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Scotland’s First Minister has continued to campaign for a second referendum on independence and has vowed to hold a vote should the SNP secure a majority in the elections in May. But a new poll undertaken by Savanta ComRes for The Scotsman which interviewed 1,002 adults aged 16 or over online from February 4-9 has suggested support for another vote is slipping away. The survey showed support for independence has dropped below 50 percent when those who voted “don’t know” are included for the first time since December.
Just under half (47 percent) would vote “Yes” in the event of a second referendum, with 42 percent voting no and 10 percent undecided.
Excluding “don’t knows”, support for independence in a second referendum was 53 percent – down by four points from the previous poll.
Widening divisions in the SNP could be attributed to this fall in support, with significantly more Scots now believing the ruling party is more fractured than ever.
The most recent poll showed just 42 percent say the SNP is united, down by eight points against the survey from January and five points below December’s figures.
Just under half (45 percent) of those quizzed believe the SNP is divided, an increase of six points compared with January and eight points when compared to December.
George Galloway, the veteran politician who is now heading up new party All for Unity in Scotland, told Express.co.uk: “The tide is turning on independence.
“This is the fourth consecutive fall, but the biggest fall in support for independence.
“If you include ‘don’t knows’, that support is at 47 percent and that will soon slip to 45 percent, which is what the SNP got in the independence referendum in 2014.”
He added: “All this huffing and puffing has got them nowhere.
“Six years ago in the referendum, the ‘don’t knows’ broke by a 9:1 margin in favour of remaining in the UK.
“If you add the vast majority of the ‘don’t knows’, which were 10 percent, to our result, then you get more or less the result you got in 2014.”
But despite this new hammer blow for Ms Sturgeon, the poll found the SNP is still on course for an overwhelming result at the Scottish elections in three months’ time.
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Ms Sturgeon’s party is set to be supported by 54 percent of Scots on the constituency vote, with 43 percent backing the ruling party in the regional list.
This would see the SNP return 71 MSPs and sit with a majority of 13 in the 129-seat Scottish parliament.
Chris Hopkins, associate director at Savanta ComRes, said: “Our latest Holyrood poll for the Scotsman has some interesting changes from last month, most notably in the proportions saying the SNP ‘is divided’ rising by six points and, simultaneously, ‘is united’ dropping by eight points.
“These figures naturally have coincided with the ongoing Salmond inquiry and, while there appears to be very little direct impact on the SNP in terms of the Holyrood voting intention, we do see a four-point drop in the indyref2 voting intention, although Yes still lead by six points.
“The main beneficiaries in the Holyrood VI are the Scottish Conservatives, up four points in the constituency vote and five points in the list, and while the Conservatives are unlikely to threaten the SNP’s dominance, on these numbers it’s likely that they’ll re-establish themselves as Scotland’s second party over the leaderless Labour.
“An increase in the favourability of Boris Johnson and the UK Government in general may well be contributing to the Scottish Conservative’s improved showing if an election were tomorrow.”