Do English People want Scotland to Stay Part of the UK?

Here are the results of 2 surveys. The first is one that’s been run quite a lot by polling organisations over the last couple of years. The second one is much rarer. Here are the descriptions:

  • Survey 1: A survey of 1,000 people in Scotland, carried out over the web, asking the simple quesiton “Should Scotland be an independent country?”
  • Survey 2: A survey of 500 people in England, again carried out over the web, asking the same question: “Should Scotland be an independent country?”

I thought it was strange the second question had not been asked more often, so thought I would run a poll myself.

Scottish Results

Here are the overall results of 1,000 people in Scotland being asked the question “Should Scotland be an independent country?”

As you can see – very, very close. So close in fact that – if you look at those ‘+/-4.6%’ error bars, it’s literally too close to call based on the 1,000 people surveyed.

(I’ve included error bars, so you can see the margin of error (and whether they are meaningful), and broken them down by age & gender too.)

Scottish Results by Age

Here are the results split by age, for the 2/3 of respondents where the age was known.

As you can see, the largest ‘Yes’ lean is among those 35-44; the largest ‘No’ lean is 18-24. This is interesting, but, as these are small groups of respondents I would not draw any conclusions based on this. (see the error bars, for example)

Scottish Results by Gender

Here are the Scottish results, split by gender:

Again, that’s leaning toward ‘Yes’  for male, and ‘No’ for female, but too close to call.

English Results

I ran exactly the same survey across 500 people in England – asking the question “Should Scotland be an independent country?” (worded exactly, I believe, as the official ballot question).

This time, the results were very, very different:

English Results by Age

Splitting this out by age, the results are very similar across all brackets (albeit note the error bars again here – these are very small samples in each group, so far from exact).

English Results by Gender

Again, splitting by gender we see a similar picture: English people do not want Scotland to be an independent country.


It’s always worth caveating this kind of survey (in fact that’s true of almost all data). This is not an election. I did not ask “If you were to vote today, how would you vote when asked the question ‘Should Scotland be an independent country?'” – I simply asked the actual ballot question Scottish voters will be asked.

You’ll notice that I surveyed 500 people in England here, and 1000 in Scotland (note ‘in England’, ‘in Scotland’ rather than English/Scottish). The reason for that was I started by surveying 500 people in each. The “England” results were so conclusive I stopped. There was no clear winner in Scotland, so I ran for another 500 responses. Again, too close to call.

The final obvious caveat is: I haven’t surveyed Northern Ireland or Wales here. If you’d like me to do that, feel free to add a comment on the post. And – if you’d like me to survey more people in England if you feel doing so would alter the outcome – feel free to drop me a note too.

Overall Summary

The polls here are snapshots of 2 particular audiences. Based on those audiences, we can say:

  • The audience within Scotland are not sure whether they want Scotland to be part of the United Kingdom or not. The results are quite literally too close to call. (Voting one way or the other is another matter, where actual risk & proactive effort are both involved)
  • The English audience on the other hand are are very, very, very much swayed one way: they want Scotland to remain part of the UK.

Do share this with others if you think they may be interested.

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