Opinion polling for the 2014 Scottish independence referendum


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).

Opinion polls conducted by British Polling Council members


Overview

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/client Sample size Yes No Undecided Lead
18 September 20142014 Scottish independence referendum results3,623,34444.7%55.3%10.6%
16–17 SepIpsos MORI/Evening Standard99145%50%5%5%
16–17 SepSurvation/Daily Record1,16043%48%9%5%
15–17 SepYouGov/The Times/The Sun3,23745%49%6%4%
15–17 SepPanelbase Archived 2014-09-24 at the Wayback Machine1,00445%50%5%5%
15–16 SepIpsos MORI/STV1,37347%49%5%2%
12–16 SepICM/The Scotsman1,17541%45%14%4%
12–16 SepSurvation/Daily Mail1,00044%48%8%4%
12–15 SepOpinium/Telegraph1,15643%47%8%4%
10–12 SepSurvation/Better Together1,04442%49%9%7%
9–12 SepPanelbase/Sunday Times1,01446%47%7%1%
11 SepBroadcast of Scotland Decides: The Big, Big Debate
10–11 SepICM/Sunday Telegraph70549%42%9%7%
9–11 SepOpinium/Observer1,05543%47%10%4%
9–11 SepICM/Guardian1,00040%42%17%2%
9–11 SepYouGov/The Times/The Sun1,26845%50%5%5%
5–9 SepSurvation/Daily Record1,00042%48%10%6%
2–5 SepYouGov/The Sunday Times1,08447%45%7%2%
2–4 SepPanelbase/Yes Scotland1,04244%48%8%4%
27 Aug–4 SepTNS BMRB99038%39%23%1%
28 Aug–1 SepYouGov/The Times/The Sun1,06342%48%10%6%
26–28 AugSurvation/Scottish Daily Mail1,00141%47%12%6%
25 AugBroadcast of Scotland Decides: Salmond versus Darling
12–15 AugYouGov/The Times1,08538%51%11%13%
12–15 AugPanelbase/Yes Scotland Archived 2014-08-19 at the Wayback Machine1,02642%46%12%4%
11–14 AugICM/Scotland on Sunday1,00538%47%14%9%
11 AugPublication of The Wee Blue Book [8]
6–7 AugSurvation/Scottish Daily Mail1,01037%50%13%13%
4–7 AugYouGov/The Sun1,14235%55%10%20%
23 Jul–7 AugTNS BMRB1,00332%45%23%13%
5 AugBroadcast of Salmond & Darling: The Debate
28 Jul–3 AugIpsos MORI/STV1,00640%54%7%14%
30 Jul–1 AugSurvation/Mail on Sunday1,00040%46%14%6%
16–22 JulPanelbase/Sunday Times1,04141%48%11%7%
7–11 JulICM/Scotland on Sunday1,00234%45%21%11%
25 Jun–9 JulTNS BMRB99532%41%27%9%
4–8 JulSurvation/Daily Record1,01341%46%13%5%
25–29 JunYouGov/The Times1,20635%54%12%19%
10–23 JunTNS BMRB/Scotland September 181,00432%46%22%14%
16 JunRelease of the draft Scottish Independence Bill consultation paper[9]
12–16 JunYouGov/The Sun1,03936%53%11%17%
9–12 JunICM/Scotland on Sunday1,00236%43%21%7%
9–11 JunPanelbase/Yes Scotland1,06043%46%12%3%
6–10 JunSurvation/Daily Record1,00439%44%17%5%
2 JunRelease of Scottish Conservatives Strathclyde Commission Report[10]
26 May–1 JunIpsos MORI/STV1,00336%54%10%18%
30 MayOfficial Campaign Period begins
21–28 MayTNS BMRB1,01130%42%28%12%
12–15 MayICM/Scotland on Sunday1,00334%46%20%12%
8–14 MayPanelbase/Sunday Times1,04640%47%13%7%
9–12 MaySurvation/Daily Record[dead link]1,00337%47%17%10%
23 Apr–2 MayTNS BMRB99630%42%28%12%
25–28 AprYouGov/Channel 41,20837%51%12%14%
14–16 AprICM/Scotland on Sunday1,00439%42%19%3%
11–15 AprSurvation/Sunday Post1,00138%46%16%8%
4–9 AprPanelbase/Yes Scotland1,02440%45%15%5%
4–7 AprSurvation/Daily Record1,00237%47%16%10%
28 Mar–4 AprPanelbase/Wings Over Scotland1,02541%46%14%5%
21 Mar–2 AprTNS BMRB98829%41%30%12%
20–24 MarYouGov/The Times1,07237%52%11%15%
17–21 MarICM/Scotland on Sunday1,01039%46%15%7%
18 MarRelease of Scottish Labour Devolution Commission Report
7–14 MarPanelbase/Newsnet Scotland1,03640%45%15%5%
26 Feb–9 MarTNS BMRB1,01928%42%30%14%
6–7 MarSurvation/Daily Record/Better Nation1,00239%48%13%9%
24–28 FebYouGov/Scottish Sun1,25735%53%12%18%
20–25 FebIpsosMORI/STV1,00132%57%11%25%
18–21 FebPanelbase/Scottish National Party1,02237%47%16%10%
17–21 FebICM/Scotland on Sunday1,00437%49%14%12%
17–18 FebSurvation/Scottish Daily Mail1,00538%47%16%9%
13 FebChancellor of the Exchequer's speech on currency union
