TWO-thirds of Scots believe independence will eventually happen, and only around one in five believe the country will always remain part of the UK, a new poll has found.

The survey, conducted for think tank British Future, found that despite the No result of last September's referendum, almost half (48%) of Scots believe independence will happen in 10 years. Another 18% believe it will occur within 50 years, while just 17% said they think it will never happen.

Nearly half of English voters polled also believe Scotland will gain independence, with just 28% saying it will never happen.

The report notes that the idea the referendum was a once-in-lifetime vote seems "rather less likely now, given the way in which the Scottish National Party have turned the disappointment of the referendum result into a nationalist surge".

When the question of ­independence will be put again could, it suggests, become "one of the big political questions during the second half of 2015".

Sunder Katwala, director of British Future, which describes itself as independent and non-partisan, said of the report's findings on ­independence: "People were able to see that it could happen and very few people can't imagine it now.

"But the No side might be somewhat encouraged that the percentage who can see ­independence happening in 10 years' time remains so close to the referendum result itself.

"At the moment the SNP is ­obviously very keen to do ­everything it can with its impressive ­momentum. But there is caution I think within the party leadership and among strategists about how soon would it be sensible to have another go [at independence].

"I think there will be a big debate this autumn, before the next ­Scottish elections, as to whether there is a genuinely good shot at using the momentum to get to independence - or whether what is needed is a more gradual approach."

The survey, which canvassed views on political issues across the UK, also highlighted the "uphill challenge" faced by new Scottish Labour leader Jim Murphy, who was elected after the poll was carried out in late November.

Some 33% of Scots think the SNP will be part of the next UK government. Just under one-third of Scots (29%) said they would like Labour to govern, while 37% said they would prefer that the party was not in power. Just under one-quarter (23%) said they did not mind.

More than half of survey participants in Scotland said they wanted the Conservatives and the Liberal Democrats to leave office.

The survey also found that one in three Scots (33%) said they would never vote SNP - compared with 41% who would never vote Labour. For the Greens it was 53% and for Conservatives it was 64%.

Ukip recorded the highest percentage of "never" voters at 67% but Coalition party the Liberal Democrats were only slightly behind at 66%.

The report described the figure of only one in three Scots saying they would never vote for the SNP as a "remarkable achievement for a party that recently sought to dissolve the United Kingdom".

It added: "This suggests the SNP's current Scottish political ­ascendancy is not simply about having a strong appeal for those who want independence and the limited competition for that 45% of the electorate.

"Despite 55% of people ­rejecting independence, the party can also seek to appeal for the votes of a significant tranche of those who disagree with it on independence, in Holyrood and perhaps increasingly now for seats in Westminster too."

However, the report also noted that the election outcome in 2015 will depend on the SNP convincing the electorate that it is the party which will do most to stand up for Scottish interests at Westminster, against Labour successfully making the case to voters that it is the only party capable of changing the UK Government.

The State of the Nation results also found that, across the UK, most people think a Conservative-led government is more likely than a Labour-led one. But it noted that this year's General Election is the most open contest in 40 years. Across the UK as a whole, no party had more than 17% of respondents saying they will definitely vote for them.

Katwala said: "The parties know they are struggling to get a hearing and that a large part of the ­electorate are quite unimpressed.

"So they have all decided they will just focus on one issue - for ­example for Labour, it is the NHS, for the Tories it is the economy, and for Ukip it is immigration.

"The parties have clearly worked out how they will get some of their supporters to turn up and vote, but none of them are showing much ability or interest in engaging with those who are interested in other issues, or sceptical of that party."

He added: "It doesn't feel to me that the three months of just exactly the same messages we have already heard in recent weeks is going to shift many votes in any direction."

Will Scotland be an independent country?


In 10 years: 48%

In 50 years: 18%

Never: 17%

Don't know: 16%


In 10 years: 24%

In 50 years: 20%

Never: 28%

Don't know: 28%


In 10 years: 21%

In 50 years: 20%

Never: 33%

Don't know: 27%

Which party do you think you will vote for in the 2015 General Election (UK-wide results)?

I will definitely be voting for this party:

Conservatives: 16

Labour: 17




Green: 3

Plaid Cymru: 1

Other: 1

The top issues that will most influence how you vote in the 2015 General Election (UK-wide)/% who selected issue

Best policies on NHS: 52

Best policies on immigration: 47

Best policies on the economy: 46

Best policies on pensions and benefits: 33

Best policies on Europe: 32

Best policies on living standards: 29

Best policies on poverty and inequality: 26

Best policies on taxation: 26

Their world view is closest to mine: 24

Best policies on crime and law and order: 24

Best policies on unemployment: 23

Best policies on education: 19

Do you agree or disagree with the statement: Britain has a proud record of protecting refugees and as parties debate immigration in the 2015 election, they should all agree to uphold that tradition (UK-wide)

Strongly agree: 16%

Tend to agree: 29%

Neither agree nor disagree: 25%

Tend to disagree: 13%

Strongly disagree: 10%

Don't know: 6%

Who do you think will be Prime Minister after the 2015 General Election (UK-wide results)?

David Cameron: 35%

Ed Miliband: 21%

Nick Clegg: 1%

Nigel Farage: 6%

Boris Johnson: 3%

Yvette Cooper: 1%

Don't know: 30%

How certain is it that you will vote in the 2015 General Election (UK-wide)?

Certain to vote: 60%

Possible voters: 24%

Unlikely to vote: 8%

Certain not to vote: 4%

Don't know: 3%

Will the SNP will be part of the next government?

Scotland: 33%

England: 6%

Wales: 5%

GB total: 9%

Who could the Scots vote for in 2015?


Definitely vote for: 34%

Plan to vote for: 8%

Could vote for: 19%

Never vote for: 33%


Definitely vote for: 13%

Plan to vote for: 9%

Could vote for: 32%

Never vote for: 41%


Definitely vote for: 8%

Plan to vote for: 6%

Could vote for: 17%

Never vote for: 64%


Definitely vote for: 2%

Plan to vote for: 3%

Could vote for: 24%

Never vote for: 66%


Definitely vote for: 4%

Plan to vote for: 4%

Could vote for: 19%

Never vote for: 67%


Definitely vote for: 2%

Plan to vote for: 7%

Could vote for: 34%

Never vote for: 53%