Scotland: Sturgeon and Douglas Ross clash during debate
Chris Hopkins, a pollster with Savanta ComRes, suggested Mrs Sturgeon was likely to be thwarted by an improved performance by the two major parties. Meanwhile, political analyst Professor Tony Travers has suggested Boris Johnson may turn to a “Project McFear” to reinforce the financial case for Scotland remaining in the union.
The survey, commissioned by The Scotsman, indicates support for the SNP in the constituency contest has slipped three points to 42 percent, with the Tories up two points to 25 percent and Labour down two to 22.
In the list vote, a form of proportional representation which runs parallel, the SNP is down two to 34, with the Tories up one on 23 and Labour unchanged on 19.
With specific reference to attitudes towards independence, 54 percent would vote no in a future referendum on the subject, with 46 percent saying they would vote yes.
Nicola Sturgeon speaks during last night’s BBC debate
Savanta ComRes’ poll indicates a dip in SNP support
In terms of net favourability, Mrs Sturgeon’s figure fell two points to +14, with recently installed Scottish Labour leader Anas Sarwar on +11 (up two). Liberal Democrat Willie Rennie is down six to -1, while Scottish Conservatives leader Douglas Ross is -14, up one point.
According to electionpolling.co.uk’s swingometer, such a set of results would leave the SNP six seats short of an outright majority in Holyrood.
However, with the Green Party potentially taking up to nine list seats according to this poll, three up on 2016, there would be more pro-independence MSPs in Holyrood than five years ago.
READ MORE: Irish ex-diplomat admits bloc bullying Dublin
Nicola Sturgeon and Douglas Ross clash during last night’s debate
Mr Hopkins said: “If these polling figures play out on Thursday’s vote it’ll likely leave the SNP short of the majority they desire and is a fair reflection of a 2021 in which the UK government performance, and a new Scottish Labour leader, have helped shore up the vote in Scotland for the main unionist parties.
“Falling a little short of a majority is still ultimately a dominant performance from the SNP, and their disappointment should only be felt in the context of significant poll leads towards the end of 2020, where a disastrous year for a new Conservative government in Westminster, a lack of a Brexit deal and the first of murmurings at dissatisfaction with Keir Starmer were contributing to unprecedented numbers for the SNP and for independence.
Sturgeon rumbled — England ‘helped Scotland rebel against French’ [EXPLAINED]
Edward received new title as Queen gift before attempt to heal union [INSIGHT]
Nicky Campbell’s BBC work left him unsurprised at Brexit vote [EXPOSED]
The various party leaders prior to last night’s BBC debate
Nicola Sturgeon on the campaign trail yesterday
The difficulty for the SNP is the certainly if they held a second referendum which Westminster allowed, if they didn’t win it, it would be very bad for the nationalist cause
“However, with some constituency races very tight, these numbers do not even necessarily present bad news for the SNP, and if the drop in support we’ve seen in 2021 can be restricted to areas they’re already strong, Thursday could still yield a strong, pro-independence feel to Holyrood when MSPs return.”
Asked of his predictions about election, Prof Travers, director of LSE London, told Express.co.uk: “It does come down to the knife edge nature of the absolute majority. Even if the SNP gets an absolute majority, Sturgeon sounds to be wearing out rushing into another referendum.
“The difficulty for the SNP is the certainly if they held a second referendum which Westminster allowed, if they didn’t win it, it would be very bad for the nationalist cause.
A breakdown of voting in the 2014 independence referendum
“They have got to be certain that if they hold a second referendum, they can win it.
“Quebec is the model for this. The Quebecois held two referendums and lost both and that rather did for them.”
Prof Travers agreed that in the event of a second referendum, pro-Unionists were likely to mount a vigorous campaign to spell out the dangers of going it alone – something he acknowledged as a kind of “Project McFear”.
He said: “If there is another referendum, very much more effort will be made by the UK Government to point out some of the consequences.
Unionists are likely to focus on the economic cost of independence next time, said Prof Travers
“I think the Scots position, economic position leaving the UK, particularly after what’s happened with COVID would be very, very much more difficult.
“Undoubtedly the change would be vastly bigger for Scotland than it was for the UK because of Brexit.
“Scotland would inherit a large chunk of the UK’s very large deficit and at the moment relies very substantially on cross border transfers from the UK exchequer and all that stuff.
Savanta ComRes interviewed 1,001 Scottish adults aged 16+ online between April 30 and May 4 May 2021.