SNP electoral support down 10% since Sturgeon’s resignation, poll finds

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Support for the SNP has fallen by 10% in a new poll which also reveals a negative satisfaction rating for First Minister Humza Yousaf in the wake of Nicola Sturgeon’s resignation.

Ipsos Scottish Political Monitor, run in partnership with STV News, projects the SNP will remain the dominant party despite its support dropping to 41% compared to the results of a poll in December.

Meanwhile, Scottish Labour and the Tories are predicted to increase their support by four percentage points, to 29% and 17% respectively.

The survey of 1,100 adults in Scotland between May 15 and 21 puts the SNP on course to win 44 seats at the next Westminster election, while Labour would take nine and the Tories and Liberal Democrats would each take three seats in the Commons.

The SNP gained 45% of the vote at the 2019 UK election, while the Tories won 25% and Labour 19%.

The latest poll saw Scottish Labour leader Anas Sarwar become the only political leader to receive a positive net satisfaction rating, with 40% satisfied with his performance and 33% dissatisfied. The other 27% said they do not know enough to rate him.

Rutherglen and Hamilton West by-election
Scottish Labour leader Anas Sarwar is the only leader to be given a positive approval rating (Andrew Milligan/PA)

His predecessor Ms Sturgeon resigned in February and had a +9 positive rating in the December 2022 poll.

The SNP has faced a tumultuous few months following her resignation as police probe party finances, leading to the arrest of her husband and former chief executive Peter Murrell, and former treasurer Colin Beattie. Both were released without charge pending further investigation.

Scottish Conservative leader Douglas Ross’s approval rating now sits at minus 25 in the poll, however it is an improvement from minus 38 in the December poll.

The Ipsos poll also shows a shift in attitude towards independence, with signs emerging that 2014 Yes voters are beginning to consider backing other parties instead of the SNP.

But support for independence sits at 53% compared to 47% against – a slight drop of three percentage points for the Yes campaign.

The Ipsos poll is a slightly more encouraging message for the SNP than a YouGov poll also published on Wednesday which suggested Labour could gain almost two dozen seats from the nationalists at the Westminster election.

Nicola Sturgeon and Humza Yousaf
The SNP has faced challenges since Humza Yousaf took the helm from Nicola Sturgeon (PA)

Emily Gray, managing director of Ipsos in Scotland, said: “In the wake of Nicola Sturgeon’s unexpected resignation, a divisive leadership contest and controversy over the party’s funding and finances, support for the SNP has fallen back.

“With First Minister Humza Yousaf’s approval ratings weaker than Nicola Sturgeon’s were, it may be challenging for the party to regain that support.

“Meanwhile, Labour will be hoping that the indication in this poll of a weakening relationship between past independence support and voting for the SNP becomes a trend on which they can capitalise.”

SNP Westminster deputy leader Mhairi Black said the poll is “encouraging”.

She added: “The SNP is working hard to tackle the cost of living, improve public services like our NHS and build a fairer economy – but we are absolutely clear that independence is essential for our long-term future.

“That’s the positive message of home we’ll be campaigning on relentlessly – in contrast to both Labour and the Tories who both offer a Brexit-based future dragging down living standards and the cash available for public services like the NHS.”

Scottish Labour deputy leader Jackie Baillie said “Poll after poll shows that the momentum is with Scottish Labour.

“The status quo is failing Scotland, but only Labour are offering a fresh start and a chance to boot out this morally bankrupt Tory Government.

“Scottish Labour will keep working around the clock to earn voters’ trust so we can deliver the change Scotland needs.”

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