Opinion split down the middle on the proposed date set for indyref2

Opinions on whether Scotland should hold a second independence referendum are split down the middle, a pollster has said.

Nicola Sturgeon announced to the Scottish Parliament on Tuesday afternoon that she intends to hold a second vote on October 19, 2023, but will refer the matter to the High Court to establish its legality.

The proposed date comes after the Scottish Government’s Independence Referendum Bill, published in March 2021, declared the intention to hold the vote in the first half of this parliamentary term.

Mark Diffley, director of the polling firm Diffley Partnership, told the PA news agency that while there is an even divide between those who want a referendum and those who don’t, there are also conflicting views on when such an event should take place.

Diffley said this amounted to a “four-way split” on the issue, with a third of voters saying they want another referendum within the timeframe set by the Prime Minister, and around 20% wanting it to take place within five full years. -year of parliamentary mandate.

Another third have said they do not want a second independence referendum to take place, and the rest are undecided, he said.

The pollster said this shows that two-thirds of people want another vote to take place, but are simply undecided about the best timetable for it to take place.

He explained that those who would prefer the referendum to take place sooner rather than later are likely to be strong supporters of the pro-independence cause, while those who are prepared for the prospect of it taking place later in the current parliamentary term will tend to be softer supporters of the independence cause. independence seeking more strategy and preparation.

Prime Minister Nicola Sturgeon outlined her plans for a second independence referendum (Lesley Martin/PA)

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The current term of the Scottish Parliament will run until 2026.

There are no clear signs of confidence from either side of the independence debate, Diffley said, and so far both Yes and No appear the same in polls of voting intentions.

In the 2014 independence referendum, the Yes side’s 45% of votes were defeated by the No’s 55%.

Recent polls suggest No might be slightly ahead by two or three percentage points, he said, but there’s not enough room to suggest one side will fare better than the other as things stand.

Diffley suggested that until a campaign gets under way, it will not be clear how many more people will back Yes eight years later, nor whether there will be fewer undecideds compared to the last vote.

He highlighted a recent moment when support for independence exceeded 50%, which he said was due to the Scottish Government taking the lead on the Covid-19 strategy in Scotland.

During the height of the pandemic, the Prime Minister delivered daily televised briefings to households across the country to post updates and answer questions.

Diffley said that the leadership displayed was the cause of the increase in support, but added that it had since declined and suggested that it was unlikely to happen again.

He also said the fallout from the Westminster partygate saga has caused greater dissatisfaction with the Prime Minister among Scotland’s voters, but said it has not translated into greater support for independence.


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