Gavin Yates (Edinburgh, GYMedia): New research from the Scottish Centre for Social Research has found that only 23 per cent of Scots are in favour of independence. The study asked almost 1,300 people their views on Scotland's constitutional future and is the most comprehensive study since the SNP's victory back in May.However, over 50 per cent of those questioned between May and August this year said that they wanted a more powers for Holyrood. Opposition politicians used the study to kick the new Scottish Government but it's more likely now that we'll see a ‘preferendum' on increase powers for Scotland later in the parliamentary term than a referendum on full independence.
The research also pointed out the reasons for the SNP's May success. It was clear that Alex Salmond was seen as the most suitable First Minister with 44 per cent of the interviewees awarding him seven or more out of 10, compared to 23% for the then Labour leader Jack McConnell.
The SNP was also more effective at putting over the message that it was "Scotland's party", with 24 per cent saying the SNP looked "very closely" after the interests of people in Scotland, compared to Labour's 7 per cent.
Professor John Curtice from Strathclyde University, a co-director of the study, said:The SNP's victory in May was a success for the party rather than the cause of independence that it espouses. It had a popular leader and tapped a feeling that Holyrood should put Scotland, rather than partnership with London, first.
This enabled the party to win the votes of those who already backed independence rather than win new converts to the independence cause.