Wednesday, February 8, 2023

Two new Scottish polls show that Nicola Sturgeon is still more popular than every other leading politician

There's been chatter in some quarters, which seems to me rooted largely in wishful thinking, that Nicola Sturgeon is on the way out as First Minister due to increasing unpopularity.  And it's certainly true that her personal ratings in opinion polls have dipped, and it may well even be true that this is partly because her foolishness in placing herself so thoroughly and comprehensively on the wrong side of public opinion on the trans issue has finally caught up with her.  But there's one obvious problem with the 'Sturgeon is toast' theory - why is every other leading politician still less popular than she is?  If she's toast, then presumably the same must be true to an even greater extent of Anas Sarwar, and Keir Starmer, and Rishi Sunak, and Alex "Fast Bowler" Cole-Hamilton.

YouGov Net Ratings (Scotland-only poll, 23rd-26th January 2023):

Nicola Sturgeon: -4
Keir Starmer: -10
Stephen Flynn: -12
Lorna Slater: -12
Anas Sarwar: -14
Alex Cole-Hamilton: -14
Patrick Harvie: -16
John Swinney: -20
Douglas Ross: -35
Rishi Sunak: -40

Ipsos UK Net Ratings (Scotland-only poll, 30th January-1st February 2023):

Nicola Sturgeon: 0
Keir Starmer: -1
Anas Sarwar: -4
Douglas Ross: -41
Rishi Sunak: -42

When Rishi Sunak became Prime Minister, I vaguely remember joking that it was terrible news for Douglas Ross because it condemned him to going back to being less popular in Scotland than his UK Tory counterpart.  Well, give Ross his due - he's somehow now less unpopular than Sunak, although that's a fairly low bar to clear at the moment because Sunak's numbers are mind-bogglingly abysmal.  Sunak is clearly a talented communicator - in terms of his basic personality I don't actually particularly dislike him, which is almost unprecedented in a Tory leader, so such awful numbers must be down to a large extent to the ongoing toxicity of the Tory party in Scotland.  Probably anyone in 10 Downing Street at the moment would suffer the same effect.

A couple of other nuggets of interest from the two polls - YouGov show a plurality of 47-42 in favour of an independence referendum being held within the next five years.  Mysteriously that result hasn't attracted much attention from our legendarily neutral mainstream media.  Meanwhile, Ipsos UK have found a 50-33 plurality in support of the UK Government's imperial veto of the GRR Bill.  However, my view is that the question wording - although perfectly legitimate - is likely to have focused respondents' attention on how they feel about the gender identity issue itself, rather than the principle of the veto.  In my own next poll, I'm minded to ask a question along the lines of: "Regardless of your own views on the Gender Recognition Reform Bill, do you think the UK Government should have the power to veto a law passed by the Scottish Parliament?"  I suspect the results might be a little different, but we'll see.

Incidentally, the detailed results on the Ipsos question once again contradict the "it's women v the Scottish Government" narrative.  Although both genders support the veto of the GRR Bill, men (55%) are clearly somewhat more hostile to the Bill than women (47%).

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  1. RevStu and PeeJay will be fuming...

    1. As will the SNP-bashers on the National btl

  2. Flynn less "popular" than Starmer? Haevie less "popular" than Hamilton? Either the world's gone mad or the people surveyed are ignorant eejits. Is there a IQ test for those being questioned?

    1. You know who Flynn is, the Scots don't - I'm surprised he is as popular as that.

    2. These figures suggest the Scots do know who he is and have a low opinion of him.

    3. Up to a point, Lord Copper. Only 32% of respondents gave an opinion of him, so that leaves a large majority who may not know who he is yet. And I wouldn't be surprised if many of the 22% who gave an unfavourable view aren't really all that familiar with him but were just giving a reflexive anti-SNP answer.

