How Brexit has created a new divide in the nationalist movement

How Brexit has created a new divide in the nationalist movementThis chapter of the 35th British Social Attitudes report, written by Prof John Curtice and Ian Montagu, finds that the overall level of support for Scottish independence has not changed in the wake of the EU referendum result. However, support for independence is now more strongly linked with a favourable attitude towards the EU, while the SNP lost ground in the 2017 election among those who are sceptical about Europe. Meanwhile, although those with a strong English identity were more likely to vote Leave, the EU referendum has not led to an increase in English nationalism that is hostile to Scottish devolution.

 

Read the full report: How Brexit has created a new divide in the nationalist movement

 

Key findings

Although the level of support in Scotland for independence has not increased in the wake of Brexit, support for the idea has become more closely linked to having a favourable view of the EU.

  • 46% now say that the Scottish Parliament should make all decisions for Scotland, compared with 51% in 2015.
  • In 2015 the level of support for independence among ‘Europhiles’ (39%) was similar to that among ‘Eurosceptics’ (41%).
  • Now, however, support for independence is higher among ‘Europhiles’ (56%) than among ‘Eurosceptics’ (40%)

Support for the SNP fell more heavily among those who are sceptical about the EU than it did among those who take a more favourable view of the EU.

  • Support for the SNP fell substantially between 2015 and 2017 among ‘Eurosceptics’ (15 points), while remaining relatively steady among ‘Europhiles’ (2-point fall).
  • Conversely, the Conservatives registered a considerable increase in support among ‘Eurosceptics’ (14 points), while there was much less of a change among ‘Europhiles’ (4-point increase).
  • The impact of Brexit on how people voted helps explain why only 72% of those who support independence voted for the SNP in 2017, down from 84% in 2015.

The tendency of those with a strong sense of English identity to vote Leave in the EU referendum does not signal a wider English nationalism that is unsympathetic to Scottish devolution.

  • At 23%, the proportion of people in England who now say they are more English than they are British is no higher than the 26% who expressed that view four years ago.
  • 55% of people in England support Scottish devolution, unchanged from 20 years ago.

How Brexit has created a new divide in the nationalist movement

 

 

 

 

Read the full report: How Brexit has created a new divide in the nationalist movement