Ahead of the Scottish National Party conference in Aberdeen, new research by Ipsos finds that the Scottish public are critical of the Scottish Government’s performance across several key areas.
Notably improving the NHS, but also improving living standards, education and managing the economy. However, Scots continue to have a more favourable view of Nicola Sturgeon than of other Scottish party leaders.
The findings make grim reading for the Conservatives, with both Liz Truss and Kwasi Kwarteng very unpopular among the Scottish public, and just 16% of the public holding a favourable opinion of the party.
For Labour the signs are a little more positive, with an upturn in Keir Starmer’s ratings – though the Scottish public remain divided on both Starmer and Scottish Labour leader Anas Sarwar.
Favourability towards politicians
- Nicola Sturgeon remains the best regarded of the Scottish party leaders asked about in Ipsos’ poll: 47% of the public say they have a favourable opinion of her, while 39% have an unfavourable view.
- Scottish Conservative leader Douglas Ross’ ratings have dipped a little further since August, with 16% favourable and 57% unfavourable towards him.
- The public remain divided on Scottish Labour leader Anas Sarwar, with 29% favourable towards him and 30% unfavourable.
- Prime Minister Liz Truss’ favourability ratings have fallen in recent months. Her ‘net favourability’ rating now stands at -60, a similar level of unpopularity to Boris Johnson in August 2022 when he was Prime Minister. Overall, 11% of Scots are favourable towards Liz Truss (-4 points from August), while 71% are unfavourable (-11 points from August).
- Chancellor of the Exchequer Kwasi Kwarteng’s ‘net favourability’ is similarly low at
-61. Just 7% of Scots have a favourable view of him while 68% are unfavourable.
- While there has been an improvement in Keir Starmer’s ratings among the Scottish public since August, the public remain divided on him: 32% have a favourable opinion of him, while a similar proportion (33%) have an unfavourable opinion of him.
Scottish Government performance
The Scottish public are critical of the Scottish Government’s recent performance across several key areas – notably the NHS, but also improving living standards, education and the economy.
- Half of the Scottish public (51%) say the Scottish Government has done a bad job of improving the NHS in Scotland since the May 2021 Holyrood elections, while 22% think it has done a good job of this. Those aged over 55 are particularly likely to say the Scottish Government has done a bad job (60%).
- More think the Scottish Government has done a bad job than a good job of:
- Managing Scotland’s economy (46% say it is doing a bad job, 29% a good job)
- Improving living standards for people on low incomes (45% bad job, 26% good job)
- Improving their own standard of living (41% bad job, 21% good job)
- Improving the education system in Scotland (44% bad job, 26% good job).
- However, the public are more likely to say the Scottish Government is doing a good job at making Scots feel proud of their country (41%) than to say it is doing a bad job of this (33%).
Emily Gray, Managing Director of Ipsos in Scotland said, “While Nicola Sturgeon remains the most popular of the Scottish party leaders among the public, this poll also has concerning signs for the SNP.
“The public see considerable room for improvement in the Scottish Government’s performance on the NHS, the cost crisis and the economy, as we head into what is likely to be a challenging winter.”