The SNP giant continues to grow

Latest poll shows more than half of Scots will vote for the nationalists next year


New polling reveals that support for the SNP is continuing to grow in Scotland, a month after they secured an historic landslide at the election.

According to the data, compiled by TNS, of those certain to vote in next year’s elections to Holyrood, 60 per cent said they would vote for the SNP in the constituency section of the ballot.

This would represent a 10 percentage point increase on the share of the vote it secured in Scotland in the General Election and a 15 percentage point increase on the share of the vote it secured in the constituency section at the 2011 Scottish parliamentary elections.

Scottish Labour, currently in the midst of a leadership contest, has polled 19 per cent on the constituency vote, down by almost 13 percentage points on its performance in 2011. The Conservatives are on 15 per cent (up one point, while the Lib Dems have sunk to just 3 per cent of the vote, down by almost 5 percentage points compared with the last elections to Holyrood.

Under the additional member electoral systems used to elect MSP, in addition to voting for a constituency MSP, voters are also asked to cast a vote for a political party in their region. List MSPs are allocated accordingly in order to balance out under-representation of parties by the first-past-the-post constituency poll.

On the constituency poll the SNP are, according to TNS, on 50 per cent of the vote, up 6 percentage points compared to 2011. Labour are on 19 per cent (down by just over 7 points), the Conservatives are on 14 per cent (down just over 1.5 points) and the Lib Dems are on just 5 per cent of the vote, roughly the same as their 2011 performance.

Continuing the post referendum bounce meanwhile, 78 per cent of voters told TNS that they were either certain or very likely to vote in next year’s election, up from the 50 per cent turnout seen in the 2011 elections.

43 per cent of respondents indicated that they felt the UK General Election result made independence more likely, with 39 per cent saying it made no difference.

Asked how they would vote in a referendum on EU membership, 49 per cent of Scottish voters said they would vote to stay in, with just 19 per cent wanting to leave. 26 per cent said they had not decided how to vote on the issue.

Commenting on the results Tom Costley, head of TNS Scotland said:

“Clearly there is a long way to go until the Scottish parliament elections, so it is too early to tell whether the rise in support for the SNP represents a continuing trend, or whether it reflects a “honeymoon” period with the party’s new Westminster MPs.

“The strong support for continuing EU membership may reflect both this factor and the strong advocacy by Nicola Sturgeon, who remains a popular figure: the case for the EU has yet to be tested in the full-blown political campaign that will precede the referendum.”

Ed Jacobs is a contributing editor at Left Foot Forward. Follow him on Twitter

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