BMG’s latest poll of Scottish voters for the Herald shows SNP in a continued commanding lead ahead of the Scottish Parliamentary Election on May 5th.
The constituency vote results put the SNP on 43 per cent, Scottish Labour 17 per cent, the Scottish Conservatives 13 per cent, and the Liberal Democrats on just 5 per cent.
In the second regional list vote the SNP is on 37 per cent, Labour 16 per cent, the Conservatives 13 per cent, the Greens 6 per cent, Liberal Democrats 5 per cent and Ukip just 3 per cent.
However, for both votes, around one in five voters said that they were still undecided about how they might vote with less than three weeks to go until polling day.
Also in the release is polling results on Labour’s proposed introduction of an additional penny on income tax, and the results suggest it is clearly quite popular among Scots, with support for the tax hike outweighing its opposition by around 30% (Supporters 51%, Opposers 21%). However, there is an ominous undertone to these results that may worry some senior Labour party members.
While BMG’s exclusive poll for The Herald sought to assess the overall popularity of the proposal, the question was also designed in a way that would measure the impact of Labour’s ‘brand’ among voters in Scotland. The poll was set up as a randomised control trial (RCT) of two groups, with respondents being shown either an unbranded or a Labour-branded tax proposal.
A control group were asked whether they supported the proposal in principal, without making any reference to an individual or party, and a treatment group were asked an identical question, but this time explicit reference was made to the proposal being Scottish Labour’s genesis. Participants were randomly assigned to each group and the results show a clear fall in support for the proposal after the simple and minor addition of a reference to the Labour party.
The experiment shows net support for the tax proposal dropping by some eight percentage points.
Among Conservative Scots, Labour’s brand has a large negative impact, to the tune of -12 percentage points. Whilst for SNP supporters, a Labour-branded proposal is a whopping 30 percent less popular than a neutral one. Clearly there is no quarter for Labour ideas among the current breed of SNP supporters.
As you’d expect, a Labour proposal is more popular among Labour voters than a neutral one, with a five percentage point increase in net support when Labour is referenced.
When the proposal was put to those voters who say that they are still undecided about how they will vote on May 5th, results from the BMG poll suggest that ‘brand Labour’ also has a negative effect. Net support drops by around five percentage points among the undecided.
On the EU Referendum BMG’s poll for The Herald gives Remain a commanding 20 point lead over Leave in Scotland (55% Remain, 35% Leave, 10 DK/PNTS).
Though Scotland is strongly in favour of remaining in the EU, there are key political differences. Almost three quarters of Labour supporters (72%) say they will vote to Remain, compared to 70% of Lib Dems. Just 56% of SNP supporters say they’ll vote to stay, whilst Scot Tories are split, with 46% in favour of remaining in the EU and 50% intending to vote to leave.
Whilst Scots as a whole are firm supporters of EU membership, the English are much more divided. BMG’s latest UK-wide EU Referendum polling suggests that Leave are slightly ahead in England, leaving open the possibility that Scotland could be taken out of the EU, against the popular will of Scottish voters.
The latest BMG/Herald poll asked Scots whether a second independence referendum should be triggered if Scotland was taken out of the EU against its will. Although the headline figures suggest that Scots are split on whether a second independence referendum should be triggered, with 43% in favour and 45% against, there is a very strong generational divide to these results.
Younger people are overwhelmingly in favour of a second referendum (60% in favour, 31% against, 9% don’t know) whilst older people are strongly against (25% in favour, 68% against, 7% don’t know).
Interestingly, poverty and deprivation also appear to play a key role. Those living in more affluent areas are least in favour of a second referendum (38% in favour, 54% against, 8% don’t know), whereas those living in Scotland’s most deprived areas strongly support a second referendum being triggered (53% in favour, 34% against, 13% don’t know).
Data tables containing a breakdown of the most recent results can be found here.
Fieldwork information and methodology can be found here.
For further details about this poll, and any other results from our polling series, please feel free to get in touch by email or phone.
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Dr Michael Turner – Research Director