London, Jan 3: Almost two thirds of people in Scotland oppose holding another independence referendum in 2017, a poll revealed on Monday. The Scottish government, led by First Minister Nicola Sturgeon, is currently consulting on a draft referendum bill after Britain as a whole voted to leave the European Union by a margin of 52-48.
In contrast the people of Scotland voted 62-38 in favour of staying in the EU, Xinhua news agency reported.
Sturgeon backs the idea of a Scottish Independence vote if a Brexit deal negotiated by Prime Minister Theresa May's government is unacceptable to Scotland.
An exclusive poll by research company BMG for Scotland's Herald newspaper showed that, when "don't knows" are excluded, more than six in 10 Scots, 61.5 per cent to 38.5 per cent, said they were against a new independence vote in 2017.
Even when the "don't knows" are removed altogether the poll revealed support for Scotland leaving Britain was 45.5 per cent, virtually the same result of the first independence referendum in 2014. In that vote the majority 54.5 per cent voting stay, meant that Scotland continued as part of Britain.
Sturgeon's Scottish Nationalist Party (SNP) responded to the new poll, saying its focus is to protect Scots from the impact of a hard Brexit.
"Given that Scotland has gone to the polls on no less than five occasions in the past two-and-a-half years it is perhaps unsurprising that our latest poll shows a clear majority of Scots are against another independence referendum being held within the next year," Michael Turner, head of polling at BMG Research, said.
He said the results showed Scotland remains as divided as it has been in recent years, with support for independence strongest among the young.
Just over 50 per cent of those aged between 16 and 34 favour compared to just 25 per cent, of independence supporters aged 65.
Labour's shadow Scottish Secretary Dave Anderson said the EU referendum result should not be used as a mandate for another referendum on Scottish independence.
The Scottish Conservative's John Lamont said the poll results were another clear message to the SNP to ditch its plans for another referendum.
"The decision was made in 2014, and the public has no appetite to revisit it," he said.