Edinburgh – 28th April - As polling day approaches, a new face-to-face poll by TNS shows that while support for the SNP in the upcoming Scottish Parliament election is falling, they continue to have a commanding lead.   

Voting intention for the Holyrood election among those expressing a preference and certain to vote is as follows:

  • Constituency: SNP 52% (-4), Lab 22% (+3), Con 17% (+2) LD 7% (+1)
  • Region: SNP 45% (-2), Lab 22% (+1), Con 18% (+3), LD 5% (-1) Grn 8% (0)

The proportion backing the SNP in the constituency vote has fallen by 4 percentage points in the last month. This is a decline of 8 percentage points from a peak of 60% recorded two months ago.  Though this month’s drop in SNP support for the regional vote is smaller – down 2 percentage points – this continues a decline first noted last month, from a peak of 55% two months ago to 45% in the latest poll.  As last month, both Labour and the Conservatives have benefitted with small increases in support. 

The survey of 1,035 adults aged 16+ in Scotland also shows that the proportion claiming they are certain to vote has remained steady at 67% for the third month in a row.

Commenting, Tom CostleyHead of TNS Scotland said, “If a turnout of this level is seen on 5th May it will be significantly higher than the 50% turnout in 2011, and a further indication of greater engagement with politics in Scotland following the referendum.

“As the various parties are building up to the final week of campaigning, have some of the criticisms of the SNP’s performance as the Scottish Government had an impact on the electorate? Or is the downturn in the SNP vote in both the constituency and regional list a reaction to the concerns being expressed by some commentators of the dangers of one party being so dominant within Holyrood?’

“Despite the decline in SNP support over the last two months, a 52% share of the constituency vote would still represent an increase from the 45% they achieved in 2011. There is no denying that the SNP continues to be in a very dominant position.

“While Labour and Conservatives have made some progress in the last few months, both are likely to be disappointed when the final results are announced. The polls suggest the Labour party is still struggling to match the share of the vote they achieved in 2011 let alone begin a recovery. The Conservative Party do not yet appear to be in a position which will see them replacing Labour as the official opposition.”

Turning to the Referendum on the UK’s membership of the European Union, the proportion saying they are undecided on how to vote has increased 2 percentage points since last month and is now a sizeable 31%.

Voter intention for the EU referendum, among all adults 18+ in Scotland is as follows:

  • Remain 48% (-3)
  • Leave 21% (+2)
  • Don’t know 31% (+2)

The proportion of undecided voters is particularly high among women, with 41% unsure compared to one in five men (21%). Three quarters (75%) claim that they are ‘certain to vote’ in the referendum, up from 72% last month.

Commenting, Tom Costley, Head of TNS Scotland said, “Campaigning on the EU Referendum only officially began part-way through interviewing for this latest poll but it is clear that the two camps will be focusing their efforts on persuading the sizeable number of undecided voters, and possibly female voters in particular.  Though there is some way to go before the EU referendum generates a turnout similar to the Independence referendum, the increase in those saying they are likely to vote suggests the public are increasingly aware of the importance of making a decision about the UK’s - and Scotland’s - relationship with the EU.”

Notes to editors:
Download the full data tables.
Media contact: Sarah Green 07768 008 178 sarah.green@tnsglobal.com

A sample of 1035 adults aged 16+ was interviewed across Scotland over the period 1st-24th April 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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