Support for Welsh independence is at a record high according to latest polling.

A poll carried out by Savanta ComRes for ITV shows support is currently at 39%, when removing ‘don’t know’ answers.

The ‘State of the Union’ poll also shows 53% of Scottish people would vote to leave the UK, while 43% of people in Northern Ireland would vote to unify with the Republic of Ireland.

The results also found the leading reasons for supporting Welsh independence include different social attitudes, the fact Wales is a historically separate nation and dissatisfaction with the UK’s response to the pandemic.

The figures are a significant increase on previous polling results on independence.

Earlier this week, polls by Wales Online and BBC found support for independence was at 25% and 14% respectively.

The BBC’s poll also found support for abolishing the Welsh Parliament sat at 15%.

Responding to the latest poll by ITV, YesCymru chair Sion Jobbins said: "This poll showing the highest levels of support ever recorded for an independent Wales is a major step forward for YesCymru.

"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.

"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."

While acknowledging that support for independence has grown over the last five years, Cardiff University’s Professor Roger Awan-Scully told The National the rise is not as dramatic as the latest poll suggests.

“There has definitely been a rise in support for Welsh independence over the last five years, no matter what poll or what form of question is being asked," he said.

“The rise in support is not as dramatic as some people would like to believe, but it currently sits around the level of support for independence seen in Scotland two years before the Scottish independence referendum.”

How has support for independence changed?

The National Wales:

In polls where people have been asked ‘Should Wales be an independent country?’ the percentage of people responding yes has increased from around 10% in 2013 to around 25% between August 2020 and February 2021.

Today’s poll shows 39% support for independence after answers responding ‘don’t know’ are removed. Without removing them, the figure is closer to 35%, which is still high.

In polls where people are asked whether they support independence against a range of other options such as more devolved powers or abolishing the Senedd completely, the percentage of people supporting independence has increased from 5% in February 2014 to 14% in February 2021.  

Polling methods and removing ‘don’t knows’

Criticism of polling on independence often points to the fact many results are interpreted after removing answers that respond ‘don’t know’.

Professor Awan-Scully said ‘don’t knows’ are an important part of the picture: “A lot of people are saying ‘don’t know’, and that may be because it is not something they have a clear fixed view on.

“In the context of an independence referendum, which may not happen any time soon, it is perfectly legitimate to talk about the balance of people who have a view.

“It is also important to talk about the people who don’t have a view.

“When we talk about people who don’t have a view, they are people who are potentially up for grabs as perhaps they are not totally against the idea.”

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Wales’ future within the United Kingdom is expected to play a significant part in this year’s Senedd Election.

Plaid Cymru has committed to a referendum on independence within the next Senedd term, while Mark Drakeford has called for more devolved powers and ‘Home Rule’ for Wales.

The Welsh Conservatives have criticised talk of more powers for the Senedd, while leader Andrew RT Davies has said he has ‘never been anti-devolution’.

Some polls have suggested Abolish the Welsh Assembly Party may gain as many as five Senedd seats following the election on May 6.