Polling conducted by Ipsos Scotland finds that:
- Twice as many Scots think the Scottish Government is doing a bad job managing the economy as say they are doing a good job (50% vs. 25%).
- However, just 29% say a Labour Scottish Government would do a better job on the economy – 23% say they would do worse and 48% think it would make no difference or are unsure.
- None of the Scottish or Westminster party leaders included in the survey receive a positive rating from the public.
Ratings of the Scottish Government’s performance
The Scottish Government receives a net negative rating (meaning more people think they are doing a bad job than think they are doing a good job) across all the policy areas Ipsos asked about:
- Ratings of the Scottish Government’s economic management have fallen significantly since March 2023 (50% bad job, 25% good job, giving a ‘net’ score of -25, down from -16 in March).
- The public is particularly negative about whether the Scottish Government is improving the NHS in Scotland – 55% say they are doing a bad job of this, and just 22% that they are doing a good job (‘net’ -32, similar to the net score of -30 recorded in March 2023).
- The Scottish Government’s score card is also negative for:
- Improving the education system in Scotland (46% bad job, 23% good job, ‘net’ -23)
- Improving living standards for those on low incomes (48% bad job, 25% good job, ‘net’ -23)
- Improving people’s own living standards (47% bad job, 18% good job, ‘net’ -28)
- Ratings were least negative for ‘taking action to address the climate crisis’ – 35% said they were doing a bad job and 28% a good job (‘net’ -7), although the proportion saying ‘neither a good nor a bad job’ or that they didn’t know how to rate them was higher than for other areas (38%).
Would a Labour Scottish Government do better?
While the public does not think the Scottish Government is doing particularly well across these policy areas, they do not appear to think a Labour Scottish Government would fare much better.
- While 29% say Labour would do a better job than the current SNP Government of managing Scotland’s economy, 23% say they would do worse and 48% say either that it would make no difference (29%) or that they are unsure (19%).
- The balance of opinion on whether a Labour Scottish Government would do better or worse is similar for improving the NHS in Scotland, improving the education system, and improving living standards for those on low incomes –slightly more say that they would do a better job than say they would do a worse job, but the most common response is that it would make no difference.
- The public appears even less clear on whether a Labour Government would make any difference to their own standard of living or the climate crisis – the proportions saying they would do a better or worse job are evenly balanced in each case, while around 6 in 10 (57%) say it would either make no difference or are unsure.
Views of party leaders
All the party leaders included in Ipsos’s latest poll receive a ‘net’ negative rating from the Scottish public (more people were unfavourable than favourable towards them).
- Anas Sarwar receives the least negative rating – 26% were favourable towards him, 34% unfavourable (‘net’ – 8, slightly down on his March 2023 rating of -4).
- Humza Yousaf is slightly behind Anas Sarwar in terms of ‘net’ favourability – 31% favourable, 43% unfavourable, ‘net’ -12. However, his ‘net’ score has improved since March 2023 (when he was still a candidate for the SNP leadership), from -20 to -12.
- Douglas Ross and Rishi Sunak receive the most negative ratings, with ‘net’ scores of -47 and -46 respectively.
Views of political parties
All the main political parties in Scotland also receive ‘net’ negative scores from the public.
- The Scottish Conservative and Unionist party receives the most negative rating – ‘net’ -46 (compared with -42 in March 2023).
- Scottish Labour and the SNP are viewed less negatively, with ‘net’ scores of -8 and -7 respectively (each down slightly on their March ‘net’ scores).
- The Scottish Green Party receives a ‘net’ favourability score of -13, similar to their score of -14 in March. The Scottish Liberal Democrats’ ‘net’ score remains unchanged, at -22.
Emily Gray, Managing Director at Ipsos in Scotland, commented:
Humza Yousaf’s first Programme for Government places a strong emphasis on growing the economy, alongside tackling poverty and inequality and delivering on public services. These findings indicate the Scottish public see considerable room for improvement in the SNP Government’s performance across all these areas. Perceptions of their handling of the economy, in particular, are more negative now than when we last asked this in March. However, the public is not necessarily inclined to think a Labour Scottish Government would do a better job.
- Ipsos interviewed a representative quota sample of 1,019 adults aged 16+ in Scotland.
- The survey took place online between 18th and 23rd August 2023.
- Data has been weighted to the known offline population proportions.
- Where results do not sum to 100%, this may be due to computer rounding, multiple responses, or the exclusion of “don’t know” categories.
- All polls are subject to a wide range of potential sources of error.