STANDS Scotland where it did? Definitely not. Six years on from the 2014 referendum there is now a sustained majority in favour of Scottish independence. Seven polls in a row have shown the 55%-45% result from 2014 for No would be reversed. Supporters of independence are watching the changes closely to work out how to continue the trend.

My polling and research organisation Progress Scotland has been looking closely at open-minded and undecided voters to better understand what has been moving people from No to Yes. It has also been collecting the testimonials of people who have made the switch or are thinking about it.

At this stage, six years on from indyref, it is worth reviewing what has actually changed. On September 18, 2014, a majority of 383,937 secured a 55%-45% vote against independence. Large-scale academic analysis for the Scottish Referendum Study gives some of the most detailed insights into how society in Scotland voted. According to three waves of survey fieldwork, it was established that women voted by 57%-43% against independence, while men voted 53%-47% for Yes.

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According to the research, the majority of voters younger than 50 voted Yes, with highest support amongst 16 to 19-year-olds at 62%. Voters older than 50 voted No, with highest support for among those aged 70 and over at 66%.

While working-class voters backed independence by 54%-46% middle-class voters were largely not persuaded, with a 58%-42% result for No. Meanwhile, voters born in Scotland cast their ballots 53%-47% for Yes while those born elsewhere in the UK voted No by 72%-28%.

Since 2014, opinions have clearly not been static, and polls have shown a gradual rise in support for independence. This could be in significant part because of the underlying change in the electorate, with roughly 55,000 predominantly Yes supporting 16-year-olds joining the electorate and 55,000 predominantly No supporting older voters passing away every year.

Since 2014, this has added around 330,000 voters to the electorate, with a likely net gain of over 100,000 for independence.

Recent polls with a pro-independence lead have a majority among both men and women, across the social classes and with all but the oldest group of voters.

Meanwhile, the Brexit referendum result has been the biggest single policy reason for people changing their minds from No to Yes. Extensive opinion polling and focus group analysis commissioned by Progress Scotland has demonstrated the impact on many voters. Among the 62% of the electorate that voted Remain in the Brexit referendum, more than 60% would vote Yes to independence. More recently, the issue of the coronavirus pandemic and its handling by the Scottish and UK governments and the difference between Nicola Sturgeon and Boris Johnson has also been making an impact on public opinion.

In recent days, leading pollster John Curtice said: “Certainly there has been a further increase in support for independence since coronavirus kicked in, and that is why we are now at an average of around 53-47. The reason why that doesn’t appear to be to do with Brexit is because now the rise in support for independence has occurred among Leave voters as well as Remain voters.”

Speaking to the Courier newspaper, he said: “Coronavirus is the biggest public policy issue in 21 years of devolution. Forget free university tuition, forget free personal care and all these things that were thought of as iconic to devolution.

“Devolution has never mattered more than it has done with coronavirus because, of course, it’s been the Scottish Government that’s been responsible for running the health service and, crucially, dealing with all the public health crises which have controlled, changed and restructured people’s lives.”

In the days ahead, Progress Scotland will be putting another large-scale survey into the field. As with our previous polls, we are focused on the open-minded and undecided on independence.

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With plenty of other organisations and media outlets polling on the Yes/No question, we concentrate on the opinions of the 20% of the electorate who have told us that they are prepared to consider either Yes or No. They are the people who Scottish independence supporters need to reach and convince.

It is too early to know what the results of the survey work will be, but we will be asking the key questions about what is at the forefront of their minds. It has been noticeable in recent days how many people have been prepared to share their change of mind about Scottish independence.

Even just a cursory look at the social media shows a wide range of people, including well-known figures such as Ewan McGregor, explaining why they have changed their minds about independence.

We should remember to warmly welcome all those who have recently been convinced. They will be the most persuasive advocates for those not yet there yet.

Six years on from indyref the momentum is with the independence movement. Let’s focus our work on helping even more people to vote Yes in indyref2.