As you've probably already seen, the latest release from the new Panelbase/Wings poll asks how people in Scotland would feel about border checks if that were necessary for Scotland to enjoy the same special status in relation to the EU that has been mooted for Northern Ireland.
If Northern Ireland were to be granted special status which effectively meant it remained in the EU, but saw the imposition of customs and immigration checks between it and the rest of the UK, which of these is closest to your opinion?
The same status should be granted to Scotland: 53%
The same status should NOT be granted to Scotland: 26%
I think that's quite possibly the most remarkable finding in the poll so far, and it has all sorts of interesting implications. The question is not sneakily worded in any way - it lays on the line that the border checks being talked about are the sort traditionally associated with a hard border between two sovereign states. And yet, in spite of the fact that Better Together thought their fairy tales about barbed wire fences and Trump-style walls were a major Achilles heel for Yes back in 2014, an absolute majority of respondents - even when Don't Knows are taken into account - clearly do not believe that border checks are a dealbreaker. And if they're not a dealbreaker for voters pondering an intra-UK border, it's hard to see why they would be a dealbreaker for voters thinking about a border between an independent Scotland and rUK.
In practice, of course, people are typically poor at answering hypothetical questions, and after being exposed to a second helping of Project Fear, they might well suddenly decide that border checks are quite scary after all. In a way, the dream scenario would be if Scotland did actually gain the kind of special status referred to in this poll, because it would allow people to get used to a lot of the things associated with independence before making what would be a much smaller psychological jump. That is one of the many reasons why the Tories will never allow it to happen. But this poll leaves the Tory government with another problem: if the majority were not deterred by the mention of border checks, that means they must feel very, very strongly that it would be unacceptable for Scotland not to be given any special status awarded to Northern Ireland. Can the government risk a massive public backlash in Scotland at a time like this? If not, it significantly reduces their options in resolving the impasse over Brexit.
And a final thought: if people were not deterred by border checks, that must also mean they feel very, very strongly about the benefits of "effectively remaining in the EU". That constitutes another timely warning that it could be a big strategic blunder for the SNP to water down its pro-Europeanism in pursuit of the minority of Yes voters from 2014 who want to leave the EU.
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