YouGov poll confirms desire for change in Scotland


By Dave Taylor

At the end of last week, YouGov polled 1026 in Scotland as to voting intention and attitudes to the referendum.  The full tables are now available so I am able to do a proper analysis of the poll’s findings.


Voting Intention

For Westminster, the SNP now lead Labour by 37% to 35%.  Tories are in 3rd place with 16% and the Lib-Dems languish with only 7%.

Because of new boundaries, there will be fewer constituencies at the next UK election, but according to the election calculator “Scotland Votes” if the current constituencies were still in place then that would result in Labour and the Lib-Dems losing 7 seats each, with all of them going to the SNP.  The Tories would keep their single seat.

For Holyrood, the SNP continue to lead Labour on both the constituency and list sections.  For constituencies SNP lead by 44% to Labour’s 32%, with Tories on 11% and Lib-Dems at 8%.  On the list, the lead is smaller with the SNP on 39% to Labour’s 32%.  Tories on 13% and Lib-Dems on 7%.

“Scotland Votes” suggests that the SNP would still be the largest party on 61 seats (-8) and Labour with 43 (+6).  With the Tories unchanged on 15, and the Lib-Dems gaining 2 (thus requiring more than a taxi for their 7 MSPs), the 3 Greens would be very important.

However, these elections are 3 and 4 years away, and no one seriously uses polling this far out from an election to predict a result.

When asked about who should decide the details of the referendum – timing, questions, voter roll etc – 44% said that the Scottish Government alone should make the decisions, with 39% thinking they “should negotiate the decisions together”.  Only 12% thought this was for the UK Government to decide.

Referendum Issues

One question or two?

46% thought that a “Devo Max” question should be included, while 43% wanted it limited to a straight choice on independence. Not surprisingly, the preference of a “straight choice” was dominated by those intending to vote for Unionist parties. Among Tories, 74% wanted to omit any other option, as did 54% of Labour voters.  The Lib-Dems were equally divided, while SNP voters had 67% in favour of including the second question.


12% (the “usual suspects” – though unlike wartime Casablanca, they won’t be rounded up!) don’t want a referendum at all. Readers won’t be amazed to discover that they comprise 24% of Lib-Dems, 23% of Tories, and 20% of Labour voters. 1% of SNP voters don’t want a referendum either. Presumably they simply want to declare UDI.

While 13% don’t have a preference, those who do largely break along party lines.  66% of SNP voters want it 2014-15, while 61% of Tories, 51% of Labour, and 43% of Lib-Dems want it 2012-13.

How would people vote?

After excluding those who wouldn’t vote in a referendum, people were asked how they would vote in a two question referendum.

“I AGREE that there should be a further significant devolution of all financial matters to the Scottish Parliament while Defence and Foreign policy remain reserved UK issues”


“I AGREE that the Scottish Government should negotiate a settlement with the Government of the United Kingdom so that Scotland becomes an independent state.”

  • 30% would vote for both
  • 28% would choose further powers only
  • 10% would vote for independence only
  • 33% would want the status quo

So this poll confirms others.  Only a third of those in Scotland support the status quo.