Saturday, 15 May 2021

Scottish election polls latest: Disappointment looms for Sturgeon as no majority forecast

Nicola Sturgeon: SNP winning majority 'not an easy thing to do'

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On May 6, voters will head to the polls to elect 129 Members of the Scottish Parliament (MSPs). The party winning the most seats will form the government. The Scottish National Party (SNP) has won every election since 2007, but in the 2016 election, First Minister Nicola Sturgeon lost her majority and had to form a minority government to stay in power.

Now, an exclusive poll for The Scotsman by Savanta ComRes shows Ms Sturgeon could be on course for another disappointing election.

The survey interviewed 1,001 Scottish adults aged 16 – the legal voting age in Scotland – or over between April 16 and 20.

The poll suggests the SNP will miss out on a majority by two seats and be reliant on the Scottish Greens to form a minority government.

Figures from the poll put SNP support in the constituency vote at 46 percent, which would be the same as the final result in 2016.

Alongside the SNP’s regional list vote of 38 percent, which is three percentage points lower than the result five years ago, the SNP would return a total of 63 MSPs – two short of the majority needed to take the election.

Concerning other parties, the poll shows the Scottish Conservatives have one of their strongest showings of late with 25 percent of the constituency vote and 23 percent of the regional list.

If this manifests, it would see Douglas Ross’s party return a total of 32 MSPs in May – one higher than their surprise result in 2016 and enough to keep them as the main opposition to the SNP.

For Labour, the public support for leader Anas Sarwar has yet to translate into the polls, with the party remaining at 20 percent on the constituency and just 17 percent on the regional list, a remarkably low result for the former dominant force in Scottish politics.

This result would see Labour securing 17 seats, down three from 2016.

The Scottish Greens also have one of their lowest results in recent polls with just seven percent.

Patrick Harvie and Lorna Slater’s party would still, however, return a record number of eight MSPs with that result, which could be what the First Minister needs to prop up her government.

The Scottish Liberal Democrats’ voting share holds with six percent in constituencies and five percent on the regional list.

This would see Willie Rennie’s party return five MSPs, the same number as in 2016.

Support for Alex Salmond’s new venture, the Alba Party, is at its lowest since it was established, with just one percent of voters planning to vote for the pro-independence party, according to the poll.

Such a result would see not a single Alba Party MSP elected, dashing the former first minister hopes of a return to Holyrood and creating pro-independence ‘super-majority’.

What did the poll show on independence?

On the question of Scottish independence, The Scotsman poll shows the nation remains largely split down the middle.

Support for the union – ‘No’ votes for independence – is now on 48 percent, with those stating they would vote ‘Yes’ now sitting at 45 percent, with a further eight percent saying they did not know.

This indicates a slight increase in support for No since polls published earlier in the election campaigns.

This is important, as the question of whether there should be another referendum on Scottish independence is one of the dominant themes in this election.

The SNP has already said it wants to hold a vote once the Covid pandemic ends – if the election returns another pro-independence majority.

The Scottish Greens also back independence, but the Scottish Conservatives, Labour and Liberal Democrats are all opposed and say the country’s focus should be on recovering from the pandemic rather than the constitution.

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