One of the many curious findings from tonight’s ComRes poll (for the Sunday Mirror and the Independent on Sunday) is that 38 per cent of people in Scotland want independence, a figure not far off the 46 per cent who don’t.
That is higher than the “third” figure usually cited in recent days. The poll suggests an uncomfortably thin margin for those who want the Scots to remain part of the United Kingdom. (ComRes found that only 32 per cent of English people wanted a schism). This sample is relatively small but other surveys will be closely watched in the coming months.
“I wouldn’t put too much confidence in opinion polls – a month ago they said the SNP were 15 per cent behind the Labour party.”
The survey seems to contradict a similar poll in the Sun last week, suggesting that 29 per cent of Scots wanted independence for Scotland while 41 per cent of other Britons did.
Other findings from the ComRes poll worth noting:
* Some 62 per cent want the coalition to think again on its NHS reforms; only 15 per cent want it to press ahead.
* Nick Clegg’s popularity ratings are only slightly behind Ed Miliband’s; at 21 per cent and 22 per cent respectively. David Cameron is on 39 per cent.
* 40 per cent agree that the coalition between the Conservatives and the Liberal Democrats has probably worked out better than the Conservatives trying to go it alone. (33 per cent disagree).
* Also, curiously, 48 per cent of the public have sympathy “in most cases” for people going on strike against public spending cuts. (37 per cent disagree). This could explain why, so far, David Cameron has resisted calls from colleagues (Boris Johnson and Philip Hammond) to launch a pre-emptive attack on the unions, perhaps by making it harder to strike.