Poll: Ruth Davidson more popular with Scots than Sturgeon

Support for independence is now at 48%, according to Ipsos MORI research.

Ruth Davidson is more popular with Scots than Nicola Sturgeon, according to a new poll commissioned by STV News.

The Scottish Conservative leader’s net satisfaction sits at +31, 17 points ahead of the First Minister on +14. The Prime Minister finds herself out in front of the SNP chief too, leading Sturgeon by two points on net satisfaction, at +16.

The research, conducted for the broadcaster by Ipsos MORI, also shows a slight increase in support for independence.

Today, 48% of Scots certain to vote in another referendum would back Yes while 52% would vote No.

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Mark Diffley, director at Ipsos MORI Scotland, said: “The summer was dominated by the fallout from the Brexit vote and the impact it may have on support for independence. It is clear from this poll that, despite the UK-wide vote contradicting the wishes of the majority in Scotland, Brexit has not resulted in a surge in support for independence.

“However, at 48% among committed voters, it remains entirely possible that a second referendum campaign could be won by supporters of independence.”

The Conservatives will seize on the satisfaction ratings for Nicola Sturgeon, which Ipsos MORI has tracked for STV News since the height of the independence referendum campaign.

While a majority of Scots (54%) remain satisfied with with the Nationalist leader she also attracts a high dissatisfaction score – 40% of Scots report themselves unhappy with her performance as First Minister.

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This represents a fall in net satisfaction in Sturgeon of 22 points on April.

Opposition leader Ruth Davidson, who took her party from third to second place and more than doubled her seat tally at May’s Holyrood election, beat the First Minister in both the satisfaction and net satisfaction stakes.

The Edinburgh Central MSP is doing a good job according to 55% of Scots and enjoys a net satisfaction rating of +31. Only 24% declare themselves dissatisfied with Davidson’s performance.

Forty-seven per cent of Scots are happy with the job Theresa May is doing as Prime Minister, set against 31% who are unhappy. May took over at Number 10 in July after David Cameron resigned in the wake of the Brexit vote.

Public opinion on Scottish Labour leader Kezia Dugdale remains static, with 32% satisfied in her leadership and 42% dissatisfied. Her -10 net rating is a one point increase on her rating from April.

UK Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn has seen his popular fall further north of the border. Fifty-five per cent of Scots are unhappy with Corbyn’s leadership while 29% are happy, giving the left-winger an overall score of -26, a tumble of 19 points since April.

Brexit appears not to have shifted public opinion on independence substantially.

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Fifteen per cent of voters said the UK’s impending departure from the European Union had altered their view on independence but 79% said it had not.

However, the SNP will take succour from the poll’s findings on undecided voters, who make up 6.5% of respondents. Of those, 36% backed the Union prior to the EU referendum but now say they are undecided but only 14% have gone from supporting independence to undecided.

The poll suggests a majority of Scots do not want a second independence referendum within the next two years.

When asked 54% of Scots said they disagreed with holding a second vote on independence with only 41% wanting another referendum within the next two years.

The legal process for the UK leaving the European Union is expected to take at least two years from the point at which the Prime Minister triggers Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty.

Ipsos MORI conducted telephone interviews with 1000 respondents 16 years and over between September 5 and 11.


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