respondents how they would vote if the referendum were held immediately. [7]

Headline figures from ICM, Panelbase, Survation and Ipsos MORI only showed those who say they are certain or very likely to vote in referendum. TNS BMRB and YouGov headline figures showed voting intention for all voters.

2014

Date(s)
conducted
Polling organisation/clientSample sizeYesNoUndecidedLead
18 September 2014 2014 Scottish independence referendum results3,623,34444.7%55.3%10.6%
16–17 Sep Ipsos MORI/Evening Standard 99145%50%5%5%
16–17 Sep Survation/Daily Record 1,16043%48%9%5%
15–17 Sep YouGov/The Times/The Sun 3,23745%49%6%4%
15–17 Sep Panelbase 1,00445%50%5%5%
15–16 Sep Ipsos MORI/STV 1,37347%49%5%2%
12–16 Sep ICM/The Scotsman 1,17541%45%14%4%
12–16 Sep Survation/Daily Mail 1,00044%48%8%4%
12–15 Sep Opinium/Telegraph 1,15643%47%8%4%
10–12 Sep Survation/Better Together 1,04442%49%9%7%
9–12 Sep Panelbase/Sunday Times 1,01446%47%7%1%
11 SepBroadcast of Scotland Decides: The Big, Big Debate
10–11 Sep ICM/Sunday Telegraph 70549%42%9%7%
9–11 Sep Opinium/Observer 1,05543%47%10%4%
9–11 Sep ICM/Guardian 1,00040%42%17%2%
9–11 Sep YouGov/The Times/The Sun 1,26845%50%5%5%
5–9 Sep Survation/Daily Record 1,00042%48%10%6%
2–5 Sep YouGov/The Sunday Times 1,08447%45%7%2%
2–4 Sep Panelbase/Yes Scotland 1,04244%48%8%4%
27 Aug–4 Sep TNS BMRB 99038%39%23%1%
28 Aug–1 Sep YouGov/The Times/The Sun 1,06342%48%10%6%
26–28 Aug Survation/Scottish Daily Mail 1,00141%47%12%6%
25 AugBroadcast of Scotland Decides: Salmond versus Darling
12–15 Aug YouGov/The Times 1,08538%51%11%13%
12–15 Aug Panelbase/Yes Scotland 1,02642%46%12%4%
11–14 Aug ICM/Scotland on Sunday 1,00538%47%14%9%
11 AugPublication of The Wee Blue Book [8]
6–7 Aug Survation/Scottish Daily Mail 1,01037%50%13%13%
4–7 Aug YouGov/The Sun 1,14235%55%10%20%
23 Jul–7 Aug TNS BMRB 1,00332%45%23%13%
5 AugBroadcast of Salmond & Darling: The Debate
28 Jul–3 Aug Ipsos MORI/STV 1,00640%54%7%14%
30 Jul–1 Aug Survation/Mail on Sunday 1,00040%46%14%6%
16–22 Jul Panelbase/Sunday Times 1,04141%48%11%7%
7–11 Jul ICM/Scotland on Sunday 1,00234%45%21%11%
25 Jun–9 Jul TNS BMRB 99532%41%27%9%
4–8 Jul Survation/Daily Record 1,01341%46%13%5%
25–29 Jun YouGov/The Times 1,20635%54%12%19%
10–23 Jun TNS BMRB/Scotland September 18 1,00432%46%22%14%
16 JunRelease of the draft Scottish Independence Bill consultation paper [9]
12–16 Jun YouGov/The Sun 1,03936%53%11%17%
9–12 Jun ICM/Scotland on Sunday 1,00236%43%21%7%
9–11 Jun Panelbase/Yes Scotland 1,06043%46%12%3%
6–10 Jun Survation/Daily Record 1,00439%44%17%5%
2 JunRelease of Scottish Conservatives Strathclyde Commission Report [10]
26 May–1 Jun Ipsos MORI/STV 1,00336%54%10%18%
30 MayOfficial Campaign Period begins
21–28 May TNS BMRB 1,01130%42%28%12%
12–15 May ICM/Scotland on Sunday 1,00334%46%20%12%
8–14 May Panelbase/Sunday Times 1,04640%47%13%7%
9–12 May Survation/Daily Record [ dead link ]1,00337%47%17%10%
23 Apr–2 May TNS BMRB 99630%42%28%12%
25–28 Apr YouGov/Channel 4 1,20837%51%12%14%
14–16 Apr ICM/Scotland on Sunday 1,00439%42%19%3%
11–15 Apr Survation/Sunday Post 1,00138%46%16%8%
4–9 Apr Panelbase/Yes Scotland 1,02440%45%15%5%
4–7 Apr Survation/Daily Record 1,00237%47%16%10%
28 Mar–4 Apr Panelbase/Wings Over Scotland 1,02541%46%14%5%
21 Mar–2 Apr TNS BMRB 98829%41%30%12%
20–24 Mar YouGov/The Times 1,07237%52%11%15%
17–21 Mar ICM/Scotland on Sunday 1,01039%46%15%7%
18 MarRelease of Scottish Labour Devolution Commission Report
7–14 Mar Panelbase/Newsnet Scotland 1,03640%45%15%5%
26 Feb–9 Mar TNS BMRB 1,01928%42%30%14%
6–7 Mar Survation/Daily Record/Better Nation 1,00239%48%13%9%
24–28 Feb YouGov/Scottish Sun 1,25735%53%12%18%
20–25 Feb IpsosMORI/STV 1,00132%57%11%25%
18–21 Feb Panelbase/Scottish National Party 1,02237%47%16%10%
17–21 Feb ICM/Scotland on Sunday 1,00437%49%14%12%
17–18 Feb Survation/Scottish Daily Mail 1,00538%47%16%9%
13 FebChancellor of the Exchequer's speech on currency union
29 Jan–6 Feb Panelbase/Sunday Times 1,01237%49%14%12%
28 Jan–6 Feb TNS BMRB 99629%42%29%13%
3–5 Feb YouGov/The Sun 1,04734%52%14%18%
29–31 Jan Survation/Mail on Sunday 1,01032%52%16%20%
21–27 Jan YouGov 1,19233%52%15%19%
21–24 Jan ICM/Scotland on Sunday 1,00437%44%19%7%
14–20 Jan TNS BMRB 1,05429%42%29%13%
3–10 Jan TNS BMRB/BBC Scotland 1,00828%42%30%14%

