Survey says SNP to stay sidelined after general election


Supporters of the Scottish alternative – the SNP – could be in for a shock after the general election, as it has been revealed that voters don’t want that party to be involved in any possible future Coalition with either Labour or the Conservatives.

According to leading poll firm YouGov*, less than one in three of Tory or Labour voters who expressed a preference (29 per cent) said they would support a deal between the party they supported and the SNP in order to form a government.

The same poll showed that this figure reduced to less than a quarter of all respondents (regardless of voting intention), who were asked whether they thought it would be “a good or bad thing” if the SNP was part of a Westminster coalition government after the next election. Only 24 per cent of those who expressed a preference thought it would be “a good thing”. The rest clearly thought SNP participation would be “bad”.

This is a blow to the credibility of the SNP, which has been campaigning partly on the basis that the current situation – with most Westminster seats held by Labour – had left Scotland without a voice in a Conservative-run UK, and hardly heard when Labour were in office.

(It’s an argument that could be fought simply by pointing out that Labour established the Scottish Parliament in Holyrood, without which the SNP is unlikely to have been able to gain the popularity it has today – but never mind that. If people aren’t willing to pay attention, they’re not going to.)

Now it seems clear that any party entering into a coalition with the SNP will only do so against the express wishes of the electorate, meaning a Scotland that votes SNP is likely to find itself even less relevant to the UK than before.

This is the clearest evidence of what the rest of the UK thinks about Scottish nationalists and their behaviour since the independence referendum last September.

For the SNP, the message is: You want to sabre-rattle for independence? Fine. Do it north of the border and keep your noses out of our business.

For Scotland as a whole: If you want to be part of UK politics, vote for somebody who wants to be part of the UK.

It seems that, for Scottish nationalism, British voters’ patience has run out.

*A vocal minority of commenters has recently called into question the validity of Vox Political‘s information. If they want to question this one, they should take it up with YouGov.

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  1. Tony Dean February 9, 2015 at 4:15 pm - Reply

    Interesting analysis and report on the impending general election:-

    What makes 2015 a contender for these titles is that our electoral system seems to be collapsing before our eyes. In a new report,

    for the Electoral Reform Society, Professor John Curtice of the University of Strathclyde uses polling data to demonstrate how relatively small shifts in support among the parties can have dramatic effects on the shape of the next Parliament, and therefore the next government.

  2. stephen February 9, 2015 at 11:47 pm - Reply

    As a yes voter in the referendum, and SNP supporter, I’d be happier if we had a minority Labour government with the balance if power held by the smaller parties. That would be some kind if deterrent to the rampant ideological rampage we’ve seen over the last five years meaning if governing party went against the will and interest of the British people (those north and south of the boarder as well as the welsh and northern Irish) the rest of Parliament could stop such legislation.

    On a slightly different note, you seem to have an axe to grind with the SNP that I don’t quite understand. Does the prospect of Scotland leaving the UK really bother you that much?

    • Mike Sivier February 10, 2015 at 12:49 am - Reply

      Not at all – I had no opinion either way in the run-up to the Independence referendum. My opinion of SNP supporters was soured by the behaviour of a vocal number of them, for reasons that should be clear if you read the blog’s articles on Scotland and the relevant comment columns. To be honest, the deeper into it I go, the more the SNP itself appears to be implicated in this behaviour. The party does seem to have a strategy to cause unnecessary disruption to the rest of the UK in order to get what it wants; at least, that’s how it seems to me.

      That being said, your (main) comment seems perfectly reasonable to me. I’m not willing to dismiss an opinion out of hand, simply because it diverges from my own preference.

      • Stephen Gallacher February 10, 2015 at 8:28 am - Reply

        We may have to agree to disagree. The thing to remember is that the SNP, or any political party, are not akin to the Borg collective from Star Trek, they do not all speak with one voice, but are a party of individuals allied on one key issue, as well as several other smaller issues too. While there will be individuals, either party members or supporters, who perhaps want to cause disruption to get what they want, the less vocal majority are probably quite happy with there views being expressed in a grown up way through the proper channels.
        While the referendum result was disappointing (vote count rigging allegations aside), it has given the people of Scotland a chance to see the Westminster political elite for what it is; a bunch of career politicians who’ll say anything to preserve their precious “Union”, despite being outed as liars whole hours after the referendum result.

