Friday, March 31, 2023

Independence support stands at healthy 48% in new Savanta poll - but concerns grow that Yousaf's leadership is unsustainable as SNP lead in Westminster voting intentions drops to six points

As I said on Monday, if I continue to blog about opinion polling, and if the SNP do suffer as a result of needlessly picking an unpopular leader, it's going to be a minefield to work out which angle to take.  However, I think that the above headline is about the fairest and most balanced summary I could realistically manage in the circumstances.  The independence numbers are genuinely good news here, and just like the Panelbase poll I published the other day, they suggest that independence support and SNP support are not necessarily tightly linked and that a negative trend for the SNP will not automatically translate into a negative trend for Yes.  Which is bloody useful right now, because there is very much a negative trend for the SNP.  What you're about to see is the first poll conducted during Humza Yousaf's leadership.

Should Scotland be an independent country? (Savanta / The Scotsman, 28th-31st March 2023)

Yes 48% (-1)
No 52% (+1)

Very slight slippage for Yes, but it's pretty obvious from the figures with Don't Knows left in that the gap is essentially unchanged and that rounding issues are the main reason for the apparent small rise in the No lead.

Scottish voting intentions for the UK general election:

SNP 39% (-3)
Labour 33% (+1)
Conservatives 19% (+2)
Liberal Democrats 6% (-)

Seats projection (current boundaries, changes measured from 2019 election): SNP 30 (-18), Labour 18 (+17), Conservatives 6  (-), Liberal Democrats 5 (+1)

So the SNP are still projected to have a majority of Scottish MPs at Westminster - a majority of precisely one.  They would have thirty seats, and unionist parties in combination would have twenty-nine.  

Most leaders enjoy a honeymoon for the first few days or even weeks of their tenure.  If this is what the honeymoon for Humza looks like, the post-honeymoon period could look like an outright Labour lead.  I know this isn't what loyalists in the SNP want to hear less than a week after electing the guy, but they may be faced with a choice between revisiting that decision rapidly, or facing a historic defeat next year that could take a very long time to recover from.

Scottish Parliament constituency ballot:

SNP 39% (-4)
Labour 32% (+2)
Conservatives 19% (+2)
Liberal Democrats 7% (-1)

Scottish Parliament regional list ballot:

SNP 33% (+1)
Labour 30% (+3)
Conservatives 18% (+2)
Greens 10% (-4)
Liberal Democrats 7% (-2)

There seems to be some sort of official seats projection on this part of the poll that has the SNP on 46 seats and Labour on 42.  That is absolutely astounding - it means Humza's first poll projects the SNP to be left with fewer seats than Alex Salmond won in 2007 when the SNP were first elected to minority rule.  Labour would be within a whisker of retaking power.

For those of you who have asked about the piece on The National website claiming there is a poll showing an increase in SNP support since Yousaf became leader, that doesn't seem to be true.  They appear to have taken a tiny Scottish subsample from a GB-wide poll and presented it as "a poll".  I winced when I saw that, I hope they don't make a habit of it.


  1. As I said, a relative drubbing - the only way to win is to give voters motivation for voting SNP. Does the SNP have the clear purpose necessary to motivate the Scots ?

  2. They were warned.The voting public wanted Kate Forbes but in the name of a radical progressive agenda the SNP party machine wanted Humza.
    Labour will be in the lead for Westminster by the end of the year.
    Anyone who pointed out the folly of electing Humza was immediately labelled a transphobe or homophobic bigot.
    Just hope Humza is ditched before he does anymore damage to the cause of Independence

  3. This could be the turning point in Scotland, the first sign that many of the public have had it with the SNP. This is the legacy of Sturgeon, eight years of taking us for mugs, and many have had enough, I can't blame them. One thing we now know is that we cannot leave the SNP in charge of the yes movement, that has to become a separate entity that pushes the SNP and other indy parties to get us independence. I think the SNP called wolf too often.

  4. Kick the bums out. Anyone but SNP next year.

  5. Just a word in support of WT above.

    It's going to be essential that the YES movement does two things:
    * remain active on the streets and in the communities;
    * retain full independence from the SNP - the tentacles of bureaucratic control will soon be active if they are not already.

  6. This poll suggests that some Labour voters are pro independence

    1. That's always been the case. A quarter has been typical in opinion polls and it'll almost certainly be even higher now.

  7. Replies
    1. There is only one April fool and that is the self declared polling expert Scottish Skier who fell for the poll that apparently validates Yousaf based on a tiny number of people. Skier a liar and a numpty.

  8. After a longish period where the overlap was relatively considerable, support for YES and the SNP are obviously increasingly two different things - danger is that there is lagged effect here that also ultimately undermines independence support too, as the SNP and Humza are increasingly tarnished and perhaps defeated. Being out of power - if that does happen - also potentially diminishes independence support. Vicious circle perhaps from here. Why Alba is best bet

  9. On the up side, going back to James' post yesterday the "rabbits in the headlights" may be tested very quickly.

    One thing that the HY & the SNP needs to get sorted quickly is the differences between day-to-day operations (running govt) and projects (next election, independence campaign). I honestly don't believe that HY has run anything in his professional life, nor has he had to sit down and develop a detailed plan. He's always been in the SNP when it has been easy. Now it's going to be difficult.

    If these figures are repeated in the next poll, then that's verification that he's the problem.