2013

Date(s)
conducted
Polling organisation/clientSample sizeYesNoUndecidedLead
3–10 Dec TNS BMRB 1,05527%41%33%14%
6–9 Dec YouGov/The Times 1,07436%55%10%19%
29 Nov–5 Dec Ipsos MORI/STV News 1,00634%57%10%23%
26 NovRelease of Scotland's Future
20–27 Nov TNS BMRB 1,00426%42%32%16%
12–20 Nov Panelbase/Sunday Times 1,00638%47%15%9%
23–30 Oct TNS BMRB 1,01025%43%32%18%
17–24 Oct Panelbase/Wings Over Scotland 1,00837%45%17%8%
25 Sep–2 Oct TNS BMRB 1,00425%44%31%19%
13–16 Sep YouGov/The Times 1,13932%52%13%20%
9–15 Sep Ipsos MORI/STV News 1,00031%59%9%28%
10–13 Sep ICM/Scotland on Sunday 1,00232%49%19%17%
30 Aug–5 Sep Panelbase/Sunday Times 1,00237%47%16%10%
23–28 Aug Panelbase/Scottish National Party 1,04344%43%13%1%
21–27 Aug TNS BMRB [ permanent dead link ]1,01725%47%28%22%
19–22 Aug YouGov/Devo Plus 1,17129%59%10%30%
16 Aug Angus Reid/Daily Express 54934%47%19%13%
17–24 July Panelbase/Sunday Times 1,00137%46%17%9%
10–16 May Panelbase/Sunday Times 1,00436%44%20%8%
29 Apr–5 May Ipsos MORI/The Times 1,00128%57%15%29%
20 Mar–2 Apr TNS BMRB 1,00230%51%19%21%
18–22 Mar Panelbase/Sunday Times 88536%46%18%10%
20–28 Feb TNS BMRB/Scottish CND 1,00133%52%15%19%
4–9 Feb Ipsos MORI/The Times 1,00332%52%16%20%
30 Jan–1 Feb Angus Reid 1,00332%47%20%15%
11–21 Jan Panelbase/Sunday Times 1,00434%47%19%13%
3–9 Jan TNS BMRB 1,01228%48%24%20%
3–4 Jan Angus Reid 57332%50%16%18%

