What does Scotland think?
First opinion poll of 2023 published

Strategic Advisory firm True North has published Scotland’s first comprehensive public opinion poll of 2023.

The poll – undertaken by Survation – addresses key issues affecting people across Scotland today, including cost of living, energy, business, the environment, politics and the constitution.

The results were previewed at a special event held at Aberdeen’s Robert Gordon University and hosted by True North for North East business leaders and university staff and students with analysis by Professor Sir John Curtice, the UK’s leading expert on public and social attitudes.

Professor Sir John Curtice said:

“Following on from polling conducted shortly before Christmas that pointed in the same direction, today’s poll suggests that the spike in support for independence registered after the Supreme Court judgement on indyref2 has proven to be temporary. At 46%, support for Yes in today’s poll is little different from the 47% figure Survation obtained when they previously addressed the issue last August.

“Meanwhile, the poll suggests that, at 43%, support for the SNP would be well below the 50% mark that Nicola Sturgeon would like to surpass at the next general election – though it also suggests that, at present, fewer than half would vote for pro-independence parties in a Holyrood ballot too.

(From left to right) Fergus Mutch, John Curtice and Geoff Aberdein

“However, there is no evidence in the poll that fighting the next election as a ‘de facto’ referendum would reduce the level of SNP support. Rather, slightly more voters (45%) say that they would vote for the SNP in that circumstance. In truth, if the SNP are going to win over 50% of the vote in either kind of election, the party will need first to persuade more people of the case for independence.

“Scotland enters 2023 deeply pessimistic about the prospects for the country’s economy. In truth, voters are far from convinced that either the Scottish or the UK government have the right policies to turn things around, though they are particularly sceptical about the policies emanating from Westminster. Not least of the reasons is that around seven in ten Scots (71%) think that the cost of living crisis is going to get worse and they are far from convinced that that the windfall tax on energy companies has been effective in reducing their bills.

“Meanwhile, despite the current debate about climate change, most people in Scotland think that the energy industry in Scotland has had a positive impact on the UK and Scottish economies, and that, for so long as the UK continues to need oil and gas supplies, they are best sourced from within the UK rather than via imports. Indeed, this is one topic on which both nationalist and unionist supporters largely agree.”

True North periodically conducts polling on key issues to help underpin the advice provided to clients with a strong evidence base.

Note from Survation on Holyrood party leader ratings:

Regarding favorability ratings for Scottish leaders, Willie Rennie is listed rather than Alex Cole-Hamilton. This is an error on our part resulting from checking the question framing from previous surveys.

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