29 Jan–6 FebPanelbase/Sunday Times1,01237%49%14%12%
28 Jan–6 FebTNS BMRB99629%42%29%13%
3–5 FebYouGov/The Sun1,04734%52%14%18%
29–31 JanSurvation/Mail on Sunday1,01032%52%16%20%
21–27 JanYouGov1,19233%52%15%19%
21–24 JanICM/Scotland on Sunday1,00437%44%19%7%
14–20 JanTNS BMRB1,05429%42%29%13%
3–10 JanTNS BMRB/BBC Scotland1,00828%42%30%14%
2013
Date(s)
conducted
Polling organisation/client Sample size Yes No Undecided Lead
3–10 DecTNS BMRB1,05527%41%33%14%
6–9 DecYouGov/The Times1,07436%55%10%19%
29 Nov–5 DecIpsos MORI/STV News1,00634%57%10%23%
26 NovRelease of Scotland's Future
20–27 NovTNS BMRB1,00426%42%32%16%
12–20 NovPanelbase/Sunday Times1,00638%47%15%9%
23–30 OctTNS BMRB1,01025%43%32%18%
17–24 OctPanelbase/Wings Over Scotland1,00837%45%17%8%
25 Sep–2 OctTNS BMRB1,00425%44%31%19%
13–16 SepYouGov/The Times1,13932%52%13%20%
9–15 SepIpsos MORI/STV News1,00031%59%9%28%
10–13 SepICM/Scotland on Sunday1,00232%49%19%17%
30 Aug–5 SepPanelbase/Sunday Times1,00237%47%16%10%
23–28 AugPanelbase/Scottish National Party1,04344%43%13%1%
21–27 AugTNS BMRB[permanent dead link]1,01725%47%28%22%
19–22 AugYouGov/Devo Plus1,17129%59%10%30%
16 AugAngus Reid/Daily Express54934%47%19%13%
17–24 JulyPanelbase/Sunday Times1,00137%46%17%9%
10–16 MayPanelbase/Sunday Times1,00436%44%20%8%
29 Apr–5 MayIpsos MORI/The Times1,00128%57%15%29%
20 Mar–2 AprTNS BMRB1,00230%51%19%21%
18–22 MarPanelbase/Sunday Times88536%46%18%10%
20–28 FebTNS BMRB/Scottish CND1,00133%52%15%19%
4–9 FebIpsos MORI/The Times1,00332%52%16%20%
30 Jan–1 FebAngus Reid1,00332%47%20%15%
11–21 JanPanelbase/Sunday Times1,00434%47%19%13%
3–9 JanTNS BMRB1,01228%48%24%20%
3–4 JanAngus Reid57332%50%16%18%
2012
Date(s)
conducted
Polling organisation/client Sample size Yes No Undecided Lead
22–24 OctYouGov/DC Thomson1,00429%55%14%26%
9–19 OctPanelbase/Sunday Times Archived 2014-10-30 at the Wayback Machine97237%45%17%8%
15 OctEdinburgh Agreement (2012)
8–15 OctIpsos MORI/The Times1,00328%52%19%24%
26 Sep–4 OctTNS BMRB99528%53%19%25%
17–20 JunYouGov/Fabian Society1,02930%54%16%24%
7–14 JunIpsos MORI/The Times/The Sun1,00332%55%13%20%
27–29 JanIpsos MORI/The Times/The Sun1,00537%50%13%13%
9–11 JanYouGov/The Sun1,00233%53%14%20%
2011
Date(s)
conducted
Polling organisation/client Sample size Yes No Undecided Lead
26–27 OctYouGov/Scotsman1,07534%52%12%18%
24–31 AugTNS BMRB/The Herald1,00739%38%23%1%
25–29 AugIpsos MORI70335%60%5%25%
25–31 MayTNS BMRB/The Herald1,02237%45%18%8%
5 May2011 Scottish Parliament election
26–29 AprYouGov/Scotsman28%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/client Sample size Yes No Undecided Lead
18 September 20142014 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 2013Lord 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/client Sample size Yes No Undecided Lead
18 September 20142014 Scottish independence referendum results (Dumfries and Galloway)106,77534.3%65.7%31.4
18 September 20142014 Scottish independence referendum results (Scottish Borders)83,52633.4%66.6%33.2
3–9 Sep 2014ComRes/ITV Border[permanent dead link]1,00027%56%17%29%
9–15 Jun 2014ComRes/ITV Border[permanent dead link]1,00126%61%13%35%
2–6 Jan 2014ComRes/ITV Border1,00424%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/client Independence Devo Max Status Quo Undecided
2-5 Sep 2014YouGov42%36%14%7%
20-24 Mar 2014YouGov31%36%22%11%
26 Oct 2012YouGov23%41%25%11%
14 Jun 2012Ipsos MORI27%41%29%4%
13 Jan 2012ICM26%26%33%10%
1 Nov 2011TNS BMRB28%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/client Oppose Support Undecided
15 Sep 2014Guardian/ICM63%27%10%
28 Aug 2014Daily Express/Springboard44%22%34%
11 Jun 2014FT/Populus63%21%16%
11 Apr 2014YouGov53%26%21%
13-14 Feb 2014YouGov58%23%20%
28-29 Nov 2013YouGov43%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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