2012

Date(s)
conducted
Polling organisation/clientSample sizeYesNoUndecidedLead
22–24 Oct YouGov/DC Thomson 1,00429%55%14%26%
9–19 Oct Panelbase/Sunday Times 97237%45%17%8%
15 Oct Edinburgh Agreement (2012)
8–15 Oct Ipsos MORI/The Times 1,00328%52%19%24%
26 Sep–4 Oct TNS BMRB 99528%53%19%25%
17–20 Jun YouGov/Fabian Society 1,02930%54%16%24%
7–14 Jun Ipsos MORI/The Times/The Sun 1,00332%55%13%20%
27–29 Jan Ipsos MORI/The Times/The Sun 1,00537%50%13%13%
9–11 Jan YouGov/The Sun 1,00233%53%14%20%

2011

Date(s)
conducted
Polling organisation/clientSample sizeYesNoUndecidedLead
26–27 Oct YouGov/Scotsman 1,07534%52%12%18%
24–31 Aug TNS BMRB/The Herald 1,00739%38%23%1%
25–29 Aug Ipsos MORI 70335%60%5%25%
25–31 May TNS BMRB/The Herald 1,02237%45%18%8%
5 May 2011 Scottish Parliament election
26–29 Apr YouGov/Scotsman 28%57%12%29%

Other public polling

Two-option polling by other organisations

Some opinion polls were conducted by organisations that were not members of the British Polling Council and therefore not obliged to fully disclose their findings and methodology.

Date(s)
conducted
Polling organisation/clientSample sizeYesNoUndecidedLead
18 September 2014 2014 Scottish independence referendum results3,623,34444.7%55.3%10.6%
May 2014Progressive Scottish Opinion/Sunday Mail [11] ???34%54%12%20%
Sep 2013Progressive Scottish Opinion/Mail on Sunday [12] ???27%59%14%32%
Feb–May 2013 Lord Ashcroft Polls10,00725%65%10%39%

† The question should Scotland be an independent country? was the 26th asked question out of a total of 26.

Regional polling

ComRes conducted polls for ITV Border, surveying people in the council areas of Scottish Borders and Dumfries and Galloway on how they would vote in an immediate referendum. [13]

Date(s)
conducted
Polling organisation/clientSample sizeYesNoUndecidedLead
18 September 2014 2014 Scottish independence referendum results (Dumfries and Galloway)106,77534.3%65.7%31.4
18 September 2014 2014 Scottish independence referendum results (Scottish Borders)83,52633.4%66.6%33.2
3–9 Sep 2014 ComRes/ITV Border [ permanent dead link ]1,00027%56%17%29%
9–15 Jun 2014 ComRes/ITV Border [ permanent dead link ]1,00126%61%13%35%
2–6 Jan 2014 ComRes/ITV Border 1,00424%59%17%35%

Three-option polling

Before the Edinburgh Agreement clarified that the referendum would be a straight yes or no question on the issue of independence, some three option opinion polls were conducted. The third option in these polls was some (undefined) form of increased devolution. YouGov occasionally asked the question following the Edinburgh Agreement.

Date(s)
conducted
Polling organisation/clientIndependenceDevo MaxStatus QuoUndecided
2-5 Sep 2014 YouGov 42%36%14%7%
20-24 Mar 2014 YouGov 31%36%22%11%
26 Oct 2012 YouGov 23%41%25%11%
14 Jun 2012 Ipsos MORI 27%41%29%4%
13 Jan 2012 ICM 26%26%33%10%
1 Nov 2011 TNS BMRB 28%33%29%10%

Demographic polling

Polling indicated higher support for independence among male voters, voters under the age of 55 and voters from economically deprived areas, compared to higher support for the Union among female voters, voters over the age of 55 and voters living in affluent areas. [14] [15]

