Open Access Journal

ISSN: 2183-2463

Article | Open Access

Valence Secession? Voting Shocks and Independence Support in Scotland

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Abstract:  National identifications, cues from political actors, and cost-benefit calculations have been pointed as the main determinants of secession preferences. However, a recent surge in independence support in Scotland suggests that abrupt political changes may also affect these preferences: Brexit and the differentiated management of the Covid-19 pandemic by the UK and the Scottish governments are named as causes of the first independence sustained majority registered by polling in Scotland. In this article, I discuss how voting shocks may affect the levels of support for independence, revise the evidence that sustains these claims, and analyse how they have changed the profile of the pro-independence voter. The effect of these questions has substantial implications for a possible second independence referendum in Scotland, as well as for the broader debate on the sources of secession support.

Keywords:  Brexit; Covid-19; pandemic; independence referendums; Scotland



© Robert Liñeira. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 license (, which permits any use, distribution, and reproduction of the work without further permission provided the original author(s) and source are credited.