Scottish Labour overtakes Tories in opinion poll

Written by Jenni Davidson on 4 December 2017 in News

The Survation poll found the SNP was still nine points ahead of Labour in Scotland

Richard Leonard MSP - Image credit: Richard Leonard

Labour could overtake the Conservatives to become the second party in Scotland again, according to the latest opinion poll published today.

The poll by Survation for the Daily Record puts Scottish Labour on 28 per cent, up one percentage point, while the Scottish Conservatives have dropped four points to 25 per cent.

The survey of over 1,000 Scots found that support for the SNP has stayed the same as at the 2017 general election on 37 per cent overall, seven points lower than at last year’s Holyrood election.

In the constituency part of the vote, the gap between the SNP and Labour was higher, though, with the SNP on 39 per cent, Labour with 25 and the Scottish Conservatives 24 per cent.

However, the poll found support for independence was two points higher than in the 2014 referendum, with 47 per cent backing Yes and 53 per cent No.

The change of fortunes for Labour has been a trend across the UK following the June general election, where Labour finished two points behind the Tories in the final result after starting out trailing by 16 points when the election was called.

Polls have since suggested that Labour overtaken the Conservatives in popularity, with a UK-wide poll at the weekend, also by Survation, putting support for Labour eight points ahead of the Tories.

The Scottish results will be a boost for new Scottish Labour leader Richard Leonard, who is expected to follow Jeremy Corbyn’s leadership in taking the party to the left.

Scottish Labour MSP James Kelly said: “As we saw in the general election, voters are coming back to Labour.

“The SNP and the Tories offer nothing but division and despair at Holyrood and Westminster.

“Labour in contrast has inspired voters across the country with a vision of hope and real change.”

According to the Scottish poll, support in Scotland for remaining in the EU has increased to 68 per cent, compared 62 per cent and 38 per cent in the referendum last year.

The poll also found 49 per cent of those asked though the UK would not make a success of Brexit, while 33 per cent thought it would.

Kelly commented: “It is no surprise to see people in Scotland thinking the Tories will not make a success of Brexit, with Theresa May’s negotiations in Brussels lurching from bad to worse.

“This unstable and divided government is increasingly being pulled apart by hard-right Tory MPs who are determined to deliver Brexit at any price to working people.

“Labour is determined that our economic future should be at the heart of Brexit negotiations, offering businesses and workers the certainty they need that their rights and protections will not be traded away.”

However, a Scottish Conservative spokesperson said: “This poll highlights the need for a strong unionist alternative to the SNP that is willing to protect Scots from huge tax rises.

“Only the Scottish Conservatives are in a position to do this, and as recent election results have shown more and more people are turning to Ruth [Davidson] to stand up for their views.”

SNP Business Convener Derek Mackay pointed to the difference in constituency support as the basis for positivity.

He said: “A 14-point poll lead is a remarkable achievement for a party approaching 11 years in government.

“It is testament to the success of the SNP in delivering progressive government — with investment in education and early years to tackle the attainment gap, record spending on our health service and building a social security system which puts people at its very heart. 

“The Tory slump has put the party back into third place as more and more people witness first-hand the harm that Westminster cuts are inflicting upon communities and public services. 

“Unfortunately, too many decisions which determine our fate are still made at Westminster, including the hard line approach to Brexit that would see Scotland dragged out of the single market at a huge cost to jobs and our economy. 

“As people realise how damaging that will be, independence becomes an increasingly irresistible alternative and this poll points to a clear movement in that direction.”

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