Scottish Public Opinion Monitor - April 2011

SNP open up substantial poll lead as election looms. With two weeks to go until the Holyrood elections, our latest poll for the Times shows a surge in support for the SNP, giving them a double-digit lead over Scottish Labour.

SNP open up substantial poll lead as election looms

With two weeks to go until the Holyrood elections, our latest poll for the Times shows a surge in support for the SNP, giving them a double-digit lead over Scottish Labour. Among those certain to vote on May 5th, the SNP’s share of the constituency vote stands at 45%, up by 8 percentage points since February and 14 points since November 2010. This rise in support has come at the expense of the three other main parties, each of whom have seen their vote share fall since February. Labour now stands at 34%, down two points, while the Conservatives and Liberal Democrats stand at 10% and 9%, down three points and one point respectively. The SNP’s commanding position is also reflected in the regional list vote for the Holyrood election. Our poll shows 42% of those certain to vote backing the SNP on the regional vote, up seven points from February, while Labour’s share, at 32%, is just one point down over the same period. The Conservatives and Liberal Democrats receive identical results from the constituency vote at 10% and 9% respectively, both down from their showing in February. The Green Party polls strongly in the regional vote, picking up 6%, identical to our February poll.

Based on a uniform swing across Scotland, this result would give Alex Salmond’s party 61 seats in the new parliament, an additional 14 from the 2007-2011 session. The other main beneficiaries would be the Green Party who would have four seats, two more than at present. The other parties would all lose seats; Labour would only lose out marginally with 44 seats, two fewer than at present, while the Conservatives would six lose seats and the Liberal Democrats seven seats.

Despite this commanding position for the SNP Government, some optimism remains for the other parties in the analysis, which shows that around a third of voters may yet change their mind before May 5th (32% on the constituency vote and 33% on the regional list vote). Women and those in younger age groups are more likely to change their mind, making them key audiences for all parties in the run up to the election. Mark Diffley, Research Director at Ipsos MORI said:

‘The results of this poll reinforce the trend of support towards the SNP government, first highlighted by our poll in February. If it were replicated on May 5th it would leave the SNP in a very strong position in attempting to form a government in the new parliament, with 61 of the 129 seats. Apart from the Scottish Greens, all other parties would lose seats, leaving them far adrift of the SNP. The one crumb of comfort for the other parties is that it appears that around one-third of voters may yet be persuaded to change their mind before polling day, ensuring that the battle for votes is likely to hot up between now and May 5th.'

Download the slide pack here (PDF) Download the full tables here (PDF)

Technical note

  • Results are based on a survey of 1,002 respondents conducted by telephone between 14th April and 17th April 2011
  • Data are weighted by age, sex, working status using census data, tenure using SHS 2007-2008 data and public-private sector employment by Scottish Government Quarterly Public Sector Employment series data.
  • An asterisk (*) indicates a percentage of less than 0.5% but greater than 0. 
  • Where results do not sum to 100, this may be due to multiple responses or computer rounding 
  • Where the base size is less than 30 the number (N) rather than the percentage of respondents is given 
  • Results are based on all respondents (1,002) unless otherwise stated.

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