London – 10 February – Nearly two thirds of adults in Scotland say they are certain to vote in the May general election, suggesting that the vote will not see the high turnout – 85% – witnessed in the September 2014 independence referendum, according to new polling by TNS.

In the survey of 1006 adults aged 18 and over, 64% said they were certain to vote on May 7th, the same as the turnout figure at the last general election in 2010 – highlighting that the high levels of engagement seen in the referendum campaign are not necessarily here to stay.

Among those who stated a preference and are certain to vote, The Scottish National Party leads with 41%, double its share of the vote in the 2010 general election. Labour has 31% (42% in 2010), the Conservatives are on 16% (17%) with 6% backing the Greens (1%), 4% the Liberal Democrats (19%) and 2% UKIP (1%).

Older people are more likely to vote Conservative or Labour, while support from the Greens is concentrated among younger voters: 22% of 18-34s say they will back the party.

Commenting on the poll, Tom Costley, Head of TNS Scotland said, “It would appear that the high level of turnout for the independence referendum is not going to be replicated, not surprising when you consider the different context between the two events.”

“The turnaround in the Scottish political scene which sees the SNP polling at this level has been widely attributed to traditional Labour voters who voted Yes in the referendum deciding to stay with the SNP. But it is also worth noting that the SNP may well also have benefited from the collapse of the Liberal Democrat vote – from 19 per cent in the 2010 election to 4 per cent in the latest poll”.

Support for all the parties is evenly split between men and women, a contrast with the independence referendum where women were significantly less inclined to vote Yes.

The change in the Scottish Labour leadership, with Jim Murphy succeeding Johann Lamont, appears to have had little impact on the party’s fortunes: only 8% of all voters say they are more likely to vote Labour as a result, with 8% less likely and 77% saying it makes no difference.

Commenting further, Tom Costley said, “It should also be noted that one quarter (26%) of all adults aged 18+ in Scotland, and 24% of those who say they are certain to vote on the day, are currently undecided, suggesting there is still considerable scope for all parties to influence the final results in the next three months.”

Notes to editors
As the leading supplier of opinion polls within Scotland for over 30 years, TNS published regular polling in the run-up to the Scottish Independence referendum on 18th September 2014. Even with a No vote, the impact of the referendum is already evident in a changed political landscape in Scotland, and is likely to be felt not only in Scotland, but across the rest of the UK, in this year’s general election.

TNS will therefore be producing a series of polls on Westminster voting intention in Scotland in the advance of polling day.

The full data tables for this poll are available here.

  • A sample of 1,006 adults aged 18+ was interviewed across Scotland over the period 14th January to 2nd February 2015.
  • To ensure the sample was representative of the adult population of Scotland (aged 18+), it was weighted to match population profile estimates in the analysis.  Data was also weighted to match turnout and share of vote from the 2010 General Election (as recorded in House of Commons Library Research Paper 10/36 18 May 2010), and turnout and share of constituency vote from the 2011 Holyrood election (as recorded in SPICe Briefing 11-29 2011 Scottish Parliament Election Results)
  • The full question wording is shown on the data tables.
  • All interviews were conducted face-to-face, in-home using CAPI (Computer Assisted Personal Interviewing) and quota sampling.

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