Labour are to blame for the crisis in Britain’s economy according to an opinion poll published this week.
The result was welcome news for the SNP whose final conference, before the Holyrood elections next year, ends on Sunday.
The survey(1) shows that 2 in 5 Scots adults (42%) believe the previous UK Labour administration are to blame for the forthcoming cuts in public spending while 39% believe it is the current UK government and 13% think that the SNP are culpable.
Despite the SNP’s Alex Salmond being the most popular leader of all the parties, the nationalists are frustrated by Labour’s lead in the opinion polls. This latest Ipsos MORI poll will give a boost to the party activists as they head home from Perth.
Economy and jobs will be a deciding factor in deciding who will enter Bute House on May 6th next year.
Labour are clearly anxious that they are vulnerable on the subject. Iain Gray, the party’s leader in the Scottish parliament, at First Minister’s Questions’ referred to the current state of the Scottish economy as the “Salmond’s slump”. This is despite the fact that almost all economic powers that can effect change on the Scottish economy are reserved to the Westminster parliament.
With over 80% of voters thinking that the crisis has been caused by the current or the previous Westminster governments the SNP have spotted an opportunity to push the party’s principle goal of independence. In a speech to the conference, the party’s Finance Minister John Swinney told 1200 conference delegates that ‘The Union is damaging Scotland’.
As the largest parties in Scotland the SNP and Labour’s campaign strategists will be acutely aware of how the Scottish electorate perceive the causes of the crisis. This debate will grow in intensity as public sector cuts arrive and the elections near.
To close the gap with Labour the SNP have an advantage that they would be remiss not to exploit.
1) The Ipsos MORI poll was conducted by telephone and surveyed a thousand Scottish voters.