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Scottish Independence Referendum

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On September 18th 2014, Scotland held a referendum on independence, and of eligible voters, 3,623,344 (84.6%) cast ballots. The No side, won the question with 2,001,926 (55.3%) of all votes voting against independence.

Long considered an unlikely event, the movement towards Scottish secession from United Kingdom picked up a big head of steam in the weeks leading up to the big vote. According to YouGov, “the ‘Yes’ campaign,” the movement pushing for an independent Scotland, managed to come out ahead in polls for the first time on September 6. Subsequent polling suggested the “No” campaign maintained a narrow lead.

The closeness of the race set the UK government scrambling to find a solution, with promises of special powers to be awarded to Scotland being touted as an ideal solution to improve representation for the region while keeping it a part of the larger country. The “Yes” movement was particularly concerned about the lack of voice enjoyed by Scotland in UK affairs and its lack of control over oil fields off the Scottish coast.

The “No” movement, on the other hand, saw secession as a blow to economic stability in the region. Some argued that independence would have simply mean trading one overreaching neighbour for an even larger one, the European Union. 

The movement to secede has long been supported by the Scottish National Party, and became a top priority when it was elected to a majority government in 2011. 

At polling stations on the day of the vote, Scots voted on the following question: “Should Scotland be an independent country?” The available answers were equally simple: “Yes” or “No.”

About the Author

John Moen is a cartographer who along with his wife are the orignal founders of worldatlas.com. He and his wife, Chris Woolwine-Moen, produced thousands of award-winning maps that are used all over the world and content that aids students, teachers, travelers and parents with their geography and map questions. Today, it's one of the most popular educational sites on the web.

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This page was last updated on June 16, 2020.