In June 2013, a poll of over 1,000 14- to 17-year-olds conducted by the University of Edinburgh found that 21% supported independence, 60% supported the Union, and 19% were undecided. [16] [17] Only 17% of the teenagers' households said they would vote yes in the referendum, however, which led the Newsnet Scotland website to question the accuracy of the opinion poll. [18] A similar poll by the University of Edinburgh in June 2014 found that support for independence was 29%, opposition 52% and 19% were undecided. [19]

Polling on individual topics

A survey by Ipsos Mori for STV News in June 2014 found that 51% of voters thought that Yes Scotland had been the more effective campaign, compared to 23% who thought that Better Together had performed better. [20]

Opinion polling showed a majority in favour of giving control of welfare policy to the Scottish Parliament. [21] [22] [23] [24]

Early in 2013, an opinion poll commissioned by the Press and Journal found 8% of people in Shetland and Orkney supported the islands themselves becoming fully independent countries, with 82% against. [25]

Polling on hypothetical situations

Opinion polls also asked for attitudes in various hypothetical situations, such as if how would voters would view the referendum if they believed that the Conservatives or Labour were likely to win the 2015 UK general election. [26] [27] An ICM poll in April 2014 found that the no lead would be 8 points (44–36) if voters thought Labour would win, while the no lead would be 1 point (42–41) if they thought the Conservatives would win. [27] Other hypothetical scenarios included if voters thought the UK was likely to leave the European Union, [28] and if people believed independence would make them £500 better or worse off per year. [29] In August 2013, a Panelbase poll commissioned by pro-independence blog Wings Over Scotland asked voters various questions, such as whether they would vote to join the Union in the hypothetical scenario that Scotland was already an independent country. [30] 18% of voters said they would join the Union, whereas 55% of voters said they would choose for Scotland to remain independent. [30]

Private polling

In June 2013, private research conducted on behalf of Yes Scotland reportedly showed "evidence of growing support for independence" among women and young people, based on "a sample several times the size of a conventional poll" and "a well-designed series of questions building on a rolling monthly basis going back to last January". [31] Better Together demanded that a full report of the research should be published, but Yes Scotland refused to publish it on the basis that private research is not covered by British Polling Council regulations. [32] The SNP researched voting intentions for the referendum while canvassing in Aberdeen Donside for the 2013 by-election; their survey showed 34% of people intending to vote for independence, 29% of people intending to vote for the Union and 37% undecided. [33] The SNP also researched voting intentions for the referendum before the 2014 Cowdenbeath by-election. [34]

A poll by the Scottish Tourism Alliance of members attending its annual conference in March 2014 found 60% would vote no and 32% would vote yes. [35] A poll by Carrington Dean of 1,042 teens aged between 15 and 17 showed 64 percent of them to be worried about the outlook for the economy in an independent Scotland, against only 17 percent who were not concerned. [36]

The Communication Workers Union (CWU) conducted two polls in April 2014, showing that 60% of its Scottish members would vote 'no', with 26.3% saying 'yes'. [37]

In January 2014, the UK Government spent £46,500 on private opinion polling to be conducted by Ipsos MORI. [38] By July 2014, the UK Government had spent £299,100 on opinion polls regarding Scottish independence during 2014. [39]

School, college and university surveys

Schools, colleges and universities across Scotland conducted polls and mock referendums to gauge the opinion of pupils and students. [40] [41] [42] [43] [44] [45] [46] [47] In September 2013, a survey of over 11,000 Aberdeenshire schoolchildren eligible to vote in the referendum returned 75.5% against independence, with 19 out of 20 schools involved voting 'no'. [48] [49] In June 2014, a survey of 964 Moray senior pupils eligible to vote in the referendum voted against independence by 71%, with 7 out of 8 schools involved voting 'no'. [50]

Polling in the rest of the United Kingdom

Opinion polls were also conducted in the rest of the United Kingdom in relation to the Scottish independence referendum. People in the rest of the United Kingdom were polled on a variety of issues such as further devolution for Wales, an English parliament, the Trident nuclear missiles, and currency.

