Polling guru outlines why Nicola Sturgeon could have advantage in Scottish independence

Nicola Sturgeon promises second referendum by end of 2023

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The First Minister is pushing for a fresh referendum on Scottish independence. Pollster Chris Curtis warned against making predictions on the result if there is a second vote.

But Mr Curtis, of Opinuim Research, said the underlying data from polling suggests there are a number of reasons Ms Sturgeon could find it easier to campaign than those wanting to keep Scotland in the UK.

The pollster highlighted how the SNP leader is a “good messenger” for the independence campaign due to high levels of trust in her, while there is not an equivalent figure on the other side.

He said: “Nicola Sturgeon, particularly off the back of what’s considered by the Scottish public to be a successful handling of the pandemic, is now given a lot of trust when she talks about whole range of issues including Scottish independence.

“So that makes her a very good messenger for the pro-independence campaign.

“There isn’t an equivalent on the other side. We polled a wide range of figures and asked whether people trust them when they talk about independence.

“In every single case, more people said that they didn’t trust pro-Union figures than trusted.”

Mr Curtis added that young people who were unable to vote in the 2014 referendum are more likely to back independence.

He said: “What we’re seeing from the data is that those who were too young to vote in the last referendum campaign, but would vote now, overwhelmingly break in favour of an independent Scotland.

“So obviously the more people you have who were too young to vote last time but could vote now, that makes it slightly easier for the Scottish independence campaign as well.”

Mr Curtis also said the argument that independence would negatively impact Scotland’s economy is “weaker” than it was in 2014.

He said: “The data from that referendum showed people bought it and that’s why they voted to stay in the Union.

“Polling now shows that the median voter thinks that it won’t have any effect on their personal finances and it won’t have any effect on the Scottish economy so that’s going to make it a whole lot harder for the No campaign to weaponise those arguments second time around.”

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Opinium latest’s Scotland poll of 590 people from September 2-8 suggests the country would vote 51 percent for independence and 49 percent against.

Back in 2014, voters rejected becoming an independent country by 55 percent to 45 percent.

But Ms Sturgeon insisted she has an “unarguable mandate” to hold a second vote on Scottish independence in her speech at the SNP conference earlier this week.

The SNP won its fourth consecutive term in power at Holyrood in May’s Scottish elections.

However the UK Government remains opposed to another vote.

When asked about giving the green light for another referendum during a Westminster Liaison Committee in March, Prime Minister Boris Johnson said: “When you ask people to vote on a highly controversial and divisive issue, an issue that breaks up family relationships, that is extremely toxic and divisive, and you tell them this is going to happen only once in a generation, I think you should stick to it.”

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