John Swinney’s approval rating below Labour's Sir Keir Starmer and Anas Sarwar, poll suggests

​Scottish Labour could counter a decade of SNP dominance in Scotland at the general election by taking the most seats, a poll suggests.

John Swinney’s public approval rating is below that of both the UK and Scottish Labour party leaders, a new poll has indicated, in a survey that suggested an end to SNP dominance in Scotland at the general election.

Labour was the choice of 36 per cent of respondents and 32 per cent backed the SNP in a poll by Survation for True North.

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And the survey showed Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer on top in the personal approval ratings of political leaders, sitting on a 3 per cent net approval rating compared to -38 per cent for Rishi Sunak.

SNP leader John Swinney arriving for a visit to the Moon Tell Me Truth Exhibition, a collection of poems from children in Gaza, at the Scottish Poetry Library in Edinburgh. Picture: Andrew Milligan/PA WireSNP leader John Swinney arriving for a visit to the Moon Tell Me Truth Exhibition, a collection of poems from children in Gaza, at the Scottish Poetry Library in Edinburgh. Picture: Andrew Milligan/PA Wire
SNP leader John Swinney arriving for a visit to the Moon Tell Me Truth Exhibition, a collection of poems from children in Gaza, at the Scottish Poetry Library in Edinburgh. Picture: Andrew Milligan/PA Wire

Mr Swinney, who took over the reins of the SNP from Humza Yousaf just weeks ago, was on -7 per cent, just behind Scottish Labour leader Anas Sarwar on -3 per cent.

A total of 1,026 people aged 16 and over were interviewed between May 23 and Monday for the poll.

The results showed support for the Tories in the general election remained around 17 per cent and the Lib Dems were on 9 per cent.

If the poll was replicated on July 4 – according to polling expert Professor Sir John Curtice, of the University of Strathclyde – Labour would come just shy of a majority of seats on 28 out of 57, up from the single constituency won in 2019. But the SNP would plummet to just 16 seats compared to the 48 won five years ago.

The Tories would increase their tally from six MPs to eight and the Lib Dems would gain one, rising to five.

Responding to the poll, Sir John said: “The party’s support for Westminster is as much as four points down on the beginning of the year.

“Fewer than two in three of those who would vote Yes in an independence referendum are currently minded to vote for the party. As a result, Labour now have a clear lead in Westminster vote intentions for the first time since the 2014 independence referendum.

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“As the general election campaign gets under way, the SNP face the prospect of severe losses at the beginning of July, and thus the possible loss of its coveted status as the third largest party at Westminster. The party badly needs to try and persuade Yes supporters to return to the party fold.”

True North managing partner – and former SNP head of communications – Fergus Mutch said it was “Labour’s election to lose”, adding the party’s momentum would require a “powerful response” to counter.​

The poll also looked at voting intentions for Holyrood, with just under two years to go before the 2026 election.

Labour would again streak past the SNP, if the poll were to be replicated, winning 48 seats to the SNP’s 42.

The Tories would drop to 17, while the Lib Dems would return 13 MSPs and the Greens would win nine.

Support for independence also replicated that of the 2014 referendum, with 45 per cent of decided voters backing separation and 55 per cent in favour of staying in the UK.

SNP depute leader Keith Brown said: “We need to get rid of the Tory government. The way to do that in Scotland is to vote SNP because we are the main challengers in every Tory held seat. Austerity, Brexit and the cost-of-living crisis — all imposed on Scotland by Westminster — have pushed up household costs, hit the economy hard and cut the money available to spend on the NHS.”

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