As debate over Scotland's independence referendum heats up, an
opinion poll showed a rising number of English and Welsh want
Scotland to stay in the 307-year group forged by the Treaty of the
Union that created the United Kingdom of Great Britain.
A YouGov poll found 54 percent want voters north of the border to
reject independence at a referendum on September 18.
This is a turnaround from three years ago when a poll for the
tabloid Sun newspaper found slightly more English and Welsh wanted
Scots to go their own way than stay in the UK.
The survey comes as polls north of the border show a slight shift in
opinion with rising support for separatists who have lagged
pro-unionists with about one third support since the independence
vote became a reality 18 months ago.
"Suddenly Scottish independence has become a real consideration and
people are taking this more seriously and no longer just giving a
flippant answer," political analyst Anthony Wells from YouGov told
The latest YouGov poll of 5,161 English and Welsh adults conducted
last month found only 24 percent now wanted Scotland to break away
from the UK while 22 percent did not know.
The poll found opposition to Scottish independence was strongest in
the north of England where 55 percent of respondents favored
sticking with Scotland and was weakest in London where 50 percent
opposed a breakaway.
The British government is opposed to Scottish independence, saying
both sides of the border benefit from the union.
"The UK has a stronger global voice than any of us would have alone — this is common sense," Welsh First Minister Carwyn Jones said in a
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Scotland's First Minister Alex Salmond is leading the drive for
Scotland to split from the rest of the UK, arguing that Scots will
be better off in charge of their own finances.
But the YouGov poll found the economy was not a key consideration
for England and Wales, with 56 percent saying Scottish independence
would make no real difference or not make them worse off. Only 26
percent thought they would benefit.
The number of Scottish residents opposed to independence continues
to trump those supporting a split but as the debate heats up, more
Scots are starting to sway towards a Yes vote and a large number
This uncertainty and the Scottish National Party's landslide victory
in Scottish elections in 2011 has prompted British officials to warn
A TNS BMRB poll released last weekend showed support for
independence at 29 percent, up from 26 percent in a similar November
poll, while support for Scotland remaining part of the UK was steady
at 42 percent'
(Editing by Stephen Addison)
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