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Poll shows highest support for Welsh independence ever recorded

03 Mar 2021 5 minute read
Lluniau gan / Pictures by Lluniau Lleucu

An ITV poll has shown the highest support for independence ever recorded with 39% of Welsh people saying they would now vote ‘yes’ in a referendum.

The poll in collaboration with Savanta ComRes is for a special programme UK: The End of the Union? which will air tonight, 4 March at 7:30pm.

Excluding don’t know answers, 39% said they would vote ‘Yes’ if a referendum was held tomorrow. This outstrips the previous high of 32% in a YouGov poll in August 2020.

Almost a quarter of Welsh respondents also told ComRes Wales would be more likely to become independent if Scotland did first.

YesCymru Chair Siôn Jobbins said the poll was “a major step forward” for the movement.

“Although individual polls may go up and down the overall trend shows that more and more people are coming to the conclusion that the people of Wales are best placed to manage their own affairs like every other country,” he said.

“If countries like Ireland and Denmark can be independent, then why not Wales? YesCymru aims to build a fairer and better Wales for all who call Wales home.”

Plaid Cymru leader Adam Price also responded to the poll, saying: “This confirms the growing view that the Union is failing all parts of the UK beyond the Westminster bubble.

“Decisions affecting Wales should be made in Wales, this is a simple matter of democracy to which the Tories and Labour are opposed.

“For everyone who wants to see Wales become a fairer, greener and more prosperous nation, there is only one credible option on the ballot paper on May 6th. Only a Plaid Cymru government can deliver a referendum on Welsh independence which more and more people want to see.”

A spokesperson for Labour for IndyWales said: “That nearly 2 in 5 people would vote for independence tomorrow demonstrates both the growing discontent in the way the state is organised, and the increasing belief that there is a better way to build the Wales we want to see.

“The Labour Party has a duty to actively listen to this groundswell of popular opinion and to seriously consider how best we achieve a socialist Wales. Through engaging with the movement as it is, rather than how they imagine it to be, our party will find it has potentially more in common with the 39% than it may think.”


The top reasons why people would vote for independence, according to those who said they would vote Yes, were:

  • Feel that Wales has different social attitudes to the UK (53%)
  • Feel that Wales is a historically separate nation (51%)
  • Believe Wales will fare better if independent (46%)
  • Unhappy with the UK’s pandemic response (39%)
  • Greater trust in the Senedd than Westminster (36%)

The top reservations that Yes voters held, if any, were:

  • The economy (46% of Yes voters)
  • Ability to travel and work freely in other UK nations / Employment prospects (both 32%)
  • Possibility of a lower standard of living (29%)

The top reasons why people would vote against independence, according to those who said they would vote No, were:

  • A feeling that Wales was stronger in the United Kingdom (79%)
  • Belief that Wales is an important part of the UK (60%)
  • Believe Wales will fare better economically in UK (50%)
  • Possibility of a lower standard of living (35%)

The poll also showed that if an EU referendum was called tomorrow, a majority of Welsh citizens would vote to rejoin.

In response to the findings, a UK Government spokesperson said: “The United Kingdom is the most successful political and economic union the world has ever seen, and this pandemic and our collective response, from the furlough scheme to vaccine procurement and the backing of our military personnel, has shown that we are at our strongest when we work together towards a common goal.

“The Prime Minister remains fully committed to strengthening and levelling up all parts of the country by empowering local communities and reforming central government. He has been clear that all parts of the UK are stronger together and he will always stand against those trying to separate the United Kingdom.

“Now more than ever, people want to see the UK Government and the devolved administrations working together to protect lives and livelihoods across our country”.

Savanta ComRes interviewed 1,003 Welsh adults aged 16+ online from 18-22 February 2021. Data was weighted to be representative of Welsh adults by age, gender, region and 2016 vote.

Scotland and Ireland

The poll was also the 23rd to indicate majority support for independence in Scotland.

Excluding don’t know answers, a majority of 53% of Scottish citizens would vote to leave the UK if an independence referendum was called tomorrow. 47% would vote to stay in the UK.

In Northern Ireland, if a border poll was held tomorrow, 57% would vote to stay in the UK, 43% would reunify with Ireland.

Overall, English adults oppose all models of English devolution at a higher rate than they support them, with opposition fiercest to regional independence (49%), and national independence (46%).

English respondents were more likely synonymise English identity with British identity than respondents in the other nations.

Over a third of older English adults would not care at all in the event of Scottish Independence, significantly more than their younger counterparts (55+: 36%, 35-54: 29%, 18-34: 23%).

Around two in five English 2019 Conservative voters (40%) and 2016 Leave voters (44%) would not care at all in the event of Scottish Independence, as opposed to just a quarter of their Labour (26%) and Remain (25%) counterparts.

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