Scottish independence tracker: Polls put support in the lead in every survey since March

Every opinion poll conducted this summer shows more Scots in favour of leaving the UK than remaining

Polls show support for Scottish independence at an all time high 

Support for Scottish independence has been in the majority since March, Telegraph analysis shows, with every opinion poll conducted this summer showing more Scots in favour of leaving the UK than remaining. 

Around 47.6 per cent of Scots now support independence versus 43.4 per cent against, according to a Telegraph aggregation of opinion polls taken since the 2014 independence referendum.

The resurgence in Scottish nationalism has come as the devolved government takes a markedly different approach to its handling of the Covid-19 pandemic from Westminster - and as the deadline looms over Brexit talks.

A rolling average of polls since 2014 shows that support for independence fell in Scotland in the wake of the EU referendum in 2016, despite a majority of Scots voting to remain in the bloc.

The trend began to reverse around April 2019, as Theresa May approached the end of her premiership, and support for independence accelerated when Boris Johnson took the keys to Number 10. 

A full reversal has now set in with the unfolding of the coronavirus pandemic in the UK - to the point where every poll conducted since May has found unionist Scots in the minority.

However, a sizeable proportion of Scottish voters remain undecided, with 8.2 per cent yet to make up their minds - enough in theory to tip the balance either way in the event of a second referendum. 

Yet the most recent individual poll, conducted by Survation between 2nd and 7th of September, found that 46 per cent of  respondents support independence, versus 40 per cent. 

A survey conducted by Panelbase between 12th and 18th August was the first since 2015 to find over half in favour of independence - at 51 per cent. 

In 2014 Scotland voted by a clear majority to stay in the UK, with 55.3 per cent of ballots cast against independence leaving and 44.7 per cent cast in favour, but the most recent polling average now shows the situation reversed.  

This has emboldened First Minister of Scotland Nicola Sturgeon, who this week revived plans for a possible second Scottish independence referendum.

Ms Sturgeon has pledged to resume work on a bill to set out the timescale for a second vote and a potential question for a new referendum.

Defiance against Prime Minister Boris Johnson, who in January wrote to Ms Sturgeon to formally reject a request for powers to hold a second vote, comes ahead of elections to the Scottish Parliament in May.

Polling suggests Ms Sturgeon's Scottish National Party (SNP) is set to sweep seats in Holyrood, while the Scottish Conservatives, which have seen two new leaders this year alone, are trailing in second place.  

The SNP winning an overall majority in the 2013 precipitated then UK Prime Minister David Cameron calling the independence referendum, which saw the Conservatives and Labour Party join forces by campaigning for the Better Together campaign. 

However, a local election victory aside, proponents of independence face new challenges around making the case for Scotland to go at it alone when compared to 2014. 

Since 2014 Scotland's deficit has worsened to a greater extent than the rest of the UK's, while Scotland's revenues from North Sea oil, initially estimated to be between £6.8bn and £7.9bn in 2016-17, were in fact £157m in 2016-17, and then £724m in the year to April, according to a Scottish Government fiscal report published in August.  

The Covid-19 crisis has now plunged oil prices to levels not seen since 2002 and Scotland's economy, like the UK, is now in recession, with exports and tourism at risk.

A disunited Britain?

Nationalism is not unique to Scotland, with pockets of England more fiercely independent, according to the latest census data.

And according to the latest polling from YouGov, published last month, 26 per cent of Welsh people now support independence, up from 12 per cent in 2014.

At the same time unionism in Wales has fallen from 74 per cent of those polled in 2014 to 55 per cent last month.

According to the latest census data across Britain, the 13 areas where more than three quarters of residents identified as only their own nation, as opposed to British, were all in England.

They included Hartlepool, Castle Point, Bolsover and Barnsley.

Rhondda Cynon Taff and Merthyr Tydfil had the highest rates of national identity in Wales, at 73 per cent each identifying as Welsh only. 

The highest rates in Scotland were in West Dunbartonshire with 72 per cent and North Lanarkshire with 71 per cent.