Poll blow for Nicola Sturgeon: SNP would get just 47% of votes in Scotland if party turns next general election into vote on independence, survey shows
- Sturgeon plans to hijack the election as single-issue vote on breaking up Britain
- But the poll revealed that the SNP would win only 47 per cent of the vote
- The Conservatives, Labour and Lib Dems are forecast to win 50 per cent of votes
The First Minister plans to hijack the election as a single-issue vote on breaking up Britain, saying a referendum should be held if pro-independence parties win 50 per cent of the vote.
But the poll, carried out for The Sunday Times by Panelbase, revealed the SNP would win only 47 per cent of the vote in those circumstances.
The Conservatives, Labour and Lib Dems are forecast to win 50 per cent of votes in Scotland, meaning the remaining 3 per cent of ‘other’ parties would need to campaign explicitly for independence at the election for Miss Sturgeon’s plan to succeed.
The Scottish Conservatives said: ‘The SNP needs to focus on the key challenges facing the country… instead of splitting the population with a reckless push to break up the UK.’
Nicola Sturgeon’s hopes of turning the next general election into a ‘de facto’ independence referendum suffered a blow after a poll revealed the SNP will fall short of votes
Scottish Labour MSP Sarah Boyack added ‘the focus of all Scotland’s politicians must be on re-building the NHS, our economy, our public services and tackling our climate crisis.’
However, the findings suggest support for independence has snuck ahead by 48 per cent to 47 per cent, with 5 per cent undecided – the first time since April last year a poll has put Yes ahead.
The First Minister hailed the ‘very encouraging’ poll on Twitter, adding: ‘Yes ahead, surge in support for choice in 2023, and the SNP within touching distance of majority of votes in GE should it become de facto indyref (which we hope isn’t necessary).
‘Lots to do though. Bring on the debate on why now is time for Indy.’
Pollster Mark Diffley suggested a marginal swing for either side in Scotland’s proposed independence referendum could decide the outcome because support for the two sides were ‘absolutely in deadlock’.
He told BBC Scotland’s The Sunday Show: ‘Everything will come down to the campaign – how good those campaigns are, how they speak to people, their positivity or negativity, so and so forth.
The First Minister plans to hijack the election as a single-issue vote on breaking up Britain, saying a referendum should be held if pro-independence parties win 50 per cent of the vote
‘That is what will really count.
‘Because the polls are so tight at the moment, if we get into a campaign a marginal swing in either direction will make the different.’
Mr Diffley added: ‘I suspect until we have a campaign it probably won’t move by a significant amount.’
According to the poll, only a third of Scots (33 per cent) actually believe Scotland will become independent in the next five years, although that figure has climbed 10 percentage points since November.
Another 17 per cent think the country will break away from the United Kingdom within a decade, a decrease of six percentage points.
Polling expert Professor Sir John Curtice suggested both sides are becoming entrenched in their views.
He said: ‘Unionists are not going to persuade Yes supporters of the merits of the Union by arguing against a referendum that nearly every Yes supporter wants.
But the poll, carried out for The Sunday Times by Panelbase, revealed the SNP would win only 47 per cent of the vote in those circumstances
‘Equally, Sturgeon is unlikely to persuade No supporters who do not want a referendum to back Yes because Boris Johnson is being “undemocratic”.
‘If either side is to move the dial, they need to begin to argue the substantive case for or against the Union rather than simply pursuing arguments about process. For while the latter might comfort existing supporters, they are unlikely to change voters’ minds.
‘And changing minds is what both Nicola Sturgeon and Boris Johnson badly need to do.’
Miss Sturgeon’s coalition partner Patrick Harvie, co-convener of the Scottish Greens, said: ‘I think it is preferable Scotland’s democratic mandate is respected.
‘If repeated pro-independence majorities in both Parliaments isn’t enough for a mandate what on earth is? What is the democratic legitimacy they finally would respect?”
With Westminster continuing to refuse a referendum, he added: “We will go to court and we will seek permission to take that referendum forward.
‘And, if the answer is no, clearly we are going to have to use the following election, that is the only ability we have then to put the question to the public.’