Scottish independence: Four things we learned from the Savanta ComRes poll


THE latest Scottish independence poll from Savanta ComRes has put support for leaving the Union at 58 per cent for a second time in two months.

The figure is the highest ever recorded by the major polling firms and was first published by Ipsos MORI back in October.

It is the 17th poll in a row to put support for an independent Scotland ahead of support for the Union.

READ MORE: Scottish independence: Savanta ComRes poll shows Yes support at record high

The poll, carried out for The Scotsman newspaper, also found the SNP are on track for a decisive majority at the May election – with Labour and the Tories set to lose five and eight seats respectively.

The poll also looked at approval ratings of the party leaders, public trust on key issues and several other matters.

These are four things we learned from the survey:

According to the study, First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has seen the least negative impact from the inquiry into the Scottish Government’s botched handling of complaints against Alex Salmond of those involved.

The inquiry has led 36% of people to trust her less, 19% to trust her more and 37% to trust her the same. Of all the party leaders, she is viewed as the most trustworthy (50%), honest (54%), and genuine (57%). When respondents were asked about the same traits in Douglas Ross and Richard Leonard, between 20-25% of people agreed.

Savanta ComRes associate director Chris Hopkins said the inquiry alone would not damage Sturgeon’s hopes of re-election.

He said: “Awareness relating to the Salmond inquiry is fairly strong and it’s the former first minister, rather than the current one, who is coming out of the inquiry the worst.

“In fact, looking at other metrics regarding Nicola Sturgeon – her trustworthiness, her honesty, and her strength – she gives the impression of being almost bulletproof in Scottish politics and it will take much more than the Salmond inquiry to harm her claims to be First Minister again come May.”

Richard Leonard and Douglas Ross still aren’t getting through to voters

While the SNP are on track to gain a majority with an increase of eight seats, things aren’t looking so good for the Tories or Labour. The Conservatives currently hold 31 seats but the survey projects this will drop by eight to 23. Meanwhile Labour would lose five seats, taking them down to 19.

Looking further into the data we can see that Douglas Ross and Richard Leonard are not received well by those who know them, but actually are not received at all by a large number. The Scottish Tory leader holds a -9% approval rating but nearly one in three voters said they “don’t know” when asked if they felt favourably or unfavourably about him.

Leonard holds a worse approval rating at -18%, and a third also said they “don’t know” if they feel favourably or unfavourably about him.

The Scottish Tories aren’t trusted to keep their promises

When it comes to public trust in the parties, it’s not positive for the Scottish Tories. The party is the least trusted to keep their promises and more than half of respondents said “keeps their promises” does not apply to them.

Meanwhile the SNP is seen as the most trustworthy party on many issues – particularly in areas typically associated with the Tories like the economy, jobs and education.

More than double the number of voters say the SNP are the right party to improve areas like health and the economy than say it should be the Tories or Labour.

The Scottish Greens have seen their strongest poll performance in more than three years, with 12% of voters planning to back them in the list vote in May.

This would give the party, led by Patrick Harvie and Lorna Slater, 11 seats – up five on their 2016 result.

Meanwhile LibDem support has not moved up or down and the party is on track to neither gain or lose any seats, keeping them at five.

This result would see the Greens become the fourth largest party in the Scottish Parliament, with the LibDems the smallest.

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