Nicola Sturgeon’s plans to tear apart the UK were yesterday dealt a fresh blow by a bombshell poll.
It revealed that the vast majority of Scots want to remain in the Union and are against destroying the 312-year-old partnership.
As Miss Sturgeon steps up her bid to force Scotland to leave the United Kingdom, 59 per cent oppose ‘Scexit’ –a Scottish exit – from the Union.
Meanwhile, only one in four Scots supports the First Minister’s bid to hold another referendum next year.
Most of the people polled fear the country would become even further divided by rerunning the 2014 vote, while more than a third of those who voted Yes have switched sides.
Scotland’s First Minister Nicola Sturgeon (pictured in Berlin today) wants to hold another independence referendum next year but a new poll shows Scots do not support her
The poll is a hammer blow for the SNP as it today attempts to use the fifth anniversary of the resounding No vote to demand another chance to break up Britain.
It also demonstrates a growing fear that leaving the UK would add even more chaos on top of Brexit.
Pamela Nash, chief executive of the Scotland in Union campaign group, said: ‘Just five years on from the referendum that Nicola Sturgeon promised was a ‘once-in-a-generation’ contest, this landmark poll shows that 59 per cent of people in Scotland want to remain in the UK.
‘More than half a million Scots who voted Yes in 2014 have switched to supporting Scotland’s future in the UK to protect vital public services like the NHS and schools from the SNP’s drastic cuts. People are seeing the chaos Brexit has brought and know that Scotland leaving the UK would be much worse.’
The Survation poll of 1,003 Scottish adults, conducted from September 12-16, asked how people would vote if there was a referendum tomorrow with the question: ‘Should Scotland remain in the United Kingdom or leave the United Kingdom?’
Of those likely to vote, 54 per cent wanted to remain in the UK and 37 per cent wanted to leave. When the ‘don’t knows’ are stripped out, 59 per cent would back remaining in the UK and 41 per cent would support leaving.
Of those who voted Yes in 2014, 36 per cent now want to stay in the UK, while 20 per cent of No voters now want to leave the UK.
Although the question differs from the wording of the 2014 vote, the Electoral Commission, the main elections watchdog, favoured a Leave/Remain question, rather than a Yes/No question, in the 2016 EU referendum.
Miss Sturgeon has claimed that opposition to another vote would be ‘washed away’ by SNP success in a future general election. She wants a referendum to take place late next year. But the poll shows only 27 per cent think there should be another Scexit referendum within 18 months.
The poll by Survation for unionist campaign group Scotland in Union found support for independence higher than at the 2014 referendum
Former Yes voters who switched sides gave a variety of reasons for doing so, with 54 per cent citing the importance of protecting public services and 49 per cent giving Miss Sturgeon’s performance as First Minister as a factor.
Scottish Tory interim leader Jackson Carlaw said: ‘This shows what we have spent five years telling the SNP – the people of Scotland don’t want to break up the UK, and they don’t want to have to deliver that verdict in another referendum. Perhaps after half a decade of trying to overturn the result from 2014, the Nationalists should start to accept it.
‘Instead of focusing on the day job, Nicola Sturgeon has focused to the exclusion of all else on the only thing that matters to her and her party: how to overturn the people’s verdict and run it all over again. It has been the longest hangover in political history – and it’s Scotland that has suffered.
‘Five years on, it’s time the SNP focused not on what might have been but on what Scotland can be right now.’
Miss Sturgeon will fly to Berlin today to hold Brexit talks with Germany’s Europe Minister Michael Roth and others.
The SNP will also hold a rally in Glasgow city centre to mark the referendum anniversary.
Miss Sturgeon said: ‘It is hugely encouraging that young people are today, five years on from the biggest democratic event Scotland has ever had, campaigning for a say on their future and a fresh choice on independence.
‘So much has changed in the past five years. Scotland is being ripped out of the EU against its will by the most dangerous Tory government in modern history.
‘It is worth remembering that nobody born this century had a say in 2014, or indeed a say in the UK’s ill-fated EU referendum. But young people from every community in Scotland will have their say in a fresh independence referendum, and I am confident that they will overwhelmingly vote Yes.’
In a speech to the Liberal Democrat conference in Bournemouth yesterday, Scottish Lib Dem leader Willie Rennie said breaking up the UK would bring ‘all the chaos of Brexit multiplied’.
SNP deputy leader Keith Brown said the opponents of independence were ‘clearly running scared’ and trying ‘to confuse independence with Brexit in the minds of voters’.
He added that the poll shows ‘almost two-thirds of people are now in favour of another independence referendum’.