Research by Ipsos carried out prior to Nicola Sturgeon’s resignation as First Minister, taken 30th January to 1st February, asked the Scottish public about their views on the potential ‘de facto’ referendum strategy that the SNP could decide to pursue.
Discussions within the party about this strategy have followed the Supreme Court ruling in October 2022 that Holyrood does not have the power to hold a referendum without UK Government consent.
According to the Scottish public, there is no clear ‘best’ option that the SNP should pursue. Overall, more think the best option is for the SNP to treat the next General Election as a de facto referendum (20%) than think the best option is for the party to treat the next Scottish Parliament election as a de facto referendum (15%).
However, 44% say neither of these is the best option for the SNP to pursue, while 6% don’t mind and 14% don’t know or prefer not to say.
There is also no clear winning option among the SNP’s own voters. One in three (34%) say that treating the next General Election as a de facto referendum is the best option, while slightly fewer (27%) say that treating the next Scottish Parliament election as a de facto referendum is the best option. However, one in five say neither option is best.
Emily Gray, Managing Director of Ipsos in Scotland, said, “Which route to pursue towards independence is a key challenge facing Nicola Sturgeon’s successor as leader of the SNP. The party is divided on what its independence strategy should be, and these findings highlight that there is no clear consensus among the party’s voters about which route the SNP should take either.”