  3. James

    Just because Sturgeon is less unpopular than the rest of the useless bunch doesn’t mean she will be around in the longer term. The simple fact is she looks tired, her Government look tired, she has blown some of the goodwill from the wider yes community and that is not even considering GRR and her poor governance on top of pretty much zero achievement. I know people now who just won’t vote if there is no change in the SNP from top to bottom, they won’t vote for anyone else, they just won’t vote. That will be the Sturgeon effect if she does not go and soon before she has tarnished pretty much everything.


    1. "The simple fact is she looks tired"

      Would it be fair to say, Bruce, that your language there is not entirely spontaneous, but is instead taken from a Wings post a few days ago entitled "Don't You Think She Looks Tired?" featuring a carefully selected photo of Ms Sturgeon looking slightly tired, as many people do at certain times of the day? Which Wings in turn lifted from a Doctor Who episode by Russell T Davies, in which David Tennant's Doctor boasted that he could bring down the Prime Minister with six little words: "Don't You Think She Looks Tired?" It worked for Tennant, but I suspect Wings is about to find out that the real world is a wee bit different from escapist TV.

    2. I think she's empty, weary and exhausted - and I despise tory-loving-WOS now.

    3. You know what's looking rather old and tired is that "wider Yes community" line. It was semi-plausible before 2021 but after Holyrood 2021 and the councils in 2022, it looks like a myth. In hindsight, of course what happened after 2014 was that "wider community" swarmed into the SNP and to a lesser extent the Greens, turning both into our political arms. We were not going to weaken either of them to nurture a SNP-hostile third party.

      Of 2021 constituency SNP voters, 93% are satisified with Nicola Sturgeon according to this YouGov poll. The remainder is split between 2% don't know, 4% somewhat unfavourable and... drum roll, please, 1% very unfavourable.

      And even IF a significant wider Yes community does exist, you don't have much of a basis to claim that it resembles your personal echo chamber.

  4. "do you think the UK Government should have the power to veto a law passed by the Scottish Parliament?"

    I'm not sure about that wording at least without follow-up question(s). I don't think the UK government should have the power but that is because I want Scotland to be independent and Westminster to have no powers over us at all.

    However they do actually have the power as detailed in the Scotland Act and section 35 is justifiable since a devolved parliament can't make or amend law for the rest of the UK.

    So given that they do have the power, did they have legitimate grounds to invoke section 35? I think they did. The FM won't do anything without Westminster's permission re indy or even a referendum, why does she think she can ignore Westminster's on this issue?

    So maybe a follow-up question along with lines of " The UK government has the power to overturn Scottish legislation that impacts on reserved powers. They argue GRRB affects UK wide legislation. Should a section 35 order have been issued?"

    You'll probably say that pushes the answer, and you know your stuff, but I wonder if the original question doesn't ask the wrong thing.

    1. "section 35 is justifiable since a devolved parliament can't make or amend law for the rest of the UK"

      That is categorically not what Section 35 is about, either as a general principle or in the specifics of this case. The GRR Bill does not even attempt to make or amend laws for the rest of the UK, and if it did you can be sure the UK Govt would have taken the less controversial option of asking the Supreme Court to strike the Bill down. No-one seriously disputes that the Bill is within devolved competence.

  5. I imagine Mz S' popularity amongst pro-indy folk is much lower but will skyrocketing in trans constituency (as insignificant as that will be).

    1. Have you not noticed every time the opposition keep punting the line that Sturgeon is on the way out she gets even stronger and her numbers go up

  6. Perhaps her most surprising achievement is that she seems to be gradually managing to include herself in the sort of equilibrium of negative indifference that appears to be seeping in to our politics ?

  7. Bad news again for WGD's new resident psephologist who now regularly provides the numpties with his expert polling analysis. The mad as a bucket of frogs British/Irish liar assured everyone the Scottish public was firmly behind the GRR Bill.

    If your'e bored though and really want a laugh, check out the ski slope graph creator's version of margin of error explanation, it makes Wings analysis look logical and credible in comparison.

