Scottish Independence poll analysis: If I were Anas Sarwar, I would be worried

In Anas Sarwar’s dream world, the next five years will see Scottish Labour not only claw back its position as the second biggest party in the country and be polling on par or ahead of the SNP.

The latest polling numbers paint a worrying picture for Scottish Labour leader Anas Sarwar.
The latest polling numbers paint a worrying picture for Scottish Labour leader Anas Sarwar.

I say dream world because if Savanta ComRes’ latest polls are an accurate picture of opinion among voters, it is likely to stay nothing more than a hope rather than a reality.

Scottish Labour’s decline in the last two decades feels terminal and while these polls are early and – as always – any conclusions based on subsamples of national polls should be treated with care, the picture is bleak.

As detailed before, Sarwar’s problem lies in the dwindling section of Scottish voters that are both left leaning and pro-union and value the former more than the latter.

It is obvious the Scottish Conservative plan is to chip away at the pro-union voting public and hope they switch allegiances to Douglas Ross’ party for, most likely, the first time.

The SNP and, to a lesser extent, the Scottish Greens’ long term survival is also dependent on moving constitutionally ambivalent or soft Yes support away from Labour and towards the nationalist cause.

To illustrate the danger for Sarwar’s party, around half of Labour voters think the Greens in power will lead to better energy and climate policy.

One in five think education, housing, health, and employment policy will improve with the Greens in government.

In fact, 24 per cent of Labour voters back the SNP/Green deal and just 57 per cent oppose it, with a further 16 per cent sitting on the fence.

This, twinned with another startling figure that 23 per cent of Labour voters want to see a second referendum regardless of timeframe and 21 per cent of their voters would vote Yes, demonstrates the potential allegiance switches.

Sarwar success depends on convincing large sections of Conservative supporters to vote for his vision of Scotland, but also on a significant portion of the SNP’s voters shifting position while minimising losses in the other direction.

It is a struggle to see how that is achievable if – and it is a big if – the Green deal sees progressive movement on classic Labour comfort zones.

If that happens, don’t be surprised to see voters leaving Sarwar behind.

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