        • Mike Sivier February 10, 2015 at 11:50 am - Reply

          Why do we have to disagree? You suggested that a minority Labour government tempered by the minor parties would be a good idea, and I haven’t disagreed with that.

          If you’re saying the SNP should have a loud voice or deciding vote among those parties, we will differ. I’ve already told you my opinion has been coloured by the behaviour of a vocal number of SNP supporters – but the party itself has done nothing to denounce or silence them, therefore it must support their actions. Your opinion on the “less vocal majority” is based on what, exactly? Wishful thinking? They’re probably just trying to keep their heads down and ignore all the noise and silliness – and that’s just as valid a viewpoint as yours, before you suggest otherwise.

          Your claim about the referendum result is let down by the fact that you lump all of the Westminster parties and personalities together – it’s a common failing in Scottish nationalist thinking. Think back to that Friday morning last September – who let us all down? David Cameron did. The Conservative. Not Ed Miliband, the Labour Party, or even Gordon Brown. Jim Murphy wasn’t even on the horizon at the time. Not even the Liberal Democrats. Just David Cameron and his Conservative Party – who, with only one Parliamentary seat north of the border, had very little to lose.

          Labour has been working very hard to restore confidence since then, but the behaviour of those vocal SNP/nationalism supporters has turned this Labour voter away from impartiality and against those people. It could have been different, but this is how they wanted it. While those people pretend to speak for Scotland, other people across Britain – including in Scotland – will find them as toxic as I do.

      • Matt Leavey February 10, 2015 at 11:14 am - Reply

        Okay. So, in a poll of 1523 people (weighted figures) where 145 are from Scotland, (9.5%, so a little above the demographic for Scotland, but interestingly still small enough to have a negligible effect on the results) the opinion is that a coalition with the SNP would be a “bad thing”. That does not surprise me one bit. Not considering the tide of anti-Scottish rhetoric that is flowing from government, media, etc. etc. I don’t have an issue with the figures here at all.

        What does surprise me is that you’ve chosen to interpret this one stat from a whole survey as a “blow to the credibility of the SNP”. How? The SNP, as far as I am aware, have so far categorically stated that they will not collaborate with the Conservatives, but have yet to declare whether or not they will work with Labour. They aren’t fighting a campaign based on whose side they’ll be on, they’re fighting it on gaining as strong a voice as possible to best represent the people of Scotland. Speaking as a neutral (I’m not affiliated to any party, nor would I consider myself to be an SNP supporter), even I recognise that the standard of “credibility” for the Nats is the number of elected MPs they return, and the bargaining power that they are able to garner, irrespective of which other party forms the working government.

        “Now it seems clear that any party entering into a coalition with the SNP will only do so against the express wishes of the electorate, meaning a Scotland that votes SNP is likely to find itself even less relevant to the UK than before.” How so? The polls suggest a slight lead for Labour, (in spite of the catastrophic forecasts north of the border), but not one that will result in an overall majority. There will likely be another hung parliament, one where the government will be formed by the party that is able to “command the confidence of the house” NOT (as Margaret Curran is so keen on wrongly claiming) the largest party. It’s about who will work with who. Why should the SNP agree to any coalition if it were detrimental to their aims? Compromising ones principles, it would seem (particularly for the poor Lib Dems), is political suicide – so why would they want to? The most advantageous outcome for them, as pointed out above, is that they remain unattached but retain the “casting vote”. Personally, I think the result would be chaos, can you imagine middle englanders putting up with a situation where the Nats get final say? Can’t see that happening. What terrifies me most of all is the possibility of a Labour/Conservative coalition, and if anything THAT is what we should be fighting against.

        As a side note, I think it’s also worth pointing out that although the Scottish Parliament was brought about under a Labour administration, Labour campaigned _against_ devolution prior to the ’97 referendum… though a surprisingly large number of Labour party members seem keen to forget that little fact. You are, of course, correct to point out that the SNP’s popularity owes much to the existence of the Scottish Government, but perhaps it owes just as much, if not more, to their conduct and record in while in office. As I said before, I’m not an SNP voter, but I can’t help but be impressed by what they’ve achieved in office. Let’s hope that their experience of consensus politics can be used to effect positive change.

