SNP crisis: Polling guru John Curtice warns Sturgeon support is slipping ahead of key vote

Nicola Sturgeon is 'hiding' behind independence says guest

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Professor John Curtice has crunched the latest polling numbers ahead of the Holyrood vote on May 6 and suggested the SNP could miss out on a majority. The party has vowed to hold a second independence referendum, seven years after the failed 2014 vote, if the party secures a majority of SNP MSPs elected to the Scottish Parliament.

Widespread polling in recent days has put support for independence on a knife-edge and other surveys have the SNP within a grasp of having outright control of Holyrood.

The Professor of Politics at the University of Strathclyde has assessed the data and said support for both independence and the SNP is “lower” than at the beginning of the campaign trail.

He suggested support for the SNP taking Scotland out of the UK could be less than 50 percent, and stated such an outcome “could be the difference between the SNP getting a majority or not”.

He told The Herald: “There’s one pretty major headline.

“If you compare the polls with the beginning of the campaign, support for independence is lower, and support for the SNP is lower.

“This could be the difference between the SNP getting a majority or not, and as that was only about 50 percent at the beginning of the campaign it’s probably less now.

“As people who support the SNP support independence, this is what you’d expect.”

However, Professor Curtice predicted there will still be a majority for independence in the Scottish Parliament – not through the SNP alone – but with the help of the Scottish Greens.

The polling expert forecast the Greens will have a “record performance” at the ballot box.

He also cast major doubts over the prospects of Alex Salmond’s new pro-independence Alba Party.

The former First Minister will stand candidates in the regional lists and outlined plans to create a so-called “supermajority” for leaving the UK.

Professor Curtice said support for the Alba Party is peaking at just three percent – well short of the six percent threshold which is set to be needed to elect an MSP.

He added: “Alba is nowhere. We are seeing them getting 1-3 percent across the polls, except for Panelbase.

“The Lib Dems are staying about the same.

“But there will still be an independence majority because the Greens look as though they could have a record performance.”

The Scottish Labour Party and Scottish Tories are “neck-and-neck” in the constituency vote for second place, according to Professor Curtice.

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The latest survation poll for the Sunday Post was published on April 26 and put the SNP on 50 percent of the constituency vote and 35 percent on the regional list.

It is estimated this would equate to 67 seats for the SNP – a majority of five.

However, a Panelbase survey release on April 27 put the SNP on just 45 percent of the constituency vote.

The poll also found 49.3 percent of people would vote in favour of independence and 50.7 percent would vote against.

Meanwhile, a Savanta Comres survey for the Scotsman, suggested the SNP would lose two seats from the vote in 2016 and fall short of a majority by four.

Ms Sturgeon has said the SNP will not hold an independence referendum immediately if they win a majority on Thursday, and will instead focus on the pandemic.

The SNP has pledged to hold IndyRef2 before 2023.

Ms Sturgeon told BBC radio: “I don’t believe we should propose a referendum right at this moment.

“I’m a lifelong believer in independence, I want Scotland to be independent, but firstly we’ve got to steer the country through the crisis.”
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