Nicola Sturgeon seen as doing a good job by Scots for most of her tenure as first minister

Matthew SmithHead of Data Journalism
February 15, 2023, 11:53 AM GMT+0

YouGov tracker data shows a generally positive record for the outgoing Sturgeon, although the recent transgender prisoners furore may have knocked confidence

After more than eight years as first minister of Scotland, Nicola Sturgeon has said that she will be stepping down from the role.

For most of her time as first minister, Scots have felt that Nicola Sturgeon has been doing a good job. The latest survey, conducted in December, showed 52% of Scots saying she was performing well in the role, compared to 39% who said she was doing badly.

YouGov tracker data shows that Sturgeon typically had strong positive margins on this measure from the beginning of 2015 (shortly after she took over from Alex Salmond) and spring 2017, as well as from late 2019 to the latest poll.

Sturgeon’s worst performance period was from spring 2017 to spring 2019, when roughly equal numbers of Scots said she was doing well and doing badly.

That said, the recent furore over Isla Bryson, the transgender rapist sent to a women’s prison, may have knocked the first minister’s approval. While there is not a more recent well/badly poll than December 2022, a favourability survey in January 2023 showed Sturgeon’s rating falling from 50% favourable / 43% unfavourable in early October (corresponding almost exactly with well/badly figures from the same time) to 44% favourable / 48% unfavourable.

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