We finally have a Scottish poll on the Megrahi release. The Mail is reporting a new YouGov poll, which shows 43% of Scots thought that releasing Abdelbasset al-Megrahi was the right decision, with 51% saying it was wrong.

Voting intention questions were asked, but so far I can only find the Holyrood constituency figures, which are CON 16%(+2), LAB 31%(+5), LDEM 16%(+2), SNP 33%(-6). Changes are from the last YouGov poll I can find in Scotland, which was conducted back in April June.

UPDATE: There was one in June too, so changes have been updated.

UPDATE2: Full tables are now available from YouGov here.

Regional voting intention figures are CON 17%, LAB 28%, LDEM 15%, SNP 27%. Westminster voting intention figures are CON 19%, LAB 33%, LDEM 16%, SNP 25%.

Other questions that specifically asked about al-Megrahi showed 69% of people thinking that the decision had diminished Scotland’s international reputation.

Asked about the future of Kenny MacAskill, 32% of people said he should resign over his decision, 20% said they disagreed with his decision, but that he should not resign.

On other questions, asked how they would vote in a referendum on Scottish Independence using the wording that has been proposed by the SNP, 28% would vote Yes, 57% No.

53 Responses to “YouGov poll on al-Megrahi”

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  1. Peter,

    Curiouser & curiouser…..

    I think that we need to look beyond the immediate question of whether it was right or wrong to release Megrahi and consider two other things:

    1 – What the affair tells us about the inter-relation between Edinburgh and London with regard to international diplomacy; and

    2 – Implications of this affair for the standing of the SNP administration in Scotland.

    On 1, I believe that there is much still hidden – and don’t expect it all to be revealed – but two things are apparent:

    a – The SNP administration is not (yet ?) capable of handling international affairs well [see also Trump]. This could have ramifications for voters’ assessment as to how much clout an independant Scotland would really have.

    b – The lack of transparency in Labour government circles and evident willingness to shift blame. As noted in the Populus Megrahi poll reported today, it seems that Brown comes off badly and so Labour will suffer as a result.

    On 2, I think that the drop in SNP support seen in this poll is not directly as a result of voters’ views on the merits of releasing Megrahi. A more plausible explanation is that it marks the end of what has been an extended honeymoon for Salmond as FM.

    It appears that for the past two years the SNP had been in full mastery of Scottish affairs. This may not have been solely due to Salmond’s ability, but down to a combination of no major problems and a lack-lustre opposition / alternative. A similar situation applied to Blair up until about 2001/02. Thus, there were no negatives to reduce SNP support and no positives to enhance support for the (divided) opposition.

    What may now have happened is that voters are no longer willing to suspend their critical faculties, and will look at their choices more carefully. It does not automatically follow that the Megrahi affair will cause SNP support to drop, but it has removed the aura of invincibility.

    The likely electoral impacts are varied. The SNP will still compare favourably against Labour, but voters may now look at all their choices, and this could benefit Cons and LDs in some areas.

    Thus, I don’t think that it will damage the SNP in seats which are a straight SNP / Lab contest. But it will make a difference in those where Con or LD are a realistic proposition – whether currently held by SNP or in 3 or 4 way Lab-held marginals.

    It will be intersting to see what the next Scotland only polls show – though if Brown were to go for an autumn election we may be putting that to a more thorough test.

  2. Although the idea that the SNP did the realease to provoke a row with London now looks unlikely the question remains why did the Scottish Justice Minister allow himself to be used as the fall guy in the deal? Unless he knew the deal would eventually leak out.

  3. David,

    I think Kenny took the view that if he went near anything to do with the prisoner transfer deal he would get involved in all the speculation that we are now seeing.

    He therefore, as a trained lawyer, quite rightly laid all that aside and focused on the legal requirements as set down in Scottish law and the advice of the relevant authoriyties.

    In effect in order to avoid political attacks he decided to treat megrahi just like any other dieing prisoner.

    The public and others may not think he should have but there really is no basis in law for him to have done anything else.

    The irony is that even though he played it straight by the book he is being accused of being nieave for not taking the politics into account by some and of doing so secretly by others.

    He wouldn’t have been able to win whatever he did.

    What idiot would be a politician?

    Oh wait a minute….. me!


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