IN the aftermath of last week’s UK Supreme Court decision that the Scottish Government cannot legislate for an independence referendum without a Section 30 transfer of power from Westminster, speculation about the impact of that decision on support for Scottish independence has been rife.

On the night of the decision, Channel 4 published a poll by Find Out Now in which half of Scots said that they would vote for the SNP if it could mean Scotland becoming an independent country. That jarred with pre-decision polling on a de facto referendum, as I wrote in The National a week ago, but put some wind in the sails of the independence movement.

But we have now had our first proper independence voting intention poll since the Supreme Court’s decision, courtesy of Redfield & Wilton.

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That poll will be similarly encouraging for independence supporters, with 49% of likely voters saying they would vote Yes in a referendum were one held tomorrow, and 45% that they would vote No.

Unfortunately, the last time Redfield & Wilton asked that question was in September 2021. I needn’t remind you of what has happened since then, except to say that we are on our third prime minister. As a result of the large gap in time between the polls, the shifts – Yes up five points, No down two points – cannot be ascribed to any given event in that period.

So, we don’t know if the Supreme Court decision has shifted support for independence. Remember that the last poll before the decision, from Ipsos UK, had Yes on 50% and No on 43%. A Panelbase poll before that had Yes on 46% and No on 49%. The jury is very much still out, and we may not have a good answer until several more polls are released.

On the de facto referendum front, this was the first post-Supreme Court poll with Scotland-only Westminster voting intention. The SNP led the pack at 41%, followed by Labour (31%), the Conservatives (16%), the LibDems (8%), and the Greens (2%).

This was Redfield & Wilton’s first-ever Scottish Westminster voting intention poll, so we have no recent figures to compare to. The SNP vote share is slightly lower than in the glut of post-Truss polling we had in October, and the “other parties” column is slightly higher, but otherwise, the numbers are similar. It isn’t possible to know if there is a slight “house effect” yet but further polling will help us to make that determination.

What is clear, however, is that at this early-stage independence support among Scottish voters does not necessarily translate to support for the SNP in the next General Election. Around one-eighth of independence supporters would vote for a party other than the SNP and the Scottish Greens.

What is clear, however, is that support for holding a referendum has grown significantly – this is the first post-2014 poll in which more Scots support holding a referendum in the next year than oppose doing so.

46% told Redfield & Wilton that they support holding a referendum within the next year, up from 34% in September 2021, and 43% said that they would oppose such a move, down from 50% a year ago.

Unionist voices will rightly point out that there remains no majority for another referendum and that the two camps are within the margin of error. But it is undeniable that the pendulum has swung and the next time the claim that Scots don’t want a referendum is made, pro-independence politicians will be able to point to this poll.

This poll was a mixed bag for the Scottish independence movement. It is not clear where independence support is going, and there is some way to go for the SNP if they are to clear the very high bar of 50% of the Scottish vote in a General Election – a feat never achieved by a single party.

But there are some encouraging signs for those who hoped that last week’s decision would help to mobilise a pro-independence shift. With more polling in the coming weeks, we should have a clearer picture of where Scotland, and the independence movement, stand.