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by Louise Wilson
10 May 2023
SNP tops poll but support from indy backers down

Humza Yousaf became SNP leader and First Minister six weeks ago | Alamy

SNP tops poll but support from indy backers down

Support for the SNP remains high but the party is losing voters who back an independent Scotland, a new poll has found.

The Survation poll, commissioned by lobbying firm True North, found more than a third (38 per cent) of Scottish voters would back the SNP if a UK general election were held tomorrow.

Labour are second, on 31 per cent.

Around the same numbers would back each party in the constituency vote for a Holyrood election (39 per cent for the SNP, 30 per cent for Labour).

Support on the list vote drops to 32 per cent for the SNP and 26 per cent for Labour.

The Conservatives polled at 19 per cent for a Westminster election and 18 per cent for both votes in a Holyrood election.

But while headline voting intention maintains the SNP's dominance, there has been a fall in the number of people who backed Yes in 2014 who continue to support the party.

The poll also put support for independence at 48 per cent, compared to 52 per cent for the Union.

Polling expert Professor John Curtice told the Holyrood Sources podcast: “The SNP is losing the support of people who believe in independence.

“The truth is that we are looking at a situation where a political institution is in trouble, even though the cause for which it's in favour isn't in trouble. Whereas in the middle of January, 76 per cent of those people who voted for yes in 2014 were saying they'd vote for the SNP, that figure is now down to slightly below two thirds.

“The SNP are losing the support of those who still believe in independence. Whatever was Nicola Sturgeon's intention in resigning as leader, she has created a sequence of events whereby support for the SNP has gone down.”

Curtice added that recent negative headlines about the SNP has not done “serious damage” to the party, as support had only fallen “by a couple of points”.

But he said Labour was benefiting from the recent turbulence in politics in Scotland and the UK. He said: “By sitting still and not messing up, and at least having both a UK-wide and a Scottish leader who people at least regard as being respectable if not necessarily something they have a great deal of enthusiasm about, the apples have been falling into Labour's lap, frankly on both sides of the border.”

Anas Sarwar is the only Scottish political leader not to have a net negative approval rating, with 30 per cent of those polled viewing him as favourable compared to 25 per cent who said they were unfavourable towards him.

Humza Yousaf has a net favorability of -12 while Douglas Ross was -20.

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