The National:

EVERY poll comes with caveats, the inevitable consequence of a difficult exercise that comes with uncertainty baked in. But rarely does it need to be said that a poll is no replacement for the results of a democratic election.

On the back of today’s poll, Scotland in Union’s Pamela Nash has claimed that voters oppose the Scottish Government’s plans to hold a referendum before the end of 2023.

Never mind the 72 MSPs elected on pro-independence platforms, the largest pro-independence majority in the history of the Scottish Parliament. Never mind the majority of voters who voted for pro-independence parties. A forced-choice poll allows Scotland in Union to claim that Scots don’t want that referendum, and for them that is enough.

But as politicians are fond of saying, there’s only one poll that matters – and the Scottish Parliament election delivered a clear mandate for a second independence referendum.

And it’s not like public opinion has changed since then. In the run up to the election, successive Panelbase polls showed around 46% of Scots didn’t want a referendum in this Parliamentary term at all. The 52% that Scotland in Union found opposing a referendum in the next two years is not substantively different.

Scotland in Union also claim that their poll shows most Scots oppose independence. Removing "don’t knows", they found that 57% of Scots would vote to "Remain" in the United Kingdom, versus 43% who would vote to "Leave".

Much like their last poll in March 2021, which also claimed to show that 57% of Scots would vote to "Remain", this poll tells us very little about actual support for independence. The Leave/Remain question that Scotland in Union use has never tracked the Yes/No question used in the 2014 independence referendum, which we know measures pro- and anti-independence sentiment.

READ MORE: What you need to know about the Autumn of Indy Action

When every other poll was showing support for independence reaching new highs in late 2020, Scotland in Union’s still had pro-independence support below 40% - the same level it had been in every poll they had commissioned since 2016.

Even taking the poll at face value, it indicates no change from the pre-election political landscape, much like the Yes/No polling since then which has put Yes and No well within margin of error of each other.

Opposition to holding a referendum will only continue to ramp up as the Scottish Government works through the preparations for one, and no doubt polling will continue to play a role in efforts to generate a sense of momentum against a referendum.

The National: Alister Jack

With the Secretary of State for Scotland, Alister Jack (above), claiming another referendum should only be held if polls show 60% support for independence, polling like Scotland in Union’s will be increasingly deployed to make the very argument Pamela Nash made in this morning’s papers.

But while polls can tell us a great deal about public opinion and attitudes, they cannot represent the will of the people. For that we hold elections, and the Scottish Parliament election resulted in a majority in favour of a second referendum on independence – no poll changes that fundamental political fact.

It’s time to stop arguing over whether we should hold a vote on our constitutional future and start making the arguments for what that future ought to be.