7 key findings from new Scottish poll

A new YouGov poll for the Times has been making waves in the media. Here’s what it’s saying.

The YouGov/Times poll, conducted between the 12th and 16th January, has been discussed heavily in the press in the past few days, but what does it say?

1. The big independence question

When those who say they do not know how they would vote in a new referendum are removed, support for Scottish independence stands at just 43% while support for the union sits at 57%. This is good news for unionists and bad news for the SNP and other pro-independence campaigners.

2. The question of holding a referendum

Poll respondents were also asked if a new independence referendum should be in a number of scenarios. To each question, the most popular answer went against holding a referendum. The least unpopular option was for Scotland to hold a new vote once the UK is out the union, with just 47% saying they were against this option.

Nicola Sturgeon

3. Corbyn’s big decline

One shock finding form the poll was the extent to which Jeremy Corbyn’s north of the border popularity has declined. In October, 53% of Scots polled said they thought the Labour leader was doing well compared to just 33% with the opposite view. The new poll puts the figures at 40% and 43% respectively. This is a significant blow to the Labour party.

Jeremy Corbyn campaign in West Kirby

4. Westminster voting intentions

The new poll also asked voters how they would cast their ballots if a new UK-wide election were to take place. The poll puts the SNP on just 36%. Most interestingly, Labour are placed on 28%, five points ahead of the Tories, who came second in last year’s vote.

5. Holyrood

If a new Scottish election took place soon, the poll suggests that the pro-independence parties would lose their majority, setting the independence cause back another four or five years if no new vote takes place before the next election. Putting the Holyrood voting intention figures into Weber Shandwick’s Scotland Votes seat calculator gives the following results:

  • SNP: 53 (-10)
  • Conservatives: 33 (+2)
  • Labour: 27 (+3)
  • Scottish Greens: 10 (+4)
  • Liberal Democrats: 6 (+1)

The SNP and the Greens would be just shy of a majority although the unionist parties remain divided.

6. Ruth Davidson’s support

Davidson has a net approval rating of +15%, however, this is down from 17% in last October. 45% of poll respondents said they thought she was doing well compared to the 30% in disagreement in the new poll.

Interestingly, 48% of Labour voters agreed she was doing well while just 26% thought she was doing badly. On some level, this shows the importance of the constitution as a key dividing line in modern Scottish politics.

Ruth Davidson MSP

7. Richard who?

The new Scottish Labour leader Richard Leonard has only been in the job for two months, but the poll suggests he has failed to make a significant impact. 60% of respondents said they did not know whether he was doing well or badly as Scottish Labour leader.

The full results of the poll can be viewed here.