SNP support down as Yes voters eye Labour, poll finds
SNP support is down and Humza Yousaf has a lower satisfaction than Labour's Anas Sarwar, new polling shows.
Yousaf's party is still in front on Westminster voting intention - but the level of backing has dropped in the wake of Nicola Sturgeon's resignation and the probe into party finances, figures suggest.
And some 2014 Yes voters are now more likely to back Labour, it is claimed.
Research by Ipsos shows a slight "weakening" of the link between supporting independence and voting SNP.
And while Yes retains a small majority amongst those who are sure to vote in a referendum, that support is down three percentage points since the firm's last poll in December.
Carried out in partnership with STV News, the Ipsos Scottish Political Monitor is based on a representative sample of more than 1000 people and was conducted between 15-21 May.
It shows the SNP would take 41 per cent of the vote in an immediate UK general election, down 10 points on December and four points on its 2019 election result.
At 29 per cent, second-placed Labour are up 10 points on their 2019 election result, while the Conservatives are in third place at17 per cent - an eight-point drop on their 2019 result.
The figures could translate to a 44-seat win for the SNP at the next general election, with Scottish Labour on nine and three each for the Scottish Conservatives and Scottish Liberal Democrats.
Labour's Sarwar is the only leader of the four parties with a positive net satisfaction rating, chalking up a score of six. But while 40 per cent are satisfied with this performance and 33 per cent are dissatisfied, around one third of those questioned (33 per cent) said they did not know enough to rate him.
Yousaf's net satisfaction rating of -9 compares with the positive +9 score recorded for Sturgeon in December.
And while Tory Douglas Ross had the lowest net satisfaction rating of -25, this marks an improvement on the -38 score seen in December.
Healthcare/NHS was seen as the top issue affecting Scotland, followed by inflation and the cost-of-living, education and schools, the economy and Scottish independence/devolution.
Amongst those very like to vote in an independence referendum, 53 per cent would vote Yes and 47 per cent would vote No.
However, Ipsos said "there are signs that some 2014 Yes voters may be increasingly willing to consider voting for other parties rather than the SNP": "In recent years, support for independence has been very closely correlated with electoral support for the SNP. While still strong, this appears to be weakening slightly: our poll finds that while 69 per cent of 2014 Yes voters say thew would vote for the SNP at an immediate general election, this is a fall of 12 percentage points compared with a year ago.
"Labour may be well placed to benefit; their support among 2014 Yes voters has increased by nine percentage points compared with a year ago, to 15 per cent."
Half of those asked said the Scottish Government should not go ahead with its court challenge to the UK Government's Section 35 veto against the Gender Recognition Reform Bill, compared with 39 per cent who support the move.
While 57 per cent of those who voted SNP in 2021 back the Scottish Government's decision, 36 per cent disagree.
The findings come on the same day separate analysis by YouGov suggested the SNP could face heavy losses at the polls, with 23 of its Westminster seats falling to Labour.
Emily Gray, managing director of Ipsos in Scotland, said: "In the wake of Nicola Sturgeon' unexpected resignation, a divisive leadership contest and controversy over the party's funding and finances, support for the SNP has fallen back.
"With First Minister Humza Yousaf's approval ratings weaker than Nicola Sturgeon's were, it may be challenging for the party to regain that support.
"Meanwhile, Labour will be hoping that the indication in this poll of a weakening relationship between past independence support and voting for the SNP becomes a trend on which they can capitalise."
SNP depute Westminster leader Mhairi Black, whose seat is amongst those under question in the YovGov research, called the Ipsos figures "encouraging". She said her party will campaign on a "positive message of hope" which is "in contrast to both Labour and the Tories, who both offer a Brexit-based future dragging down living standards and the cash available for public services like the NHS".