Scottish Independence Referendum & Westminster Voting Intention (9-11 January 2024)

January 12, 2024
R&WS Research Team
Approval Rating | GB Politics | GB Public Figures | Scottish Independence | UK Elections | UK Politics | Voting Intention

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Redfield & Wilton Strategies’ first Scottish Westminster Voting Intention poll of 2024 finds that Labour and the Scottish National Party are now tied in Scotland on 35% each.

For context, the SNP came first in Scotland in the 2019 General Election, taking 45% of the vote and 48 seats, with the Conservatives in second, winning 25% of the vote and six seats. Labour came third at 19%, winning only a single Scottish seat.

Altogether the results (with changes from 26-27 November in parentheses) are as follows:

Scottish National Party 35% (+1)
Labour 35% (-1)
Conservative 17% (–)
Liberal Democrat 9% (+3)
Green 2% (–)
Reform UK 2% (-1)
Other 1% (+1)

65% of Scottish voters cite the economy as one of the three most important issues that would determine how they would vote in a General Election, ahead of the NHS (59%). 17% of respondents cite Scottish Independence/The Union as one of the three issues that would most determine their vote if a General Election was held tomorrow. Among 2019 SNP voters Scottish Independence is only the third most commonly selected issue (31%) behind the NHS (63%) and the economy (62%).

Prime Minister Rishi Sunak receives a net approval rating of -24%, up eight points from our last poll at the end of November. Our poll finds 50% (-3) of Scots disapprove of his overall job performance against 26% (+5) who approve.

36% (-5) disapprove of Jeremy Hunt’s performance as Chancellor of the Exchequer, compared to 24% (+4) who approve, giving him a net approval rating of -12% (+9). 

Asked their view on the UK Government, a majority of Scots (59%, -3) say the current UK Government is incompetent. Only 19% (+4) view the UK Government as competent.

On its policy performance, Scottish voters give the UK Government negative net approval ratings on every policy issue listed, including on the NHS (-40%), the economy (-36%), and housing (-33%).

Labour leader Keir Starmer’s net approval rating in Scotland stands at +11%, up ten points from our previous poll. 37% (+6) of Scottish voters approve of Starmer’s job performance, against 26% (-4) who disapprove.

When asked who would be a better Prime Minister between Rishi Sunak and Keir Starmer, 43% (+2) of Scottish voters say Keir Starmer and 24% (+3) say Rishi Sunak. 33% (-5) say they don’t know.

The next Scottish Parliamentary Election is not due to be held until May 2026.

However, when voters are asked who they would vote for if a Scottish Parliamentary Election were held tomorrow, the Scottish National Party’s lead over Labour in our constituency voting intention poll has extended by one point to 5%, while Labour has regained its advantage over the SNP in our regional list voting intention poll to now lead by 5%.

Altogether the results of our Holyrood Constituency Voting Intention poll (with changes from 29-30 October in parentheses) are as follows: 

Scottish National Party 37% (+3)
Scottish Labour 32% (+2)
Scottish Conservatives 18% (-4)
Scottish Liberal Democrats 8% (–)
Scottish Green Party 3% (+1)
Reform UK Scotland 1% (-1)
Alba Party 0% (-2)
Other 1% (+1)

When voters are asked who they would vote for on their regional list ballot, Labour (30%, +3) now leads the SNP (25%, -3) by five points, with the Scottish Conservatives eight points further back in third position on 17% (-4).

Humza Yousaf’s latest net approval rating is -6%, up eight points from last month. 31% (+5) approve and 37% (-3) disapprove of his overall job performance since he became Leader of the SNP and First Minister of Scotland.

A plurality (40%, -3) say the current Scottish Government is incompetent, compared to 32% (+7) who say it is competent.

The Scottish Government earns positive ratings for its policy performance on the coronavirus pandemic (+25%), the environment (+10%), and cultural issues (+8%).

The Scottish Government holds negative net approval ratings for its handling of issues such as housing (-15%), gender reform (-13%), and the NHS (-9%). 39% disapprove of the Scottish Government’s performance on Scottish independence, compared to 35% who approve.

Scottish voters continue to believe Humza Yousaf would be a better First Minister for Scotland than either Douglas Ross or Anas Sarwar

Yousaf (39%, +3) leads Ross (26%, -3) by thirteen points, while Yousaf (33%, –) also leads Sarwar (31%, +2) by just two points.

Our latest Scottish independence referendum voting intention poll finds ‘no’ leading by 1%

47% (-1) of Scottish respondents now say they would vote ‘no’ and 46% (–) say they would vote ‘yes’ if there were to be a referendum tomorrow on whether Scotland should be an independent country. 7 (+1) don’t know how they would vote.

On Monday 22 January, the House of Commons will vote on the second reading of a Government bill to introduce new licensing laws for oil and gas exploration, which would oblige the North Sea Transition Authority, the industry regulator, to hold annual licensing rounds for drilling for oil and gas. 

The bill, which is politically divisive even among Conservative MPs, would have the likely consequence of increasing drilling in the North Sea. The SNP, which opposes the bill, nonetheless supports continued oil drilling in Scottish waters in the North Sea for economic reasons. 

Although the proposed change deeply concerns the Scottish economy, only a little over half (56%) of the Scottish public is currently familiar to any extent with the Offshore Petroleum Licensing Bill (to give the bill its full title), including just 12% who are very familiar with the bill.

In advance of the vote, our poll finds many voters (reflecting their lack of familiarity with the bill) are largely undecided on whether they support it or not.

While 32% of Scottish voters say they support the bill, and 13% oppose it, a majority of 54% say they either don’t know or neither support nor oppose the bill.

However, as regards the overall aims of the bill, Scottish voters are more supportive. A plurality of 45% of Scottish voters say they support the objective of the Offshore Petroleum Licensing Bill, which is to increase the number of available oil and gas drilling licenses. 17% oppose this objective.

Finally, when asked if they would prefer the UK and Scotland to prioritise achieving energy independence or net zero carbon emissions, a majority (52%) of Scottish voters choose achieving energy independence, while only 25% choose achieving net zero.

To find out more information about this research contact our research team. Redfield & Wilton Strategies is a member of the British Polling Council and abides by its rules. Follow us on Twitter

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