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Scottish election: how Brexit and independence referendums split voters into four tribes

By Fraser McMillan, Research Associate (Politics), University of Glasgow
Ailsa Henderson, Head of Politics and International Relations, University of Edinburgh
Jac Larner, Lecturer, Politics, Cardiff University, Cardiff University
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The previous Scottish parliament election, in 2016, came less than two years after the country’s historic referendum on independence from the rest of the United Kingdom. That contest – a Pyrrhic victory for the pro-union side – reshaped Scottish politics. The party system consolidated around voters’ constitutional preferences, and the ruling Scottish National Party’s hold on pro-independence voters led it to a strong victory in 2016, even as it lost some of its 2011 supporters.

A quick look at opinion polls…

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