A February 2012 opinion poll in Wales showed a rise in support for stronger powers for its National Assembly if Scotland should choose to be independent. [51] A poll on the same subject in June 2014 found that 61% of Welsh voters thought Scottish independence should make no difference to the constitutional position of Wales, while 17% favoured greater devolved powers and 14% supported independence for Wales. [52] Professor Roger Scully of Cardiff University said it was possible that this poll showed that Welsh voters placed greater importance on the union between England and Wales, rather than the unity of the whole United Kingdom. [52] A poll of Welsh voters in April 2014 found 62% were opposed to Scottish independence, with 16% in favour. [53]

A YouGov survey conducted in April 2014 found that although clear majorities of English (59% – 19%) and Welsh (61% – 19%) voters were opposed to Scottish independence, the majority of English voters (56%) and a plurality of Welsh voters (48%) supported cutting the amount of public spending in Scotland. [54] Commenting on the poll, Professor Scully said that it showed that although English and Welsh voters had a similar view on the question of Scottish independence, the English were tougher in their attitude to future relations within the UK. [54]

The British Social Attitudes Survey conducted in 2013 found that a majority (63%) in England and Wales thought that the Trident nuclear missiles should either definitely or probably be moved from an independent Scotland, which was greater than the number in Scotland who thought that the UK should be required to move the missiles. [55] Professor Curtice said this was probably because the English and Welsh public would prefer to have the missiles in their territory, rather than holding them in another state. [55] Majorities in the survey also favoured allowing an independent Scotland to have the same monarch as England (65%) and to continue using the BBC (82%). [55]

Polls in both Scotland and the rest of the United Kingdom by Panelbase showed majority support for a televised debate between British Prime Minister David Cameron and Scottish First Minister Alex Salmond. [56] [57] A poll of FTSE 100 company chairmen found that 65% believed Scottish independence would be bad for business, while 24% believed it would be good. [58]

Currency

A number of polls amongst English and Welsh people were conducted to ascertain feelings on Scotland continuing to use the Pound Sterling - be it as part of a currency union or not. Although the question varied in some of the polls, the YouGov question asked: "If Scotland did become independent would you support or oppose an independent Scotland continuing to use the pound as their currency?" The Guardian/ICM poll asked "If Scotland becomes independent, the residual UK should: Refuse a currency union, negotiate a currency union or don't know?"

English and Welsh people's response to whether an independent Scotland should be allowed to share the Pound Sterling with the United Kingdom
Date(s)
conducted
Polling organisation/clientOpposeSupportUndecided
15 Sep 2014 Guardian/ICM 63%27%10%
28 Aug 2014 Daily Express/Springboard 44%22%34%
11 Jun 2014 FT/Populus 63%21%16%
11 Apr 2014 YouGov 53%26%21%
13-14 Feb 2014 YouGov 58%23%20%
28-29 Nov 2013 YouGov 43%38%19%

Although the rest of the United Kingdom did not have a vote on Scottish independence, the proposal of a currency union by the Yes campaign was rejected by the British government and the Bank of England. [59] Some writers speculated that in the event of independence, a currency union would have been a key issue in the 2015 UK general election and may require a referendum. [60] [61] [62] [63]

YouGov conducted some polls in the rest of the United Kingdom asking whether an independent Scotland should be allowed to form a currency union with them. In November 2013, 43% opposed a currency union and 38% supported it. [64] In February 2014, after George Osborne said that a currency union would not be allowed, opposition to a currency union increased to 58%. [64] A further poll in April 2014 found that 53% of respondents were opposed to a currency union, with 26% in favour. [65] A Guardian/ICM poll in September 2014, on the eve of the referendum, found that disagreement had increased further. 63% of English and Welsh people believing that the United Kingdom should refuse to negotiate a currency union, while 27% supported the idea of a currency union. [66]

An opinion poll commissioned by the SNP in December 2013 found that 71% of respondents in England, Wales, and Northern Ireland agreed that "if independence does happen [...] Scotland and the rest of the UK should continue using the pound in an agreed sterling area". [67] The annual British Social Attitudes Survey found that, in the summer of 2013, a total of 69% of people in England and Wales thought that an independent Scotland should either definitely (38%) or probably (31%) be allowed to continue to use sterling. [55] Professor John Curtice said that this suggested the later opinion polls showing opposition to a currency union were the result of UK politicians saying it was a bad idea, rather than the public being opposed in principle. [55]

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References

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