RESEARCH has proved that Andy Murray is considered Scottish rather then British south of the border – even when winning gold at the Olympics.
Surveys by respected polling firm YouGov over the past five years established that Murray was only ever considered British in England when he won Wimbledon.
The firm says his decision two years ago to back independence for Scotland has now made him firmly Scottish rather than British in the eyes of the English.
YouGov, who normally poll Britons on the outcome of elections, have been questioning a panel of almost 2,000 UK adults since 2011 about their perceptions of Murray’s nationality.
Some 1,820 UK adults were asked: “Thinking of Andy Murray, do you think of him as a Scottish sportsman or a British sportsman?”
The man from Dunblane, Stirling, reached peak ‘Scottishness’ in February 2011, when he lost the Australian Open to rival, Novak Djokovic, with the 29% who felt he was British dwarfed by the 59% who said he was Scottish.
Even after riding the wave of British euphoria felt in the summer of 2012 to win gold at the London Olympics, Murray was still seen as Scot, however the gap had closed to just 7%, with 42% of the UK public viewing him as British.
The only time he was more British than Scottish, was after he became the first British man in 77 years to win Wimbledon but even then it was tight, with the 45% voting British to the 44% who still deemed him Scottish.
But there was a huge swing towards his ‘Scottishness’ after he declared support for the ‘Yes’ campaign in September 2014.
An overwhelming 57% of UK adults said he was Scottish and just 33% British.
The average difference over the 16 polls carried out has been 54% “Scottish”, 34% “British” and 12% “don’t know”.
A spokesman for YouGov said: “YouGov have been tracking the public’s view on Murray’s nationality since his loss to Djokovic at the Australian Open in 2011.
“For the majority of this period the public has tended to think of him as Scottish, however the tendency to view him as British spikes at times when he is most successful.
“The only time he has been seen as more British than Scottish was straight after he won Wimbledon in 2013, having started the tournament firmly being Scottish in the eyes of the public.
He continued: “Following his declaration for the “Yes” campaign in 2014, his Scottishness shot up in the eyes of the public.
“Our latest poll shows there has been a slight swing back, although a majority of the public still think of him as Scottish.”
The most recent poll shows a possible Brexit bounce for Murray’s Scottishness north of the border. Of the 167 Scots in the YouGov poll, 79% of viewed him as Scottish and just 15% thought of him as being British.
Murray’s hopes of adding a second Wimbledon crown to his collection have been boosted by Novak Djokovic being knocked out in the third round.
After beating Frenchman, Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, in a five set epic yesterday evening, he will face Tomas Berdych, of the Czech Republic, for a place in Sunday’s final.
Last year, Stirling University student, Ben Dickson, carried out a study of 200 Murray match reports which dispelled the myth that sports writers described him as British when he won and Scottish when he lost.