London – 9 June – Support for the Scottish National Party has risen since its landslide victory in Scotland in the UK general election, according to a new survey by TNS.
The survey of 1031 adults in Scotland aged 16 and over also shows strong support for continued membership of the European Union.
Among committed voters – those who expressed a party preference – 60% say they intend to support the SNP in the constituency section of the poll for the May 2016 elections to the Scottish Parliament. This compares with the 50% support the party received in Scotland in the UK general election and 45% in the constituency vote in the 2011 Holyrood elections, when they won 53 of the 73 constituencies.
Labour is second with 19%, down from 32% in 2011. The Conservatives record 15% (14%), the Liberal Democrats 3% (8%) and the remaining votes are split among the other parties.
Under Scotland’s additional member electoral system, each voter also casts a ballot for a political party in their region. The party vote is used to allocate “list” MSPs to balance out under-representation of parties by the first-past-the-post constituency poll.
The survey shows that 50% intended to back the SNP across the eight regions, followed by Labour (19%), the Conservatives (14%), the Greens (10%), Liberal Democrats (5%), UKIP (2%) and others (2%). In 2011 the distribution of votes in this section of the poll were SNP 44%, Labour 26%, Conservatives 12%, Liberal Democrats 5%, Greens 4% and UKIP 1%.
The poll results suggest that Green voters have low expectations in the constituency votes, and may be lending their support to the SNP, with whom they were allied in the Yes campaign in the September 2014 referendum. Their 4% share of the vote in the regional poll in 2011 gave them two seats.
Early indications are that the turnout will be considerably higher than the 50% experienced in the 2011 poll: 67% said they were certain to vote, with SNP voters especially engaged (79%).
Respondents were also asked how they would vote in the proposed referendum on the European Union: the SNP has argued that a vote to leave the EU should be valid only if each of the four nations of the UK agreed. Almost half (49%) said they would vote to stay in the EU, 19% would vote to leave and 26% were undecided.
Tom Costley, head of TNS Scotland, said: “Clearly there is a long way to go until the Scottish Parliament elections, so it is too early to tell whether the rise in support for the SNP represents a continuing trend, or whether it reflects a “honeymoon” period with the party’s new Westminster MPs.
“The strong support for continuing EU membership may reflect both this factor and the strong advocacy by Nicola Sturgeon, who remains a popular figure: the case for the EU has yet to be tested in the full-blown political campaign that will precede the referendum.”
Asked to reflect on the result of the UK general election, 43% thought the result of the vote made Scottish independence more likely: 9% said it was less likely and 39% said that the election had made no difference.
Most people (86%) thought Scotland would have some influence in the new parliament at Westminster, though half of this number (41% of all respondents) thought it would have a little influence, 27% thought it would have a lot and 19% not very much, while 6% thought it would have no influence at all.
The full data tables are available here.
- A sample of 1031 adults aged 16+ was interviewed throughout Scotland over the period May 13th-30th, 2015.
- Although the franchise is currently limited to those aged 18 and over, the voting age is expected to fall to 16 for the 2016 Holyrood election, so TNS has decided to interview those aged 16 and over.
- 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.
Please note that this is an opinion poll. It should be viewed as a snapshot of stated voting intention on the day it was conducted. It is not a forecast of future voting intention.
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