Subscribe to Holyrood updates

Newsletter sign-up


Follow us

Scotland’s fortnightly political & current affairs magazine


Subscribe to Holyrood
by Andrew Learmonth
04 May 2021
SNP set to win election but chances of a majority are on a knife edge

SNP set to win election but chances of a majority are on a knife edge

With just two days until Scotland votes, the SNP remains on course to form the next government, according to a slew of new polls.

However, Nicola Sturgeon’s chances of winning a majority are on a knife edge. 

The polls also show that the Conservatives have gained ground in the battle for second place, despite voters favouring Anas Sarwar over Douglas Ross. 

A new poll by Opinium for Sky News, saw the SNP predicted to win 51 per cent of the constituency vote, followed by the Tories on 23 per cent, Labour on 19 per cent and Lib Dems on five per cent.

On the list, the SNP is on 41 per cent, Tories on 23 per cent, Labour on 17 per cent, Greens on eight per cent, Lib Dems on six  per cent and Alex Salmond's new pro-independence breakaway Alba Party on three per cent.

Opinium says this would put the SNP on 67 seats, Conservatives on 29 seats, Labour on 20, Greens on eight, and the Lib Dems on five.

Though that would give Sturgeon’s party a majority of five, it’s considerably down on last month, when the pollster predicted a majority of 13. 

When asked to rate the leaders, Sturgeon is seen as favourable by 56 per cent of voters, Sarwar by 45 per cent, and Ross by 26 per cent. Alba leader Alex Salmond is on just 10 per cent.

A survey by Survation for ITV’s Good Morning had 46 per cent of voters back the SNP on the constituency.

Both the Tories and Labour are on 22 per cent, the Liberal Democrats are on eight per cent. On the list, the SNP are 37 per cent, the Tories on 22 per cent, Labour on 18 per cent, the Greens on 10, the Lib Dems on seven per cent and Alba on two per cent. 

Projections by Ballot Box Scotland, says that would result in 65 seats for the SNP, 27 for the Tories, 22 for Labour, 11 for the Greens and seven for the Lib Dems.

Tory candidate for Glasgow, Annie Wells, said: “More polls show that only the Scottish Conservatives can stop an SNP majority, stop another independence referendum and get all of the focus back on rebuilding Scotland. 
“Seven polls in the last week have demonstrated that voting for the biggest opposition party, the Scottish Conservatives, is the only way to stop an SNP majority. 
“We can only get the Scottish Parliament 100 per cent focused on Scotland’s recovery if pro-UK, anti-referendum voters come together and lend their peach party list ballots to the Scottish Conservatives.”

On independence, Opinium found that support for a referendum is now equally tied 50-50, once "don't knows" are excluded, down from 51-49 in the last Opinium poll.

If the SNP wins an overall majority on Thursday, the proportion who want a second independence referendum within five years - within the life of the next Scottish parliament - is 42 per cent, down seven points since last month.

In the firm’s previous poll, 45 per cent of Labour 2019 voters thought there should be a referendum in the next five years if the SNP win a majority - that has now dropped to just 24 per cent.

Chris Curtis, Senior Research Manager at Opinium, said: “The campaign finishes much where it started, with razor thin margins set to decide whether Nicola Sturgeon can govern alone, or will need the backing of other pro-independence parties.

“But despite that fact, our latest polling shows the Scottish public are not necessarily keen on another Scottish Independence referendum. Even if she does win a majority, just 43 per cent think there should be one in the next five years, compared to 50 per cent who think there shouldn’t.

"We have also seen Labour voters harden in their view over the campaign, with just 24 per cent willing to back one in those circumstances.

“Regardless, Sturgeon will argue that a good result this week gives her the mandate to put the question back to the Scottish people, demonstrating just how important this week’s vote will be for the future of the Union.”

Meanwhile, the Electoral Commission has revealed that 4,280,785 Scots have registered to vote for Thursday’s election. This is almost 200,000 more than registered ahead of the 2016 Scottish parliamentary elections. Of those registered, a total of 1,011,321 (23.62 per cent) have postal votes.

Holyrood Newsletters

Holyrood provides comprehensive coverage of Scottish politics, offering award-winning reporting and analysis: Subscribe

Read the most recent article written by Andrew Learmonth - Miners' Pardon: 'I knew I had done nothing wrong'.

Stay in the know with our fortnightly magazine

Stay in the know with our fortnightly magazine


Popular reads
Back to top