        • Mike Sivier February 10, 2015 at 11:34 am - Reply

          You state yourself that the SNP has been working on “gaining as strong a voice as possible” (we differ on whether this is to “best represent the people of Scotland”, who voted against Independence last year but are being pulled towards it nevertheless). In order to be a credible force in the general election and afterwards, that party needs to be able to establish itself in Westminster – but the survey shows that the electorate won’t put up with such a thing. They don’t want the SNP to have anything to do with the decision-making process. So much for the “strong voice” – they won’t have any bargaining power.

          Margaret Curran isn’t necessarily wrong if she’s talking about the largest party forming a government – that was the Liberal Democrat excuse for falling in with the Tories (although we know that, in fact, the two parties had made their deal two months before the general election).

          You ask why the SNP should agree to a coalition if it’s detrimental to that party’s aims. You do understand, don’t you, that the SNP is campaigning on the basis that Labour are traitors to socialism because they worked with the Conservative Party to ensure a ‘No’ vote during the Independence referendum? Having created that kind of enmity, it is unlikely anybody in Labour will want to work with the SNP – it would be an unreliable alliance. Turning your own claim around, why would Labour want to compromise its principles by working with the SNP?

          As you state, the most advantageous outcome for the SNP would be to retain the deciding vote – but a minority Labour government would very quickly tire of the incessant demands for moves towards Scottish independence that this would engender; all that this would do is move us towards another general election and the possibility of a Tory return (as the electorate, sick of Scottish Nationalist demands, turns to the party that is least likely to give in to them). If you yourself can’t see the nationalists having a deciding vote, then what does that say about their credibility as a political force in Westminster?

          Your comment about a Labour/Conservative coalition is utterly ridiculous, of course. You’ve been listening to too much SNP propaganda there, it seems.

  3. Thomas M February 10, 2015 at 3:47 am - Reply

    The SNP have their problems but they are much better then UKIP. I’d rather have Labour/SNP then Tory/UKIP in charge.

  4. Joan Edington February 10, 2015 at 3:42 pm - Reply

    I’m really enjoying your posts these days Mike. You sound more like Nigel Farage every day. Or maybe the Daily Mail, trying to whip up hatred. I don’t question the YouGov poll, except on your assumption that if someone didn’t day “good” they must have said “bad”. I have filled in a lot of their surveys and they always allow an “I don’t know” answer. I also don’t believe that all non-Scots are as virulent against us as you like to make out. Maybe you could read the article at It is a Scottish site, I know, but the article is by an English woman.

    • Mike Sivier February 10, 2015 at 4:34 pm - Reply

      How silly. The operative phrase refers to those who have “expressed a preference”.
      I can’t say I’m interested in reading BellaCal. Like Wings over Bristol, it’s too much of a propaganda site, if memory serves correctly.

      • Joan Edington February 10, 2015 at 6:47 pm - Reply

        I thought you might say that. That is why I mentioned the fact but the article is not by one of those “scum Nats” you so despise but by a very sensible and articulate English woman. Not all web sites are as biased as your blog these days.

        • Mike Sivier February 10, 2015 at 7:26 pm - Reply

          And yet you are ascribing phrases like “scum Nats” to me when I never ever use such terms.
          Check back through Vox Political and you’ll find I haven’t ever referred to any nationalist – of any kind – in that manner.
          So the rest of us have to ask ourselves: What are you trying to achieve?

          You write decent comment when the article is about any other subject, Joan – why does your judgement fail you on this one?

          • Joan Edington February 10, 2015 at 8:03 pm

            Apologies Mike. The quote marks weren’t intended to be an actual quote, rather an attitude that has been strengthening as the election draws closer.
            By the way, WOS is not from Bristol, the contact address is in Edinburgh although the main blogger is an ex-pat now living in Bath, who started the blog simply because he saw the total MSM bias of the Unionists up to and during the referendum campaign, and felt someone ought to put out some balance. It is a semi-humorous site and much can be taken with a pinch of salt, amongst some very sensible ideas. Unfortunately, some of the commenters don’t seem to know which is which. Bella Caledonia, although obviously pro-independence, is an online magazine with contributors from many other countries. It accepts articles from independent (sorry for the pun) sources, as is the one I mentioned.

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