It has been a long, hot sum­mer of po­lit­i­cal de­bate and dis­cord, three months of claim, counter-claim, and argy-bargy about Brexit, in­de­pen­dence, and Theresa May’s danc­ing. So how many vot­ers changed their mind, how many have been swayed by the in­ces­sant s

The Sunday Post (Newcastle) - - NEWS - By An­drew Picken APICKEN@SUN­DAY­POST.COM

Vot­ers’ opin­ion about Brexit and Scot­tish in­de­pen­dence is stuck fast de­spite months of heated de­bate, an opin­ion poll sug­gests to­day. Scots’ views on leaving the EU and break­ing up the Union have not shifted in three months, ac­cord­ing to our exclusive poll. On Brexit, 66% of Scots would still vote Re­main while on Scot­tish in­de­pen­dence, the Yes/ No split has not moved since our polling com­pany last asked the ques­tion in July, with 53% op­pos­ing in­de­pen­dence. Ex­perts yes­ter­day said the stale­mate could be down to many vot­ers switch­ing off from the po­lit­i­cal de­bate as the Brexit ne­go­ti­a­tions drag on, the im­pli­ca­tions of any or no deal re­main un­clear, and calls con­tinue for an­other ref­er­en­dum. Prime Min­is­ter Theresa May, who emerged un­scathed from her party’s con­fer­ence when she danced on stage to Abba, got some more good news yes­ter­day when EU lead­ers sug­gested a deal was inch­ing closer. Else­where, the poll shows just one in four Scots have any con­fi­dence that the UK Govern­ment can se­cure the best Brexit deal, while 49% back a sec­ond ref­er­en­dum on the terms of any set­tle­ment se­cured with the EU. Andy Maciver, di­rec­tor of po­lit­i­cal and me­dia con­sul­tancy, Mes­sage Mat­ters, said: “De­spite all the cam­paign­ing on all sides, and the re­lent­less me­dia cov­er­age, Scots are not al­ter­ing their view in any sig­nif­i­cant num­bers on the two big is­sues of in­de­pen­dence or Brexit. “Peo­ple are tend­ing not to al­ter their view be­cause politi­cians on all sides have dis­cred­ited them­selves with out­landish pre­dic­tions of dire con­se­quences of a par­tic­u­lar course of ac­tion. “Peo­ple sim­ply don’t be­lieve them any­more. “The SNP has a strate­gic quandary – it has the par­lia­men­tary strength now to jus­tify an­other ref­er­en­dum, but sup­port for Yes is flatlin­ing. “To change ei­ther Brexit or in­de­pen­dence num­bers in any mean­ing­ful way prob­a­bly re­quires a sil­ver bul­let, and the like­li­hood is that the sil­ver bul­let is a chaotic Brexit.” Polling ex­pert Sir John Cur­tice said our poll of 1,036 Scots was con­sis­tent with UK-wide polling which showed lit­tle sig­nif­i­cant move­ment in sup­port for Leave or Re­main since the 2016 EU ref­er­en­dum.

He said: “Peo­ple are pes­simistic about the con­se­quences of Brexit but they blame the politi­cians – ei­ther the UK Govern­ment and or the EU – not their orig­i­nal choice in 2016. The fun­da­men­tals are viewed through a par­ti­san lens and cer­tainly not much will hap­pen on indyref2 un­til Brexit is sorted. Ni­cola Stur­geon is still tan­ta­lis­ingly short of ma­jor­ity back­ing for in­de­pen­dence. “More­over, there is no guar­an­tee that Brexit will even­tu­ally de­liver her a Yes ma­jor­ity. “While 16% of those who voted No in 2014 say that it makes them more likely to back in­de­pen­dence, 10% of Yes vot­ers state it has the op­po­site ef­fect.” He con­tin­ued: “Ms Stur­geon faces a Brexit para­dox. “She and most of her party may be firmly com­mit­ted to re­main­ing part of the EU, but in truth she prob­a­bly re­gards her short­est route to hold­ing and win­ning a sec­ond in­de­pen­dence ref­er­en­dum to be for the UK to leave the EU, only for the en­deav­our then to come to be re­garded as some­thing of a dis­as­ter by vot­ers.” The Sur­va­tion poll shows sup­port for the SNP at West­min­ster has in­creased, with the party on course to gain 11 seats from Labour and the Tories if there was an­other Gen­eral Elec­tion. At Holy­rood the SNP re­mains the big­gest party but seat pro­jec­tions show it would still need the sup­port of the Greens for a proin­de­pen­dence ma­jor­ity. The poll, con­ducted last week, asked what ex­tent do you have con­fi­dence in the UK Govern­ment to se­cure the best Brexit deal? Only 5% said they had a lot of con­fi­dence, while a fur­ther 20% said they had some con­fi­dence. A to­tal of 70% said they had not much or no con­fi­dence, while the rest did not know. Mean­while SNP sup­port­ers, who are gath­er­ing in Glas­gow to­day for the party’s con­fer­ence, are di­vided over the sex­ual ha­rass­ment al­le­ga­tions fac­ing Alex Salmond, our poll re­veals. Po­lice are cur­rently in­ves­ti­gat­ing com­plaints against Salmond, who is in turn tak­ing the Scot­tish Govern­ment to court over its han­dling of the al­le­ga­tions. Our poll shows 41% of SNP vot­ers are un­sure if Salmond – who de­nies any wrong­do­ing – is right to take the court ac­tion. But 46% of SNP sup­port­ers who do have view back him. Re­spon­dents were also asked how well they thought Ni­cola Stur­geon has han­dled the claims, with 29% say­ing she had han­dled it very or quite well, while 24% said very or quite badly.

The sil­ver bul­let to change views is a chaotic Brexit

PM dances on stage last week

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