TNS: Poll points to SNP general election success, but lower Scottish turnout than referendum

Posted On: 
10th February 2015

TNS press release

Nearly two thirds of adults in Scotland say they are certain to vote in the May general election, suggesting that the vote will not see the high turnout – 85% – witnessed in the September 2014 independence referendum, according to new polling by TNS.

In the survey of 1006 adults aged 18 and over, 64% said they were certain to vote on May 7th, the same as the turnout figure at the last general election in 2010 – highlighting that the high levels of engagement seen in the referendum campaign are not necessarily here to stay.

Among those who stated a preference and are certain to vote, The Scottish National Party leads  with 41%, double its share of the vote in the 2010 general election.  Labour has 31% (42% in 2010), the Conservatives are on 16% (17%) with 6% backing the Greens (1%), 4% the Liberal Democrats (19%)  and 2% UKIP (1%).

Older people are more likely to vote Conservative or Labour, while support from the Greens is concentrated among younger voters: 22% of 18-34s say they will back the party.

Commenting on the poll, Tom Costley, Head of TNS Scotland said, “It would appear that the high level of turnout for the independence referendum is not going to be replicated, not surprising when you consider the different context between the two events.”

“The turnaround in the Scottish political scene which sees the SNP polling at this level has been widely attributed to traditional Labour voters who voted Yes in the referendum deciding to stay with the SNP. But it is also worth noting that the SNP may well also have benefited from the collapse of the Liberal Democrat vote - from 19 per cent in the 2010 election to 4 per cent in the latest poll”.

Support for all the parties is evenly split between men and women, a contrast with the independence referendum where women were significantly less inclined to vote Yes.

The change in the Scottish Labour leadership, with Jim Murphy succeeding Johann Lamont, appears to have had little impact on the party’s fortunes: only 8% of all voters say they are more likely to vote Labour as a result, with 8% less likely and 77% saying it makes no difference.

Commenting further, Tom Costley said, "It should also be noted that one quarter (26%) of all adults aged 18+ in Scotland, and 24% of those who say they are certain to vote on the day, are currently undecided, suggesting there is still considerable scope for all parties to influence the final results in the next three months.”