Sturgeon takes party reigns: SNP on 8% UK-wide

Alex Salmond no longer leads the SNP. In his final days, an Ipsos Mori polls has given the SNP a considerable boost.

Of those UK respondents absolutely certain to vote, 8% said they would vote SNP. The number of people saying this all come from Scotland, but an 8% share of the UK vote would be a tremendous step for the nationalists, as the poll put the Lib Dems (UK wide) on 9%, just one point ahead of Ms Sturgeon’s party.

Of those absolutely certain to vote, the poll gave the Conservatives 32%, ahead of Labour on 29%. This in itself is positive news for the Conservatives who have struggled to retake the lead from Labour. If repeated in next year’s election, a share of 29% for Labour will show that Labour have remained static, as that’s the percentage they got in 2010.

However, it is important to note that when looking at the answers from all respondents, both Labour and the Conservatives stand on 30%.

But back to Scotland. On Friday, Nicola Sturgeon officially became the SNP's leader. The party also announced their new Deputy leader: Stewart Hosie MP. In the second round of votes he was declared the winner, with almost 56%. He defeated Angela Constance and Keith Brown.

Following the conference, on Tuesday Alex Salmond will confirm his resignation as First Minister. Wednesday will see Nicola Sturgeon elected by MSPs to the position of First Minister.

The SNP are riding high and will likely make significant gains next May. With the Ipsos Mori poll putting the party on 8% UK-wide, and with previous polls suggesting the SNP could take a substantial majority of Scotland’s seats, in the event of a hung parliament, it is likely that the SNP could play a vital role in determining the shape of the UK’s governance.

When respondents to the Ipsos Mori poll were asked to agree/disagree with the statement that: ‘The Scottish National Party is ready to form part of a UK coalition government’, 29% agreed, whilst 49% disagreed. In this respect, they performed marginally better than the Greens, about which 27% agreed and 54% disagreed.

Recently on Andrew Marr, the First Minister said it was highly unlikely that the SNP would take part in a UK coalition. He ruled out out any sort of deal with the Conservatives, whilst saying some sort of agreement with Labour would be more possible, but still unlikely.

It is incredibly unlikely that the SNP would make some sort of formal deal in 2015, but one thing’s for sure: they will be returning to Westminster next year with more MPs than ever before.

With Alex Salmond set to leave office in days, he will be remembered as a divisive First Minister to some, but the SNP are in a far stronger position now, compared to where they were seven and a half years ago.

Fieldwork for the Ipsos Mori survey was carried out between the 8th and 10th November. The full results can be found here: