Published on 5 Oct 2015

Brexit and Scottish independence

The British Election Study team has just produced its latest polling on the two unions, Europe and the UK, and how opinion is shifting and shaping.


Below is the breakdown for the in/out support in a chunky poll of the UK (3,500 people in England, 1,000 respectively in Scotland and Wales) conducted 9-16 Sept 2015:

The BES team find a massive correlation between strong sense of English identity and likelihood to back Brexit. The same people in the poll who want English Votes for English Laws usually want Brexit and worry about immigration.

Their evidence raises many issues including whether the Conservatives will embrace English nationalism ever more strongly in coming years. But in terms of the EU referendum this poll underlines one of the difficulties for the out campaign.

They’re enjoying watching a narrowing of the polls at the moment and enjoying the frustration of in campaigners who complain about the prime minister and other senior Tories refusing to back their cause until the negotiation is finished (Some signs of movement on this and word from certain cabinet ministers that they are being encouraged to talk up the positives of Europe).

But they are aware of another lurking issue which is made privately to them by traditional Tories, like Margaret Thatcher’s biographer Charles Moore: isn’t there a strong chanceĀ  that Brexit leadsĀ  to Scottish independence? How can a self-respecting unionist risk that?

The no campaign insists its polling suggests opinion in Scotland is tighter and more up for grabs than the BES survey indicates. A Brexit result would, they argue, show Scotland voting similarly to England.

But this poll suggests they may be over-stating that UK-wide homogeneity of view. A few more polls like the BES one and the Brexit component of the referendum could become a big component of the debate.

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7 reader comments

  1. Danny Boy says:

    Very soon there won’t be any “Britain.”

    So a big “Well done” to Cameron and co.

  2. Graeme says:

    The reason why there is higher support for the EU in Scotland is due to the large Irish descended Catholic population in the Central Belt. The overwhelming majority of Catholics in their 20’s and 30’s dream of the day when Scotland is an independent state within the EU. Catholics belong to an international religion and see things internationally. Protestants in contrast see thing in a more home based, national way. Britain is the only major country in the EU which is not Catholic. Spain, France and Italy are Catholic and Germany is mixed. Many English Anglicans and Scottish Presbyterians see the EU as a Catholic association even if most people do not go to church these days. It is more of a religious culture rather than a faith attachment

  3. Luna says:

    It has nothing at all to do with Catholicism. Cameron has followed Thatcher in alienating people living in Scotland by playing up the idea of English nationalism. He has gambled, unwittingly, that an EU referendum will not result in Brexit, and that Scotland will compliant, and that he will be able to control the English nationalist genie. Brent will lead to both an isolated Britain and a dismantling of the Union. The Union may be broken in any case on the back of the stirring of English nationalism. What is the future then for Wales? That is the Cameron legacy we face.The Tories would have done better with IDS, Lord help us.

  4. Alan Day says:

    Where is Northern Ireland? Why did you leave us out yet talk of the Union?

  5. Mark says:

    What bothers me in this leap of faith, is the fact that Scottland and N. Ireland and perhaps even Wales, may follow suit soon, if the exit vote wins for they don’t want to leave EU, and as such there may be no country called the UK in the not so distant future, thereby making England a minor country with little, or no significant influence within Europe and the world anymore, and the saying would become really true, How Are The Mighty Fallen, and Mr, Putin will be the main winner as this will be the genesis of European disintegration!

  6. alba says:

    Caledonia and N Ireland back to eu soon

  7. Jo says:

    Uk 5 largest economy in the world how much does Scotland ,Wales N.Irland contribute to that.

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