More than half of Scots to vote SNP, says poll

THE SNP increased its lead over Labour in Scotland in the last month with more than half of Scots now poised to vote for Nicola Sturgeon’s party.

Nicola Sturgeon's performance in recent TV debates has been credited with the rise. Picture: PA

It comes in a period which saw Nicola Sturgeon widely judged to have performed well in the UK-wide leaders’ debates, according to a new poll by TNS.

The TNS poll found 52 per cent of adults in Scotland who are certain to vote in the May 7 general election, said they would vote SNP, against 24 per cent backing Labour. The 28-point lead is nearly double last month’s figure, when the parties scored 46 per cent and 30 per cent respectively.

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The Conservatives scored 13 per cent (down 1 per cent), the Liberal Democrats 6 per cent (up 3) and the Greens 3 per cent (down 1). Support for UKIP in Scotland is almost negligible.

The survey of 978 adults aged 18+ in Scotland covered the period of the UK-wide TV debates, although it closed before the impact of the Scottish leaders’ TV debates could be taken into account.

Tom Costley, Head of TNS Scotland said: “The official election campaign has got off to a great start for the SNP, undoubtedly helped by Nicola Sturgeon’s strong performance in the UK-wide TV debate. Not only has Labour’s hopes of a recovery in support been dashed but even worse, it appears to have gone backwards.

The future looks good for the SNP. Picture: PA

“The SNP seems to be building on the momentum which they carried forward from the independence referendum, while Jim Murphy is still struggling to win back Labour’s lost supporters. Indeed, the latest poll shows some evidence that the growth in SNP support is mainly coming from disaffected Labour supporters.”

Support for the SNP continues to be very strong among younger voters (who are certain to vote and express a preference) – 71 per cent of the 18-34s, against 57 per cent for the 35-54s and 40 per cent for those aged 55 and over. Among the oldest age group, Labour scores 32 per cent and the Conservatives 20 per cent.

“But it’s important to remember that the campaign is really only beginning and 29 per cent of those who say they are certain to vote have not made up their minds who to vote for. It will be interesting to see what difference the campaigns of the various parties make to people’s intentions by polling day.”