Edinburgh - 6 April - A new face-to-face poll by TNS reveals a majority of eligible adults in Scotland (51%) intend to vote to remain in the European Union, with 19% planning on voting to leave. However, there is still a sizeable number who are undecided, with 29% saying they don’t know which way to vote.
The poll also shows that those intending to vote Labour in the upcoming Holyrood elections are most likely to vote to remain (66%), followed by SNP voters (60%). The lowest level of support to remain is among Conservative voters (45%), who are still more likely to remain than leave (33%). Among these three parties, SNP voters record the highest level of undecided voters at 24% (vs. 22% Conservative and 17% Labour) – despite the SNP leadership’s vocal support of the EU.
Turnout for the referendum could be very high, with 72% saying they are certain to vote. Whilst this is lower than the Scottish Independence referendum, it is significantly higher than the turnout usually seen for European elections.
Commenting, Tom Costley, Head of TNS Scotland said, “The high number of undecided voters at this stage is not surprising, given the greater focus in Scotland on the Holyrood election. This means the debate on EU membership is not yet taking on the same level of importance as in other parts of the UK. However, the anticipated high turnout may also show the public appreciates the importance of the issue, given it is being put to a referendum”.
Turning to the Holyrood Elections in May, this latest poll of 1,013 adults aged 16+ in Scotland shows voting intention among those expressing a preference and certain to vote is as follows:
- SNP 56% (-4), Lab 19% (-2), Con 15% (+2), Lib Dem 6% (+2)
- SNP 47% (-8), Lab 21% (0), Con 15% (+2), Lib Dem 6% (+2), Green 8% (+2)
While the constituency vote appears to be relatively steady, there is a notable decline in SNP support in the regional vote. It is worth noting that this change in support is distributed among all the other parties except Labour, and that no one party appears to be benefitting.
Commenting, Tom Costley, said, “It may be that as people have started receiving leaflets at home and hearing more about the Holyrood election, they are perhaps being reminded about the possibility of using their ‘second vote’ to support an alternative party or candidate.
“Indeed, as it looks increasingly likely that the SNP will form the next Scottish government, voters may be starting to think about supporting another party in the regional vote without worrying that this will jeopardise an SNP victory. It is also possible that some voters want to ensure there is a viable opposition in the Scottish Parliament which is capable of holding the SNP government (possibly majority government) to account.”
This latest data from TNS show the percentage who say they are certain to vote in the Holyrood election is steady at 67% compared to last month. In a development that might concern Labour, 69% of their voters say they are certain to vote, compared to 80% of Conservative and SNP supporters.
Notes to editors:
The full data tables are available here.
A sample of 1013 adults aged 16+ was interviewed across Scotland over the period 2nd – 22nd March 2016.
As 16 and 17 year olds are eligible to vote in the 2016 Holyrood election, TNS has expanded our sample to ensure this age group is included. However, for the purposes of establishing voting intention for the European referendum, results are based on adults aged 18 and over to match eligibility for the vote.
To ensure the sample was representative of the adult population of Scotland, it was weighted to match population estimates for working status within gender, age, social grade and Scottish Parliament region, and to match turnout and share of vote from the 2011 Holyrood election (constituency vote) and the 2015 General Election.
All interviews were conducted face-to-face, in-home using CAPI (Computer Assisted Personal Interviewing) and quota sampling.
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