New findings by TNS have found the Scottish Nationalist Party is still well ahead in the polls, despite recent criticisms over their record in power.
The recent study of 1034 over 16s in Scotland found 58% of those expressing a preference would vote for the SNP at constituency level in the upcoming Scottish Parliamentary Elections. However, Scottish Labour have gained ground on the party of Government, gaining three points to reach 24%.
The Conservatives remain unchanged at 12%, and the Liberal Democrats dropped one point to 4%.
Nicola Sturgeon also emerged as the most popular party leader in the UK, scoring 44% in favourability, whilst just 25% dislike the SNP leader. Although liked by 82% of SNP supporters, Sturgeon is more popular amongst Labour supporters (32%) than Scottish Labour leader Kezia Dugdale (25%).
Dugdale was liked by only 7% of respondents, whilst almost half of respondents (46%) said they did not even know who she was.
“It’s worth bearing in mind that the Scottish Labour Conference took place towards the end of the survey period,” said Tom Costley, Head of TNS Scotland. “The exposure Kezia Dugdale had around that event is likely to have raised her profile.”
Leader of the Scottish Conservatives, Ruth Davidson, was liked by 11% of respondents, but was disliked much less (35%) than Prime Minister David Cameron (61%).
The SNP has received numerous criticisms in recent weeks, with poor figures on the Scottish NHS, increasing Scottish student debt, and Scotland’s continuous rise in unemployment rates. Plus, disappointing figures on the SNP’s pledge for 100% renewable electricity target, and a predicted rise in child poverty in Scotland.
Dugdale, speaking at the Scottish Labour conference in September, said: “I say to the SNP after eight years in charge – I will judge you on your record. And I will judge you above all on your record on education.
“Every child you have left behind, well that neglect offends this Labour movement. Every single one of the 6,000 children, who has left a Scottish primary school this year, on your watch, first minister, unable to read properly.
“Well that record disgraces this nation and it constrains its future.”
The Scottish Parliamentary Elections will be held on 5th May 2016.