UK & World News

  • 12 August 2014, 9:06

Scottish Voters 'Anxious About UK Break Away'

A survey of Scottish attitudes has detailed the country's hopes and fears over independence.

The Survey of Scottish Social Attitudes found a small rise in support for breaking away from the UK, but exposed reservations over the economy and of diminished international influence.

Researchers also found the gap in support between men and women had doubled in size.

Last year, 26% of women backed independence compared to 27% in 2014. The comparative rise among men was from 32% to 39%.

Researchers believe that women are more wary of the uncertainties of independence and so are less inclined to support it.

The annual survey's other key findings include:

:: Independence

In 2013, excluding undecided voters, 36% of Scots backed independence. This year, that's risen to 39%.

In contrast, those against independence numbered 64% in 2013. This year that has fallen to 61%.

:: Economy

In 2013, 34% thought Scotland's economy would be worse under independence. In 2014, the figure has increased to 44%

:: International influence

In 2013, 25% of Scots believed independence would make Scotland's voice weaker. In 2014, the figure has risen to 38%

:: Britishness

When forced to choose one single identity, the number of Scots describing themselves as British has increased from 15% in 2011 to 23% now.

:: Currency

On one of the key issues at the heart of the referendum debate, people were asked what currency an independent Scotland would be using a few years after breaking away.

Some 46% of respondents thought it would be using the pound. This is in spite of pro-Union parties warning that an independent Scotland would be denied the pound.

Some 18% said it would use the euro, while 17% said it would use a new currency.

John Curtice, the co-director of the Scottish Social Attitudes survey at ScotCen Social Research commented: "Although support for a Yes vote has increased during the last 12 months, more voters have in fact become nervous about the consequences of leaving the UK.

"Support for independence has only increased because those who are convinced it would be beneficial for Scotland are more willing to put their cross in the Yes box.

"However, at present there are still insufficient voters who are of that view to deliver a majority for independence."

Rachel Ormston, research director at ScotCen said: "In the final weeks of the campaign, capturing women's votes remains a key challenge, particularly for the Yes campaign.

"Put off by uncertainty and less likely to be persuaded by patriotic arguments around 'pride', women still need to be convinced that independence will deliver on the economy and other areas."

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