London, 16 September – The debate on the Scottish independence referendum has seen sentiment against Scottish independence harden in England and Wales, according to new research from TNS.

There has been a rise in the number of those who think that Scotland should not become independent, that the UK would be worse off without Scotland and that Scotland’s departure would diminish the UK’s influence in the world.

However, the poll of 1124 over-18s in England and Wales finds significant disengagement from the issue: only just over half (55%) say they care about the outcome of this week’s referendum and 47% say Scottish independence would have no impact on their lives. More than a quarter (28%) say they do not care about the result, rising to 37% of those aged 18-24.

Asked whether Scotland should become an independent country, 63% said it should not. This is a 10 percentage point increase from the level in August 2013 and a 2 point change since June 2014. Opposition to independence was strongest among the over-65s (75%) and the ABC1 Social grades (70%).

Two in five said the UK would be worse off without Scotland, representing a strong rise in the past year – the figure in August 2013 was 26%, rising to 31% in June. Again the over-65s (46%) and ABC1s (45%) were most pessimistic about the UK’s prospects if Scotland were to depart.

There was also a strong rise in those who saw Scottish independence leading to the UK having less influence in the world, from 17% in August 2013 to 22% in June 2014 and 32% now. The number of those who say it would make no difference has fallen from 59% in August 2013 to 45%.

Tom Costley, Head of TNS Scotland said: “As media coverage of the Scottish independence debate has built up in advance of the referendum, it appears to have been altering opinion in the rest of Great Britain.

“There is clearly greater concern about the prospects of a smaller UK than there was a year ago, but with around a half not caring about the result and thinking that Scotland’s independence would not affect them, it seems that a great number of non-Scots are simply prepared to let matters take their course.”

Notes to editors

TNS Omnibus interviewed a representative sample of 1,124 adults in England and Wales between 11th and 15th September 2014. All interviews were conducted as online self-completion. The data is weighted to match population totals for age, sex, social grade, working status, presence of children, 2010 voting patterns and region.

Detailed tables for this survey can be found here.

About TNS

TNS UK advises clients on specific growth strategies around new market entry, innovation, brand switching and stakeholder management, based on long-established expertise and market-leading solutions. With a presence in over 80 countries, TNS has more conversations with the world’s consumers than anyone else and understands individual human behaviours and attitudes across every cultural, economic and political region of the world. TNS is part of Kantar, one of the world’s largest insight, information and consultancy groups.

TNS UK was awarded the Market Research Society’s (MRS) Agency of the Year 2013.

About Kantar

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