The first poll of Humza Yousaf’s leadership of the SNP shows the party’s lead over Labour narrowing on every voting measure, according to a new poll from Savanta for The Scotsman.
In the Westminster voting intention, the gap between the SNP and Labour is down to just six points, with Yousaf’s party on 39%, down three points from the last poll in February, and Scottish Labour on 33%, up by one.
Since Savanta / The Scotsman first asked a Westminster VI in June 2022, the gap has narrowed five consecutive times, falling by 15 points from 21 point lead in June to just the six point lead seen today.
The latest lead represents one of the smallest gaps between the SNP and the second-placed party since the 2014 independence referendum.
According to seat aggregator Electoral Calculus, if these figures played out at a General Election, the SNP would lose 18 seats based on their 2019 performance, while Labour would win 17 in addition to their sole Scottish MP returned in December 2019. The Conservatives would remain on six seats, while the Liberal Democrats would win five.
A similar trend in the Holyrood Constituency VI is seen, with the SNP on 39% (-4) and Labour on 32% (+2), and while the SNP are up one point in the List VI (33%), Labour rise by three points to 30% and the pro-independence Scottish Greens fall by four points to 10%.
The Indy Ref II voting intention increases its No lead by two points, but this is primarily driven by fewer undecided voters this time round, with all changes well within the margin of error.
Humza Yousaf’s net favourability rises six points to -12, but he is still well behind his predecessor Nicola Sturgeon (+10), closest contender Anas Sarwar (-1) and former leadership rival Kate Forbes (-2).
His net favourability among SNP voters, however, is much improved, rising 19pts to +20, while Forbes’ drops by 15pts to +5. Nicola Sturgeon’s, however, remains at a lofty +71.
Chris Hopkins, Political Research Director at Savanta said, “Much has been hypothesised about the impact the SNP’s leader could have on not only Scottish politics, but on the outcome of the next UK-wide General Election, and in the first poll conducted since Humza Yousaf was elected, we find the SNP down a further three points in Scotland’s Westminster VI, and the gap between them and Labour the narrowest it’s been for many years.”
“Obviously Yousaf will need time to settle in, and polling immediately after a new leader can be difficult to draw strong conclusions from. However, compared to other new leaders the UK political scene has experienced in the last 12 months, it’s obvious there’s no ‘bounce’ for Yousaf here, and that speaks to the task he has on his hands.
“Replacing Sturgeon, a generally well-liked and unifying figure, would be difficult for any new leader, but even more so after a fractious leadership election where it became apparent Sturgeon did such a great job in masking some of the SNP’s divisions during her tenure that Yousaf now must sew back together.”
“And Labour, clearly, is ready to capitalise if he fails to do so. During the Truss premiership it looked as if Labour could comfortably win a General Election in spite of the SNP’s Scottish dominance.
“While they’re still streets ahead in UK-wide polls, the gap between them and the Conservatives is not what it once was, and being able to rely on more-than-a-smattering of Scottish seats would be a cushion that Keir Starmer will be grateful to inherit off the back of a nationalist changing of the guard.”