SNP lead in Westminster polling down to four points

Matthew SmithHead of Data Journalism
August 16, 2023, 9:11 AM GMT+0

The SNP lead is also diminishing for Holyrood voting intention

The latest YouGov/Times poll of Scottish voters find that the gap between the SNP and Labour north of the border has increased significantly since our last poll in April.

In terms of Westminster voting intention, the SNP now lead Labour by just four points, at 36% versus 32%. This represents the lowest SNP vote share since 2018, while for Labour this is their best result since the 2014 independence referendum.

In our previous poll, the SNP had held a nine point lead over Labour, at 37% to 28%.

The Conservatives currently take 15% of the vote in Scotland, the Lib Dems and Greens 6% apiece, and Reform UK is on 3%.

When it comes to Holyrood voting intention, the gap between the top two parties is similarly narrow when it comes to the regional vote, although the SNP hold a stronger lead in the constituency vote.

Four in ten of those who intend to vote in Scottish Parliament elections say they will tick the constituency box for the SNP (41%), compared to 31% for Labour, and 14% for the Tories.

In the regional column, 32% will back the SNP, while 28% opt for Labour and 14% again the Conservatives.

These again represent the best results for Labour since 2014, and are likewise close to being the poorest performances for the SNP since 2018.

Independence referendum tracker

Were a new Scottish referendum to be held, the result currently stands at 52% to 48% in favour of No.

Politician favourability and performance

Five months into his tenure, Humza Yousaf is now seen as doing well by 30% of Scots, a seven point increase from June. More still see him doing a bad job, however, at 46%, a four point decrease.

Yousaf’s personal favourability rating has moved in lockstep, with 33% now seeing him favourably (+5) compared to 47% who see him unfavourably (-4).

With media scrutiny of the SNP’s financial irregularities far less intense than it was previously, Nicola Sturgeon’s favourability rating has similarly improved, with 44% now having a positive view (+8) and 49% a negative one (-3).

Scottish Labour leader Anas Sarwar has seen a more modest shift, with 32% saying he is doing well as party leader (+3) and 29% having a favourable view of him (+2). This is set against 28% who think Sarwar is doing badly (-4) and 35% who have an unfavourable view of him (-3).

Among the various politicians we asked about, Mhari Black features for the first time, following news that she will be stepping down at the next election having described Westminster as “one of the most unhealthy workplaces that you could ever be in”.

The young SNP firebrand divides opinion, with 32% having a favourable view of her and 33% an unfavourable one (among SNP voters she is seem positively by most, at 61%).