Just one in five people think Nicola Sturgeon’s successor as First Minister will lead Scotland to independence. Exclusive polling by Omnisis shows that just 21 percent of people across Great Britain think Humza Yousaf will achieve this goal. This compares with 37 percent who think he will not, and 42 percent who don’t know.
Mr Yousaf takes the reins of the SNP after a bruising and divisive leadership election, which saw him elected with 52 percent support, narrowly ahead of the socially conservative Kate Forbes on 48 percent.
Despite the challenges facing the party, the polling shows people across Britain are braced for radical change with a narrow majority expecting Scotland to leave the United Kingdom in their lifetime.
Forty percent expect to see Scotland to quit the UK, compared with 37 percent who think it will remain in the union and 23 percent who say they do not know.
SNP MP and former Runrig musician Pete Wishart welcomed the findings.
He said: “Every time I speak to people from the rest of the United Kingdom about the prospects of an independent Scotland, I think they get it…
“They know that we are a prosperous, well-resourced country that is more than capable of making its own decisions – just like we believe that the English are more than capable of making all their own decisions, too.”
SNP MSP Emma Harper insisted that “independence is now closer than ever,” saying: “Scotland is tired of being ignored and undermined by Westminster politicians who do not speak for us.”
But a Scottish Conservative spokesman said: “The SNP’s relentless obsession with independence is the only issue on which Humza Yousaf’s hopelessly divided party can agree.”
He said that Scottish people wanted the Scottish Government to “focus on the cost of living crisis and the mess Humza Yousaf has made of our NHS.”
The polling also reveals that only around one in five people (21 percent) expect Northern Ireland will unite with the Republic of Ireland in their lifetime.
This is despite pro-unification Sinn Fein winning the most seats in the last Stormont election and topping the opinion polls in the Republic.
Nearly half of people (47 percent) do not expect to witness the unification of Ireland, with 31 percent saying they do not know.
The research suggests there are widespread misgiving about the last major act of constitutional change – the decision to leave the European Union.
The 2016 referendum was won by Leave by 52 percent to 38 percent, but the polling found nearly six out of 10 respondents (58 percent) said Britain was wrong to leave. Just 42 percent believed Brexit was the right decision.
When asked how they would vote if there was another referendum on EU membership tomorrow – and respondents who did not know how they would vote or who would not vote were excluded – there was a strong majority to rejoin.
Six out of 10 (60 percent) wanted the UK to return as an EU member state, with 40 percent supporting staying outside the bloc.
However, support for rejoining was strongest among women (66 percent) and the under-40s (72 percent). It was lower among men (54 percent) and the over-40s (51 percent).