Scotland is even odds to choose independence at any future referendum after polling again showed a majority would vote in favour of leaving the UK.
The Scottish National Party is also on course for an emphatic victory at next year’s Scottish elections on 6 May, according to polling this weekend.
The SNP are 20 points ahead of their nearest rivals, the Conservatives, and it is believed first minister Nicola Sturgeon would take a decisive victory as her cue to call for another referendum.
The problem for the SNP, however, will be getting the UK government in Westminster to grant a referendum. Boris Johnson has argued that the matter was settled at the last referendum in 2014 and has so far ruled out another vote. That’s why, on the Exchange, ‘no referendum before 2025’ is [1.91] (a 52% chance).
If there is a referendum before then the market makes 2022 [4.3] the most likely year – possibly in the 12 months following next May’s Scottish elections.
In 2014 Scots voted no to independence by 55 to 45%. Polls have shown that, in general, support for independence has been increasing since the UK voted to leave the European Union in 2016. Scotland voted 62% to Remain and Sturgeon has said the country is being dragged out of the EU against its will.
She also claimed that the UK government’s controversial internal market bill was a power grab that would leave Scotland with less control over its future.
This week a survey by pro-independence campaign group Progress Scotland found that 19% of No voters from 2014 now say they do not know how they would vote in another referendum, while 13% would back independence.
Honours even after conference season
At the end of party conference season the Conservatives are [3.25] to win a majority at the next general election, with no over all majority [2.14] the favourite.
Virtual party conference season reached its conclusion this week after Boris Johnson told the Conservatives to be ready to rebuild Britain after the pandemic.
Johnson went to the conference knowing his popularity with Tory members was at a record low (link). His speech lacked substance but this weekend’s polls show his party making small gains.
Opinium’s latest, which was conducted on Thursday and Friday, puts the Conservatives level with Labour on 40 points each (the opposition were ahead by three a fortnight ago), although 33% say they’d back Keir Starmer for prime minister and Johnson gets only 32. More people disapprove than approve of the way Johnson has handled the pandemic.
Despite the Tories’ poor polling, which has shown them lose support steadily over the past six months, they are [1.83] to win the most seats next time Britain goes to the polls. Johnson is [2.38] to still be leader in 2024 – the year when the next election is scheduled to take place.
Ardern heavy-odds on to be re-elected in New Zealand
Jacinda Ardern’s Labour Party are a shoo-in to win New Zealand’s general election next week, according to the polling and the betting. Ardern, who has been her country’s prime minister since 2017, is wildly popular with an approval rating consistently clocking in at more than 50%.
Labour [1.04] are riding high in the polls too, with leads of around 15 points over their opposition National Party [21.0] which is lead by Judith Collins.
That could mean Labour have an outside chance of winning a majority next weekend – an outcome that is [2.18] on the Exchange.
Majority governments are rare in New Zealand due to the mixed-member proportional election system, which is designed to install coalition governments.Ardern’s popularity, however, could mean Labour get to form one.
She has been praised at home and abroad for her handling of the pandemic, with New Zealand recording few casualties. Ardern is taking nothing for granted, however, and will tour the country until election day to shore up support.