Press release

Scottish independence - Alba alone

Thursday 13 February 2014

A UK wide poll of 9,685 people aged 50 and over, has showed that the majority of Britons (56 per cent) want the United Kingdom to remain united and oppose Scottish independence. However, 27 per cent are not bothered one way or the other leaving just 17 per cent supporting an independent Scotland.


Campaigning in Scotland is clearly having an effect with 31 per cent of Scots saying that their opinion has been changed over the last year with 20% saying they were now more pro-independence and 12 per cent were now more opposed to breaking up the United Kingdom.


Women appear to be less sure as a third had no opinion compared to a quarter of men. 


Opposition to independence grows with age with just 47 per cent of 50-59 year olds opposing independence compared with 78 per cent of those aged 80-89.


Support for independence varies by region. Unsurprisingly, there are more committed opinions north of the border with a third of Scottish people over 50 supporting independence - and 61 per cent opposing, only 6% said they had no opinion.


The strongest support in the English regions for a free Scotland was amongst people from the West Midlands and Yorkshire - with 18 per cent of their residents urging Alba to go it alone.  There appears to be little Celtic comradeship at play as only 15 per cent of the Welsh said they supported Scottish independence - a figure only lower in the North West and Northern Ireland (14 per cent each).


Social class plays a strong part in how you view the Union.  The strongest Unionist opinion is amongst social class AB - 62 per cent, falling to 52 per cent for the C1s, 43 per cent for C2s and DEs feeling least tied to the Union with just  36 per cent opposing Scottish independence. Whilst 20% of Abs said they had no opinion this grew to 38% of DEs.


When asked if Scotland voted for independence in September, should Scottish MPs then be able to vote on English, Welsh and Northern Ireland matters in the remainder of this Parliament, the vast majority (82 per cent) said they should not. This view was even supported by a majority of Scots (59 per cent).  If that were the case then the state of the parties on non-Scottish matters would be:  302 Conservatives; 216 Labour; 45 Liberal Democrats; and, 25 others.  This would mean the Conservatives would have an overall majority.


Asked if Scotland votes for independence in September 2014 should Scotland be able to elect MPs in the 2015 General Election even if full independence had not been implemented just 18 per cent thought they should ranging from 13 per cent in the South West  to 45 per cent of Scots.


Tim Pethick, Saga’s strategy director commented:


“There is still all to play for before September’s Scottish referendum.  The debate is changing minds and the gap is narrowing.  As older voters are much more likely to enter the polling booths, much could depend on the propensity for older people in Scotland to cast their votes.”





Populus interviewed 9,685 Saga customers, all aged 50+, online between 17 and 24 January 2014. Populus is a member of the British Polling Council and abides by its rules; for more information see