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EU exit would trigger Scots independence vote, poll says

Published 17/01/2016

EU exit for the UK as a whole is at the top of Nicola Sturgeon's list of circumstances which could trigger a fresh Scottish independence referendum
EU exit for the UK as a whole is at the top of Nicola Sturgeon's list of circumstances which could trigger a fresh Scottish independence referendum

Scotland would vote for independence if the UK decides to leave the European Union, a poll suggests.

People in Scotland are overwhelmingly against an EU exit, by 65% to 35%, in contrast to people in England who are narrowly in favour by 53% to 47%, a Panelbase poll for for the Sunday Times and Heart FM indicates.

England's population is so big that the No to EU campaign has to win by just 1% there to outvote people in Scotland.

Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has put a vote to leave the EU against Scotland's will at the top of her list of shifting political circumstances which could trigger a second independence referendum.

She would have the backing of 54% for another referendum if the UK votes to leave the EU, the poll of of 1,053 voters in Scotland and 1,034 adults in England and Wales suggests.

And the Yes to independence campaign would win the day by 52% - up seven points on the 45% who voted Yes in 2014 and five points on the 47% who say they would vote for independence anyway in the poll.

Panelbase managing directo Ivor Knox said: "While there have been some sporadic indications of movements in attitudes, our polls since the 2014 referendum have generally shown a small majority opposed to independence, including polls following the election of a Conservative majority government in last year's UK general election.

"It seems that the tipping point leading to - or preventing - independence may not be related to short term party politics but rather to the other major constitutional issue of the day: Britain's relationship with Europe."

John Curtice, professor of politics at Strathclyde University, told the Sunday Times: "If Britain were to vote to leave the EU it could tip the balance on independence from a narrow margin against to a narrow margin in favour."

Scottish voters think independence is a matter of time, with just over two thirds (67%) viewing it as likely within five to 30 years, the poll conducted from January 8-14 suggests.

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