The SNP is at a crossroads as a new report condemns its current strategy and says that a majority of SNP voters do not want independence now. Humza Yousaf’s party has based its entire electoral policy on pushing for the dissolution of the United Kingdom.
However, a survey by the Tony Blair Institute for Global Change (bit) has shown that voters will pay more attention to the competence of both governments at the next general election than to independence aspirations. It also shows that a majority of Scots are unhappy with the performance of the SNP executive.
He downplays the impact of tactical voting at the next election, claiming that this would only help Labour win a few seats, but could lead to the Conservatives losing one. But he expresses how important it is to secure the vast majority of Michael Shanks in Rutherglen and Hamilton West.
The report says: Only minorities support the SNP’s official view that independence is an urgent necessity, which demands that IndyRef2 be obtained as soon as possible. This presents a tactical challenge as the party prepares for the upcoming parliamentary elections. His activists are firmly in the camp of urgent priority, but many of his voters are more cautious. How can the SNP close this gap?
The study, written by respected pollster Peter Kellner, the former chairman of YouGov, also looks at the popularity of the country’s top political leaders and is not a good read for the prime minister. He writes: Six months after his time as Scotland’s first minister, Humza Yousaf has not yet made a clear impression on 21% of voters. Among those who have formed an opinion, a net worth of minus 15 will do little to cheer you up.
And while the main message is that voters are looking to the competence of the government rather than the Constitution, it does mean that the SNP could still face difficulties because of its patchy record. When asked about the Scottish government’s handling of crime, poverty, schools, substance abuse, housing, railways and the NHS, only 3-7% of people replied that it had performed very well in all aspects.
However, between 18 and 23 per cent of those polled said the SNP executive had performed poorly. Among SNP voters, just 17% said the government had run the NHS very well, with less than half saying it had done a good job on substance abuse, housing and poverty.
And in terms of tactical voting, Mr Kellner pointed out that if Unionist voters decide again on the best option to beat the SNP, it could lead to more defeats for the Nats, but that Labour would be less likely to vote conservative than vice versa. He wrote: Tactical voting contributed to Labour’s victory in the Rutherglen by-election. The Conservative vote fell from 15% to 4%.
In 2019, more than 29,000 voters supported a Unionist party (Labour plus Conservatives plus Liberal Democrats), while less than 24,000 voted for the SNP. But Labour won the support of only 63% of Unionist voters, so the SNP regained the seat.
In the last by-election, Labour won 90% of the Unionist vote. If 90% of anti-SNP voters had supported a single Unionist party in every constituency in Scotland in 2019, the SNP would have won 20 fewer seats.