Westminster voting intentions in Scotland – February 2010
With a general election looming, the latest results from our Scottish Opinion Monitor show that Labour has polled ahead of the SNP for the first time in six months in terms of the Westminster parliament. As reported by the Times and the Scottish Daily Mail, our latest data shows that among those who are “absolutely certain to vote”, Labour’s popularity has increased by 7 percentage points since August 2009. Asked how they would vote if the General Election took place tomorrow, a third (34%) of those absolutely certain to vote would back Labour – a small lead of 2 percentage points over the SNP, and a lead of 17 percentage points over the Scottish Conservatives.
Satisfaction with national party leaders – February 2010
Mirroring Labour’s increased popularity ahead of the general election, our data illustrates an increased positive view of Gordon Brown: people in Scotland are now more likely to be satisfied than dissatisfied (47% compared to 43%) with the job he is doing as Prime Minister – a rise of 6 percentage points since November. Views of Alex Salmond are unchanged since November, with 46% of people satisfied with the job he is doing as First Minister. However, people are equally as likely to be dissatisfied (45%).
By comparison, the Scottish public is less satisfied with David Cameron: 39% of people are satisfied with the way he is doing his job as leader of the Opposition, while 44% are dissatisfied. While people are more likely to be satisfied than dissatisfied with the job Nick Clegg is doing as leader of the Liberal Democrats (38% compared to 27%), over a third (35%) do not have a view.
Consistent with our data from November, the majority (61%) of people in Scotland believe that a Labour Government in Westminster would be the best outcome for Scotland. Significantly, this view is also held by non-Labour supporters, with 63% of SNP and 65% of Liberal Democrat supporters saying that a Labour Government would be the best outcome.
However, while people in Scotland believe that the Labour party would be best for Scotland, they are less convinced about Gordon Brown. Just over half (51%) believe that he would make a more capable leader than David Cameron, while 31% believe David Cameron would make a more capable leader. Interestingly, 13% of people who believe a Labour Government would be best for Scotland also believe David Cameron would make the more capable leader. People’s views would suggest that Cameron is more popular than his party in Scotland (31% compared to 25%). Conversely, Brown is less popular than his party (51% compared to 61%).
Holyrood voting intentions in Scotland – February 2010
Despite being overtaken by Labour in the Westminster elections, our latest data shows that the SNP maintains a strong position in voting for the Scottish Parliament. Asked how they would vote if the elections to the Scottish Parliament took place tomorrow, two fifths (36%) of those absolutely certain to vote would use their first vote to support the SNP – a lead of 7 percentage points over Scottish Labour whose share of the vote has fallen by 3 percentage points since November to 29%. The popularity of the Scottish Conservatives and the Scottish Liberal Democrats has increased by 2 and 3 percentage points respectively (14% and 15%).
People in Scotland continue to be considerably more optimistic about the future of the UK economy than they are about the Scottish economy, though people generally have a more pessimistic view on the economy than three months ago.
Just over a third (35%) think the current economic condition in the UK will improve over the next 12 months – a fall of 14 percentage points since November 2009. 37% now feel it will get worse.
During the same period, the proportion of people who feel Scotland’s economy will improve has a fallen by 8 percentage points: 28% of people think it will improve. 38% feel it will get worse.
Unemployment continues to be the biggest concern for people in Scotland
Unemployment remains the biggest concern for people in Scotland. Two in five (42%) mention unemployment as an important issue facing Scotland. Other important issues are the economy (34%), education (28%), the NHS (22%) and crime (18%).
There are some notable differences in relation to the key issues mentioned by people in Scotland and those in Britain generally. Across Britain the economy is seen as the most important issue (48%), while immigration (29%) and crime (25%) are viewed as other key issues, much more so than they are in Scotland.
For the Scottish Public Opinion Monitor, Ipsos MORI interviewed a representative sample of 1,006 adults aged 18+ across Scotland by telephone 18-21 February. Data are weighted to match the profile of the population of Scotland. The question on most important issues was open-ended.
Ipsos MORI's Issues Index is conducted monthly and provides an overview of the key issues concerning Great Britain. The questions are open ended. Ipsos MORI interviewed a representative quota sample of 1,005 adults aged 18+ across Great Britain. Interviews were conducted face-to-face between 4-9 February 2010. Data are weighted to match the profile of the population.