In Brief

IndyRef2 polls: Support for Scottish independence at all-time high

More Scots want to break away from UK than ever before, says annual survey

Support for Scottish independence has doubled since 2012 to reach its highest level since records began in 1999, a new poll shows.

That's good news for Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon, who announced this week that she would call for a second independence referendum in an attempt to keep Scotland in the European Union.

According to the annual Scottish Social Attitudes, which asks Scots the same question each year on how their country should be governed, 46 per cent of the country backed independence.

Of the remainder, 42 per cent supported the current policy of devolution and eight per cent would abolish the Scottish Parliament, reports The Scotsman.

When the last independence referendum began to take shape in 2012, support for leaving the UK was at 23 per cent.

However, the annual Scottish Social Attitudes survey, carried out by ScotCen Social Research, also showed a drop in support for the EU, raising questions over how Sturgeon will conduct a campaign to leave the UK.

While the SNP's justification for calling another referendum is largely based on the fact Scotland voted for Remain in last year's EU referendum, the poll suggests the recent surge in support for independence is not a response to the Brexit vote as attitudes towards Brussels have soured.

Euroscepticism in Scotland rose to 67 per cent in 2016, from 40 per cent in 1999.

Consequently, "focusing on EU membership may not be the best way to swing more voters towards independence", the BBC says.

Although in 2014 Scots voted to remain in the UK by 55 per cent to 45 per cent, the referendum created a "legacy of dramatically increased support" for independence, says ScotCen.

Young people appear to have been particularly inspired, with almost three-quarters of those aged between 16 and 24 wanting to leave the UK, compared with 26 per cent of over-65s.

Professor John Curtice, a senior research fellow at ScotCen, said the figures showed the nationalist movement in Scotland "has never been stronger electorally".

However, he added: "There is a risk that linking independence closely to the idea of staying in the EU could alienate some of those who back leaving the UK."

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