There is a new YouGov poll in the Sunday Times covering Scottish voting intentions.

Voting intentions in Westminster (with changes since YouGov’s last poll of Westminster voting intentions, conducted in January 2007) are CON 14%(-2), LAB 40%(+5), LDEM 15%(-4), SNP 31%(+3). We can see a relatively modest BRown boost here at the expense of the Conservatives and the Lib Dems, but also an increase for the SNP post their victory at Holyrood.

Compared to the last general election however it reflects a larger shift in support, with the SNP up from 18% in 2005 and the Liberal Democrats down from 23%. Not that, if this was repeated at an actual general election, it would produce many changes. John Curtice suggests in the Sunday Times that this would equate to the SNP gaining 2 seats, Labour 1 and the Liberal Democrats losing 3. If the Liberal Democrats do drop support at the next Westminster election, Scotland where they have lots of pretty safe seats wouldn’t be bad place to lose it!

Holyrood voting intention, with changes from the last YouGov poll (conducted for the SNP in June) are, at the constituency level, CON 12%(-2), LAB 32%(+1), LDEM 12%(nc), SNP 32%(-6); at the regional level CON 13%(-1), LAB 32%(+4), LDEM 12%(+2), SNP 35%(+2).

Approval figures for Alex Salmond and his administration are very high – 65% think Salmond is doing well as leader of the government (including a majority of Conservative, Labour and Liberal Democrat supporters). 64% think the SNP are doing well as the government.

There also seems to be widespread support for a referendum on independence, with 74% of respondents in favour, though most (44%) of this is people who would support a multi-option referendum rather than a straight yes or no question on independence (30%). Should there be a referendum it looks as though giving more powers to the Scottish Parliament would be more popular than outright independence, given the choice 23% would opt for full independence, 39% would prefer more powers for the Scottish Parliament, 29% would perfer either the status quo or abolition of the Scottish Parliament.

Of course, we don’t know how those people who supported more powers but not independence would split in a straight choice between independence or the status quo. YouGov did however ask what would make people who didn’t favour independence change their mind, 13% of people said they might support independence if Alex Salmond did well as First Minister, 12% said they might favour it were the Conservatives to return to power in Westminister. 51% however said they would never support independence. This equates to about 43% of the Scottish population as a whole, suggesting that the SNP would need to win over the vast majority of floating voters were they ever to achieve a majority in favour of independence.


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