New poll shows Scots still split on independence

Worrying for Labour, 53 per cent of respondents in its former Glasgow stronghold say they'd vote yes


The SNP’s polling lead in Scotland has narrowed,but only slightly. That’s the headline from new data released today by TNS.

In the poll of 1,023 adults over the age of 16 in Scotland, of those who expressed an opinion about how they would vote in the constituency section of next May’s elections to the Scottish Parliament, 58 per cent said the SNP, down from 62 per cent last month.

Labour’s ratings increased by 3 percentage points to 23 per cent, with the Conservatives unchanged on 12 per cent. The Lib Dems rose two points to 5 per cent.

While this shows a 7 percentage point cut in the SNP lead since August, it nevertheless amounts to a 35 point lead over the Scottish Labour Party.

Asked how they would vote in the regional list vote, of those expressing an opinion, 51 per cent said the SNP (down 3 points) and 24 per cent said Labour (up 4 points). The Conservatives fell 1 point to 11 per cent and the Lib Dems were up 2 points to 6 per cent. The Scottish Green Party fell 2 points to 6 per cent.

Commenting on the findings, Tom Costley, Head of TNS Scotland, said:

“SNP support remains at a very high level; Labour, which will be encouraged by making a modest dent in the SNP lead, is likely to have been helped in the past month by the election of Kezia Dugdale as leader in Scotland, and perhaps by the news focus on its UK leadership election.

“But it should be noted that the 23 per cent poll support is still below the 24.3 per cent it received in its General Election defeat by the SNP.”

TNS also asked those questioned how they would vote if there was a referendum on independence held tomorrow. With the don’t knows taken away, 53 per cent said they would vote yes, and 47 per cent said they’d vote no. Perhaps most worryingly of all for Labour, its once great stronghold of Glasgow continues to support independence by 50 per cent to 38.

Tom Costley said of these findings:

“The apparent change of mood towards independence gives the SNP a difficult decision on whether to include a commitment to a referendum in its manifesto for next year’s elections.

“On the one hand, some will argue that ‘just one more heave’ will get the Yes vote over the line, and will be disappointed if there is no commitment to try again. Others will argue that a six-point lead can be overturned in a long campaign, and that a second lost referendum would make it hard to make another attempt for the foreseeable future.”

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

Want to read more posts like this? Then *sign-up to Look Left* and make sure you have the facts to rebut right-wing spin

Like this article? Sign up to Left Foot Forward's weekday email for the latest progressive news and comment - and support campaigning journalism by making a donation today.