By Dave Taylor
A poll carried out by ComRes for today's Independent on Sunday and Sunday Mirror newspapers shows that support for Scottish independence is now the preference of the largest section of voters across the UK. The poll also showed that independence appears to be increasingly the choice of Scottish voters, with a clear majority of Scots in favour.
ComRes questioned 2004 voters across England, Scotland and Wales on whether they agreed or disagreed with the statement: Scotland should be an independent country.
The argument for Scottish independence appears to be winning the day. 39% of those polled agreed with the idea that Scotland should become independent, narrowly outnumbering the 38% who were opposed. The 39% in favour represent a six-point increase since ComRes last polled UK voters on this question in May when the SNP won their landslide victory in the Holyrood election. Those opposing Scottish independence have decreased by four points over the same period.
Although ComRes polled only 176 Scottish voters in the poll, the Scots were strongly in favour of independence with 49% in favour against only 37% opposed. This figure is a marked increase since the last ComRes poll, showing an increase of 11 pointsin pro-independence sentiment since May. The proportion of Scots who are opposed to independence has declined by 9 points.
As UK polling organisations typically weight their polls according to Westminster voting preferences, it is possible that the poll understates the true proportion of Scots in favour of independence as the Unionist parties have consistently performed better in Westminster elections than in Scottish elections. When considering Scotland's interests, as opposed to UK considerations, Scottish voters are more prone to lending their support to pro-independence parties, especially the SNP.
The poll will also give heart to the SNP government in another way. ComRes also asked voters about their attitude towards lesbian and gay marriage. Across the UK 51% were in favour, with 34% opposed, however voters in Scotland showed the strongest support for gay marriage anywhere in the UK, with 55% of Scots in favour.
SNP campaigns director and MP Angus Robertson said: "This is an excellent poll that shows support, in both Scotland and England, for our nations having a new relationship of equality as two independent countries, sharing a head of state and working together as partners in Europe."