With just a week to go until the Scottish Parliamentary election, support for No in a hypothetical second independence referendum has reached its highest level in any poll since the 2019 General Election, according to the latest polling from Savanta ComRes for the Scotsman.
The poll finds that just under half (49%) of Scots would vote No, while 42% would vote Yes, with the remaining 8% undecided.
Removing those who are undecided gives a headline voting intention of 54% to No, and 46% to Yes, a No lead of 8pts, the largest since two successive polls in early December 2019.
The increase in No support is mirrored by a further drop in SNP support ahead of the Holyrood election next week, with Nicola Sturgeon’s party down 1pt in the constituency vote and 2pts in the list.
While still taking an impressive 45% in the constituency vote, the SNP have a 22pt lead over the Conservatives and Labour, both on 23%, with Labour up 3pts on the last Savanta ComRes poll, and the Conservatives down 2pts.
The Liberal Democrats are on 7%, while other candidates are on just 1%, despite being included in the main prompt once again for respondents who have minor party candidates running in their constituency.
In the list vote, the SNP drop 2pts to 36%, with the Conservatives back on 22% and Labour on 19%, a drop of 1pt and a rise of 2pts, respectively.
The biggest change from the last Savanta ComRes poll a week ago is for the Scottish Greens, up 3pts in the list to 10%. The Liberal Democrats remain on 5%, Alba on 2%, and other parties, including the Scottish Libertarian Party and UKIP, take up 6% of the list vote.
According to electionpolling.co.uk’s swingometer, these results would leave the SNP four seats short of an outright majority in Holyrood, although with the Green Party potentially taking as many as 11 list seats according to this poll, five more than they took in 2016, there would be more pro-independence MSPs in Holyrood than at the 2016 election.
All respondents in this poll were shown a full list of the named candidates running in their constituency, as well as all of the parties running on the regional list in their region, mirroring the ballot paper they will receive next week on May 6.
Elsewhere in the poll, favourability for Scottish Labour leader Anas Sarwar continues to increase, with his net favourability rising to +9, just 7pts behind Nicola Sturgeon and 14pts ahead of the next most popular Scottish politician (Willie Rennie, -5). However, Keir Starmer’s favourability plummeted to a net -13 in this poll, down 9pts since our last poll a week ago.
And in the ‘top issues’ question, where respondents choose the three most important issues facing Scotland, the economy (54%) has its highest score since the question was first tracked back in December 2020, while the environment (20%) also receives its highest score, ranking it level with Scottish independence (also 20%).
Commenting on the findings, Chris Hopkins, Political Research Director at Savanta ComRes said, “The direction of travel has been clear in the last few polls, with support for both independence and the SNP dropping ahead of the May elections. What this is down to remains unclear. The SNP’s appeared to ride negative headlines in the early part of the year, so it’s unlikely that the party itself has just gotten more unpopular all of the sudden.
“Instead, it seems that the two major unionist parties, the Conservatives and Labour, have somewhat – but by no means completely – got their act together, and are at least doing a better job now at retaining their core vote, rather than leaking it to Yes and the SNP. This, coupled with a potentially more fragmented pro-independence List vote, more so from the Greens than from the ever-unpopular Alex Salmond’s Alba Party, means that the SNP may fall short of their majority and not give Nicola Sturgeon the unequivocal mandate for a second independence vote that she so clearly craves.”