  8. A long post no-one will read (probably wouldn't myself) but it's true.

    One other thought (albeit multifaceted), voting SNP because one is fearful of incompetent Brits running Scotl and into the dirt is not a winning position. Voters need to believe they are voting FOR something (and not just a Scottish Green Trannie sandwich). It's likely inevitable that the current mumbling, trundling SNP will lose its majority (even with the Greens' support - who at least virulently stand for something) in Holyrood next time because they've become faceless cis-gender males/females in dark suits. Maybe a new leader would help but the messaging would have to be clear and truthful and confident (Alba MSPs would help if they could lose the contempt for the SNP and the SNP could drop this both-votes-SNP crap). I suspect voters in Scotland link the SNP to trans first, bland gov second and indy 3rd.

    At this rate, it will indeed be a once-in-a-generation 2nd IndyRef vote since the SNP is currently a one-woman show and Mz S is tired. Who the fk counciled Salmond then Sturgeon to utter those stupid fking words ? I suspect Salmond himself. As soon as they were spoken, my heart sank. Never campaign through weakness - it's a losing position - and now, 9 yrs later - we're still put into a bit of a self-consciouly weak position because of that dumb, useless once-in-a-generation gambit.

    Salmond himself knew very well : never campaign from weakness; you must always frame the arguments on your own terms - and give your opponents a kicking at the same time, especially with a smile whenever possible. Salmond stupidly resigned (cabinet gov stopped and Sturgeon control-freak authoritarianism took hold).

    Sturgeon doesn't have the stomach for an IndyRef2 campaign, she's been passionate and a fighter twice since 2014 : EU membership and Self-IDing; never for indy.

    The Brits are slowly eroding Holyrood and the SNP is bland (like their IndyRef1 and post-IndyRef1 campaign is), however, Sturgeon stated correctly, the only real chance of IndyRef2 is a wildly successful SNP holding sway in a Brit hung-parliament run by Labour.

    There will be no de facto indyef2 unless a new leader takes over the SNP and injects new vigour into it and motivates the Scots to vote SNP.

    1. "Salmond knew very well, never campaign from weakness" It seems to me that he's currently ignoring his own advice.

    2. He's done now - campaignng from the shadows.

  9. Not going to happen, but can you imagine Flynn leader of the opposition. He'll be suggesting a referendum sometime in the 2050's but only if the case is built and enough support is there at the time.

    "SNP ‘would overtake Tories’ in snap General Election, poll finds

    A NEW poll has found that the Conservatives would become Westminster’s third party behind the SNP in a snap election.

    A poll of 28,000 people for The Telegraph found that if there were an imminent General Election then the Tories would be left with fewer seats than the SNP.

    The SNP would win 50 MPs according to results while the Tories would have just 45, down from 365. This would mean that Stephen Flynn would become the leader of the opposition.

    The figures, from pollsters Find Out Now and Electoral Calculus, report Labour winning 49 per cent of the vote while the Tories would win just 23 per cent."

    1. The Telegraph printed that call to arms to make sure support for the Tories wouldn't go down, they don't want any of those uppity Scotch taking over Englands parliament, it's bad enough they're even allowed inside Englands hallowed halls, perish the thought the Scotch could lord it over Gods chosen of England

  10. By the time there is a general election the Tories will have their Alister Jack ducks in rows upon rows, donors will have filled the coffers, newspapers will have their anti Starmer doom mongering organized, and the TV media will be ready to fill their screens with graphs showing the predicted financial mismanagement to come of the terrible uncosted excesses and ridiculous policies ready to be foisted on the people of the UK of England that the terror will be successfully deployed to persuade the voters of England to vote Tory all over again
    And hey! it might even be *get Boris back* by then

    England doesn't like the idea of being equal, they like the promises of aspiration and being richer than the guy next door
    They've not managed to get themselves a war in a while so watch out for that, they might even call it a crusade again

  11. Time for a new Wings Watch post, James.

  12. Popularity doesn't mean she is helping independence. The latest polls show she is a complete liability for our cause. The best of a bad bunch , is the best anyone can say.