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Scottish Fabians: New independence polling

Majority of Scots think independence is a ‘distraction’ from more important issues, according to new polling for the Scottish Fabians.


Press release

The majority of people in Scotland believe that independence is a distraction from more important issues impacting the country, according to new polling for the Scottish Fabians.

Amid the ongoing Covid-19 crisis, just 36 per cent of those surveyed said they consider independence ‘one of the most important issues facing the country’, and 52 per cent said it ‘distracts’ from other issues.

More than one in five of those who voted SNP in 2019 agree that independence is a distraction, while women in particular are much less likely than men to see independence as an important issue (32 per cent compared with 42 per cent).

The YouGov poll of 1,134 voters in Scotland also found:

  • An overwhelming majority of voters (76 per cent) want the Scottish and UK governments to work together on the issues that impact their lives, and only 8 per cent said the governments work well together.
  • 46 per cent of voters want the decision on any future referendum to be made jointly between the Scottish and UK governments, while 42 per cent believe the decision should lie solely with the Scottish government.
  • Nearly two-thirds (63 per cent) of voters are unlikely to vote for a party with a different view on the constitutions from themselves, while only 9 per cent are likely to vote for a party with a different view.

The research is part of a wider study by the Scottish Fabians which focuses on making Scottish devolution a success.

Katherine Sangster, national manager of the Scottish Fabians, said:

The message to the SNP from this polling is clear: the majority of the Scottish people see independence as a distraction.

While some polls have asked how people might vote should there be another referendum, this clearly shows that most Scots don’t see this as a priority. What people want is governments to focus on the issues that impact their lives, and they want to see more cooperation between Westminster and Holyrood.

Scotland’s politicians from all parties should focus their energy and resources on making devolution work so that we can address the many serious challenges that the country is facing.

The message for Scottish Labour is also clear – it must remain unequivocal on its pro-UK stance whilst setting out policies that will make a difference to the lives of Scots. Sitting on the fence on the constitution in Scotland is not an option. 


For more information please email or call 07975 509635

YouGov poll on behalf of the Scottish Fabians. Total sample size was 1,134 adults in Scotland. Fieldwork was undertaken between 28th – 30th July 2020.  The survey was carried out online. The figures have been weighted and are representative of all Scottish adults (aged 18+).

Tables are available here: YouGov/Scottish Fabians Survey Results.

Please say which of the following statements comes closest to your view:

  • Scottish independence is one of the most important issues facing the country and it is right that it gets a lot of attention: 36 per cent
  • Scottish independence distracts from other important issues that should get more attention: 52%
  • Don’t know: 11 per cent

Scottish Fabians website:

  1. The Fabian Society is Britain’s oldest political think tank. Founded in 1884, the society has been at the forefront of developing political ideas and public policy on the left for over 130 years.
  2. Scottish Fabians is a self-governing section of the Fabian Society. Like the Fabian Society, Scottish Fabians are affiliated to the Labour Party but aim to provide a space for debate and radical ideas. It does not take collective positions.

Image credit: Flickr/Roy

Katherine Sangster

Katherine Sangster is national manager for the Scottish Fabians.


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