Anas Sarwar election could tempt Conservative voters over to Labour, poll suggests

One in five Scottish Conservative voters have said that Anas Sarwar's appointment as leader of Scottish Labour has made them more likely to vote for the party, a new poll has suggested.

The poll, conducted for The Scotsman by SavantaComRes, interviewed 1,009 Scottish adults aged 16 and over between March 5 and 10.

However, seven per cent of Scottish Labour voters have said they are now less likely to vote for the party than before, meaning the chances of any major gains from their change of leader are slim at this stage.

Sign up to our Politics newsletter

The vast majority, 60 per cent of Scottish Conservative voters and 59 per cent of SNP voters, said Mr Sarwar’s election would make them no more or less likely to vote for Scottish Labour, the poll showed.

Scottish Labour leader Anas Sarwar could herald the start of a more successful era for the party. Picture: PA

In total, 21 per cent of Scottish Conservative voters said they were “more likely" to vote for Labour, with 15 per cent saying his election made them less likely to vote for the party, a net total of six per cent.

A net total of 38 per cent of Labour voters and -2 per cent of SNP voters said they were now more likely to vote Labour following his election.

The figures suggest Mr Sarwar’s election in and of itself is unlikely to cause a major shift of votes, but the Conservative figures are promising for the new leader.

The poll also shows that in terms of the constituency vote, Scottish Labour has been the main beneficiaries from the SNP’s drop in support, with 20 per cent of Scots saying they would vote for Anas Sarwar’s party, their joint strongest performance in 2021 and up four per cent from February.

However the party has no made no gains in the list with just 18 per cent of the vote according to this poll.

That result would see Scottish Labour lose four MSPs, returning 20 in total, in line with recent polls.

Mr Sarwar’s approval ratings will make positive reading for the party, however, with voters viewing him more positively than Douglas Ross.

The poll says he is more likely to be viewed as honest, trustworthy, genuine, intelligent and strong than not.

The leader is only below Mr Ross on one aspect, with more people viewing him as divisive when compared with the Scottish Conservative leader.

A message from the Editor:

Thank you for reading this article. We're more reliant on your support than ever as the shift in consumer habits brought about by coronavirus impacts our advertisers.

If you haven't already, please consider supporting our trusted, fact-checked journalism by taking out a digital subscription.


Want to join the conversation? Please or to comment on this article.