Astounding #Referendum2023 poll shows a pro-independence majority for the first time in any Panelbase poll since April 2021

Should Scotland be an independent country?  (Panelbase / Sunday Times)

Yes 51% (+2)
No 49% (-2)

For my money unionist politicians are going to be absolutely stunned and horrified by the results of the new Panelbase poll – which appears to be the second poll conducted since Nicola Sturgeon’s announcement, but the first with a normal sample size of 1000 respondents or so.  Even as an independence supporter, I’d have put money on a Panelbase poll right now showing a small to middling No lead.  The last five Panelbase polls in a row have shown No ahead, and the most recent poll from the firm to have a Yes lead was just before the Holyrood election in the spring of last year.  An outright Yes lead will not have been what the Tories and Labour were expecting, particularly in view of the onslaught from a media that has dropped all pretence of being anything other than a British nationalist propaganda front.  This may be the first sign of the dividends we can expect as a result of the SNP leading from the front, rather than forever running away from making the case for a referendum or for independence.

Similarly, I’m pretty sure unionists would have been expecting sizeable opposition to Nicola Sturgeon’s choice of date for a referendum, whereas in fact there’s a practically even split, with 43% in favour of the date and 44% opposed.  The naming of the date may well have changed the dynamic by concentrating voters’ minds.

The poll also contains Scottish voting intentions for Westminster, but it uses a non-standard question which asks respondents to specifically say how they would vote if the SNP use the election as a de facto independence referendum.  That may well be a more meaningful measure of how such an election would play out, but it does mean that these results aren’t directly comparable with any previous poll.

Scottish voting intentions for a UK general election used as a de facto independence referendum:

SNP 47%
Labour 23%
Conservatives 19%
Liberal Democrats 8%
Other 3%
As with the ComRes poll, it’s really frustrating that Panelbase haven’t offered the Greens as an option – because if, by any chance, all 3% of the “others” are Green (or Alba) supporters, that would take the combined vote for Yes parties to the magic 50%.  However, what is really encouraging here is that the SNP vote isn’t falling off a cliff when the plebiscite aspect is specified.  Quite the reverse, in fact – the SNP vote is five percentage points higher than in the last Panelbase poll using a standard Westminster question.
Among the supplementary questions, respondents were asked to predict which way the Supreme Court will jump.  48% think the judges will strike the October 2023 referendum down, and 33% think they will give it the green light.  I must say I can’t for the life of me see what the point of that question is, because voters have no control over what the Supreme Court will do, and for the most part aren’t qualified to make legal predictions.  Perhaps of more interest, though, is that the percentage of voters who expect Scotland to be independent within five years has shot up by ten points, and the total percentage who expect independence within ten years has increased by four points.

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