Holyrood 2016: New polls show further increase in SNP support and UKIP breakthrough

Opposition attempts to demolish the SNP's record in key policy areas such as health and education have failed to deter voters ahead of the May elections, two new polls suggest.

The SNP is set to dominant the next parliament. Picture: Ian Rutherford
The SNP is set to dominant the next parliament. Picture: Ian Rutherford

The research for TNS found that SNP will take 60 per cent of the constituency vote share in May - up three percentage points. Labour is at a standstill at 21 per cent with Conservative vote share dropping to 13 per cent - down four percentage points.

The SNP is also predicted to claim 55 per cent of the regional votes with Labour up two percent at 21 per cent. The Conservatives are down to 13 per cent and Liberal Democrats on four percent, down two percentage points.

Meanwhile, a Survation poll for the Scottish Daily Mail put the SNP on course to take 70 seats at Holyrood in May - an increase of one. Labour seats will fall from 37 to 21 and Conservatives will gain one to take 16 seats.

It also predicted UKIP will take seven seats at Holyrood after winning a six per cent share of the regional vote.

The research also found a quarter of Scots (24 per cent) would back a 1p rise in income tax, as proposed by Labour and Liberal Democrats.

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The TNS poll of 1036 adults in Scotland, conducted face-to-face in the respondent’s home, also asked about the Scottish Government’s performance in four key areas over the last 12 months.

On education, 34 per cent of respondents ranked the SNP performance as good - up four per cent on a similar poll conducted in July 2015. However, the number of those who gave a “poor” rating increased by four percent.

Confidence in handling of the economy dipped with 22 per cent describing performance as good. This is down three per cent since last July.

Opinion has hardly changed on the SNP-led management of the National Health Service and crime and justice.

One health, 35 per cent of respondents ranked performance as good - up one percent. Meanwhile, there was little change in views on justice - despite major controversies surrounding the running of Police Scotland. In this area, 23 per cent said performance had been good - a standstill from last July.

Tom Costley, Head of TNS Scotland said, “Six months after we last asked these questions - during which time the opposition have been challenging the SNP Government on their record - there has been next to no change in public opinion of their management of the economy, health service and crime and justice. With focus on the next few months likely to be on Europe, opposition parties in Scotland are likely to find it ever harder to make their arguments about the government’s performance heard.”

There has been a further increase in the number of people saying they are certain to vote (67 per cent), up from 58 per cent in December and 65 per cent last month, suggesting that as the election nears engagement is increasing.

Mr Costley added: “There is no evidence from this February data that the Conservatives in Scotland have made any progress in narrowing the gap with Labour, to claim to be the second party – indeed, if anything, they have fallen back a little. With nine weeks to go, time is running out for opposition parties to make real inroads into SNP polling dominance.”

The income tax findings by Survation for the Scottish Daily Mail found 24 per cent of respondents backed a 1p rise, while 41 per cent wanted the basic rate to remain unchanged and 18 per cent a 1p cut.

More than a third (38 per cent) said the top rate of income tax should be increased, while 34 per cent said there should be no change. The poll also found that 13 per cent supported a cut.