Great Britain

Poll: SNP on course for big gains at general election as support for independence grows

The SNP is on course to make substantial gains at next month's general election with the party projected to pick up 13 seats, new polling has found.

A survey of voting intentions across Scotland by pollsters Ipsos Mori puts the SNP on 44 per cent, the Conservatives 26 per cent, Labour 16 per cent, and the Lib Dems on 11 per cent.

Nicola Sturgeon's party is set to make gains at next month's general election, according to new polling. Picture: John Devlin

Nicola Sturgeon's party is set to make gains at next month's general election, according to new polling. Picture: John Devlin

If replicated on December 12, the Nationalists would be up to 48 MPs, while the Tories would lose seven seats to be left with six. Labour would be reduced to just one seat, while the Lib Dems would be unchanged on four.

The survey also found support for Scottish independence has increased slightly on recent polling, with support for the Union now tied 50-50 among voters likely to vote next month.

The last poll on the subject had No on 51 per cent, compared to Yes on 49 per cent, when don't knows were excluded.

But only a third of those surveyed are "strongly support" a vote in 2020 - Nicola Sturgeon’s preferred date - and more are against it than want it.

READ MORE: Pro-Union tactical voting guide launched to thwart SNP

Three quarters (77%) of those with a voting intention say they’ve made up their mind on who they’ll vote for, while just under a quarter (23%) say they may change their mind.

Those who say they’ll vote Conservative or SNP are surer of their vote than those voting Labour or Liberal Democrat. 84% of both SNP supporters and Conservative supporters say they’ve definitely decided, compared with 73% of Labour supporters and 66% of Liberal Democrat supporters.

Brexit is seen as the top issue helping voters decide which party they’ll vote for, with 56% mentioning it (note these are spontaneous, top-of-mind responses, not prompted). Brexit is followed by the NHS (mentioned by 44%), Scottish independence/devolution (34%), education (24%), and protecting the environment/ climate change (8%).

Brexit is particularly important to Conservative and Liberal Democrat supporters (72% and 79% respectively), while Labour supporters are more likely to pick the NHS (by 67% to 39% saying Brexit). While SNP supporters are the most likely to say Scottish independence is very important to how they’ll vote, Brexit remains the top issue for them nonetheless, with 55% mentioning Brexit, 46% Scottish independence and 45% the NHS.

Emily Gray, Managing Director of Ipsos MORI Scotland, said: “The SNP have most reason to be pleased with the findings from our poll. The party looks set to make gains at the general election and Nicola Sturgeon’s personal ratings remain the highest of any of the party leaders. Looking beyond the election, the timing of a second independence referendum remains a difficult balancing act for Nicola Sturgeon, since more of the Scottish public oppose a second referendum being held in the next year than support it.

“While the Conservatives’ share of the vote looks likely to be a little lower than it was at the 2017 general election, the poll has major warning signs for Scottish Labour. Richard Leonard has the lowest satisfaction ratings of any of the Scottish leaders of the four largest parties, and most of the seats the party gained in 2017 look at risk of turning from red to yellow on December 12th.”

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