The first Scottish voting intention poll since Mr Corbyn's election shows no positive impact on Labour's fortunes north of the border
When supporters of Jeremy Corbyn for Labour leader were challenged on his electability, one of the most common retorts was that he was better placed than anyone else to regain Scotland for Labour. Because of Ed Miliband’s more nuanced position on debt and spending, Nicola Sturgeon was able to paint the Labour Party as ‘Tory-lite’ and position the SNP as the only anti-austerity option out there. The idea was that a Corbyn-led Labour Party would attract Scottish voters back to Labour in their droves.
It’s early days, but there’s absolutely no sign of movement so far. In the first YouGov/Times Scottish voting intention poll since Mr Corbyn became leader, Labour has actually lost a percentage point, down to 21%, and the Conservatives have gained one, up to 19%. The SNP remains at an overwhelming 51%.
When asked specifically if Jeremy Corbyn’s leadership makes you more or less likely to vote Labour, only 15% of Scottish voters say ‘more likely’, compared to 16% of voters in England and 20% of voters in Wales. What’s more, a higher percentage of Scottish voters say Mr Corbyn is performing badly (46%) than say the same in England (44%).
The reality is that the appeal of the SNP in Scotland is much broader than simply anti-austerity. It is a nationalist party, currently buoyed by an atmosphere of successful rebellion against the UK establishment. In the eyes of Scottish voters, Mr Corbyn is still a remote Westminster figure, at the head of a party that has lost its covenant with Scottish voters. Today’s figures reveal the extent of the challenge ahead of him if he hopes to get a message through that will make a difference north of the border. Whatever that message is, it hasn't been heard yet.