Another poll shows Scots DON’T want to leave the UK in latest blow for Nicola Sturgeon’s separatist dream
- Nicola Sturgeon has been pushing for fresh independence referendum soon
- Survation poll found support for splitting UK has dropped to 49 per cent of Scots
- Ms Sturgeon has made forcing a referendum key plank of her election manifesto
Nicola Sturgeon faced another blow to her Scottish independence hopes today after another poll showed majority support for the union.
The First Minister’s push to break up the UK is coming under mounting pressure after the latest research showed its appeal waning.
Research by Survation found 51 per cent of Scots oppose splitting off, with the figure rising slightly since the end of March.
Ms Sturgeon has made calling a fresh referendum as early as this year the key plank of her manifesto for elections on May 6.
She has insisted that a big SNP win will provide a mandate for another contest, even though the last vote in 2014 was billed as ‘once in a generation’.
However, after riding high for months, a slew of recent polls have shown backing for dividing the UK has been slipping, as Ms Sturgeon’s civil war with Alex Salmond rages.
Some have suggested the SNP faces missing out on a crucial majority at Holyrood in the ballot.
However, the Survation findings for the The Sunday Post indicate the SNP is on course for a five-seat majority – although experts warned the margins are very fine.
Research by Survation found 51 per cent of Scots oppose splitting the UK, with the figure rising slightly since the end of March
Ms Sturgeon came under fire yesterday after admitting an independent Scotland would have to have a hard border with England if it rejoins the EU.
But the SNP leader insisted that cross-border businesses and trade would not ‘suffer’ because of it, as she appeared on the BBC’s Andrew Marr programme.
She said Scotland would try to negotiate arrangements to ‘keep trade flowing easily across the border’ if it becomes independent and is successful at taking the country back into the EU.
Her comments sparked fury from unionists, who accused her of planning to oversea actions that would be a ‘hammer blow’ for Scottish businesses.
Scottish Conservative leader Douglas Ross said: ‘By Nicola Sturgeon’s own admission, the SNP are clueless about the economic impact of independence.’
The Survation poll found Scottish Labour are set to overtake the Tories as Holyrood’s second-largest party, gaining two seats.
The survey suggests half of all voters plan to vote SNP in their constituency vote while 35 per cent intend to do so on the regional list ballot paper, which the polling suggests would give them 67 seats.
Labour’s projected 25 seats are based on 21 per cent in constituency votes and 22 per cent of list votes, followed by the Scottish Conservatives on 21 per cent and 20 per cent respectively, leaving them with 22 seats – down eight.
The Liberal Democrats polled 7 per cent for both votes, keeping them on five seats, while the Scottish Greens would be backed by one in 10 voters on the list ballot, giving them 11 seats, an increase of five from the last election in 2016.
The Alba Party’s 3 per cent of list vote support would not be enough to gain any seats at Holyrood, the modelling suggests.
Its leader, Mr Salmond, is popular with only 10 per cent of respondents, with a net favourability rating of minus 64, compared with Prime Minister Boris Johnson on minus 42, Scottish Conservative leader Douglas Ross on minus 26, Lib Dem leader Willie Rennie on minus 12 and Patrick Harvie on minus nine.
Ms Sturgeon and Scottish Labour leader Anas Sarwar are the only two to have positive net favourability, with 16 and seven respectively.
Writing in The Sunday Post, polling expert Sir John Curtice said: ‘At the beginning of the campaign Nicola Sturgeon was concerned that Salmond’s Alba Party would eat into her party’s list vote.
‘There is not much sign of that happening. Just 5 per cent of SNP constituency voters are backing Salmond.
‘Rather, it is the Greens who are doing much of the damage with as many as 15% of SNP constituency voters saying they will back the Greens on the list.’
He added: ‘Our poll suggests Sturgeon’s SNP could win an overall majority by virtue of winning nearly all of the 73 constituency seats at Holyrood.
‘However, if SNP support were to slip just a little below the 50 per cent mark the party currently enjoys – or if the party were unlucky in a few of the opposition-held marginal seats it needs to capture – it could still fall short.
‘In that event, it might need two or three list seats to win a majority but, at 35 per cent, the party’s share of the list vote is at its lowest level in over two years.’
After riding high for months, a slew of recent polls have shown backing for dividing the UK has been slipping, as Ms Sturgeon’s civil war with Alex Salmond (pictured last week) rages
YouGov research last week found 53 per cent wanted to stay in the UK and 47 per cent wanted to go it alone, with the lead for the union up four points on last month
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