In August 2007, the SNP published a white paper on Scotland’s future, containing the bill which would authorise a referendum on Scottish independence and setting out a proposed ballot paper. Using our omnibus, Scottish Opinion Survey, Kantar Public conducted a poll at
that time to establish how the Scottish electorate would respond to the two options specified if such a referendum were to be held at that time. This poll was then repeated periodically over the next 2 years to monitor any changes in public opinion.
Some 4 years on, the temperature was raised considerably by the success of the SNP in winning an outright majority in the Scottish Parliament election in May 2011 and declaring that a referendum will be held during the course of this Parliament. Against this background, TNSBMRB restarted its series of independence polls, using the same question as before to maintain trend data.
The situation developed further in January 2012, when Alex Salmond announced a proposed date of autumn 2014 for the referendum and, on 25th January, launched a consultation on this, which included a revised question wording of, ‘Do you agree that Scotland should be an
independent country?’ By that stage, the latest Kantar Public poll was in progress, using the previous wording. While it is recognised that this poll does not reflect the latest suggested question wording – on which, incidentally, there is some debate over its neutrality – it does provide a stark measure of how attitudes towards independence per se have moved since the SNP first came to power in 2007 and announced their intentions on this issue. An additional question first asked by Kantar Public for the BBC in October 2011 to take account of a further option of increased powers for the Scottish Parliament – the ‘devo-max’ scenario – has also been asked again as part of this latest poll.