Could Labour Profit From Nicola Sturgeon’s Resignation?
What Scotland Thinks
by John Curtice
1M ago
Scottish Labour meet in Edinburgh this weekend in better heart than for a long time. The party outpolled the Conservatives in last May’s local elections, the first time it had done so in a Scotland-wide ballot since 2016. Almost every poll conducted since the beginning of last year has suggested that the party has now reclaimed the mantle of principal challengers to the SNP. Now, the party is said to believe that Nicola Sturgeon’s resignation yesterday will create an opportunity to make further progress. Meanwhile, the party’s recent advances across Britain as a whole have opened up the prospe ..read more
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Does the Future of Gaelic Lie in Young People’s Hands?
What Scotland Thinks
by Rachel Whitford
3M ago
Scotland is currently preparing to enjoy Hogmanay, one of the distinctive highlights of the country’s cultural and social calendar. We thought we would mark the occasion by reprising a piece of ScotCen research unveiled during the year that looked at attitudes towards another distinctive feature of Scottish life and culture – the Gaelic language. The research, undertaken for Bòrd na Gàidhlig, was based on data collected (via the ScotCen panel) as part of the 2021 Scottish Social Attitudes (SSA) survey. Many of the questions had previously been asked on the 2012 SSA so as well as giving us a sn ..read more
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The COVID-19 Pandemic and Support for Independence
What Scotland Thinks
by John Curtice
4M ago
One remarkable development during the COVID-19 pandemic was a marked if temporary increase in the level of support for independence. Every published opinion poll conducted between June 2020 and January 2021 had Yes ahead of No when people were asked how they would vote in response to the question that appeared on the referendum ballot paper in 2014. This was the first time ever that polling had so consistently put independence ahead. There was circumstantial evidence that some people’s views on independence had been influenced by the widespread perception that the Scottish Government was handl ..read more
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Back to the Ballot Box: Prospects for the Local Elections
What Scotland Thinks
by John Curtice
4M ago
Just twelve months after last year’s Holyrood election, Scotland goes to the polls again this week. This time the ballot is for all 1,226 seats on Scotland’s 32 councils. The electoral system, however, is very different. The local elections will be held using the Single Transferable Vote (STV) system of proportional representation that was first introduced in 2007. Under this system voters are invited to rank the candidates in their ward in order of preference – expressing as many or as few preferences as they wish. Nearly all wards in Scotland elect three or four councillors. In a three membe ..read more
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A Natural Fit? The Greens in Government
What Scotland Thinks
by John Curtice
4M ago
Being a junior partner in government can be a painful and difficult experience. Just ask the Liberal Democrats, who still have to recover from the fallout from their decision in 2010 to enter into a coalition with the Conservatives at Westminster. Yet, so far at least, the decision of the Scottish Greens, who meet in conference in Stirling this weekend, to take two junior ministerial positions in the SNP-led Scottish Government does not seem to have done them any harm at all. Since the agreement between the two parties was announced at the very end of August last year, the party’s poll rating ..read more
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Attitudes towards the Scottish and UK Governments – is there still a ‘halo effect’?
What Scotland Thinks
by Alex Scholes
4M ago
The latest Scottish Social Attitudes (SSA) report on attitudes to government is published today. Given the ongoing coronavirus restrictions in place when the 2021/22 survey was conducted (October 2021 to March 2022), it could not be conducted as previously by face-to-face interviews in participants’ homes. Instead all interviews were conducted over the telephone. This difference in the way the survey was conducted, and its effect on who took part, makes comparison with the results of previous editions of the survey more difficult than it usually would have been. Nevertheless, the 2021/22 surve ..read more
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Attitudes towards the Economics of Independence – An Update
What Scotland Thinks
by John Curtice
4M ago
Today Nicola Sturgeon is releasing the latest and most important instalment in the Scottish Government’s series of white papers intended to make the case for independence. The latest publication will address the economy and currency. This is an important development in the independence debate. Attitudes towards the economy played a key role in voters’ decisions in the 2014 referendum, while the question of what currency an independent Scotland would and should use proved one of the most contentious during the referendum campaign. Much may rest on how well or badly today’s publication is receiv ..read more
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How Much of a Challenge Do Labour Pose to the SNP?
What Scotland Thinks
by John Curtice
4M ago
Nicola Sturgeon speaks to her party’s annual conference in Aberdeen today facing a rather different political landscape than the one in place a few weeks ago. Four polls conducted in the run up to the conference indicate that the sharp swing from Conservative to Labour recorded in the British polls following the ‘fiscal event’ of a fortnight ago has also occurred north of the border, albeit not on the same scale. This inevitably has raised speculation about whether a Labour revival might pose a challenge to the SNP’s electoral dominance of Scotland and thus, perhaps, threaten its plans to try ..read more
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Podcast: Independence, the monarchy, and constitutional reform
What Scotland Thinks
by Ian Montagu
4M ago
Sir John Curtice, Ian Montagu, and Alex Scholes reflect on the constitutional events of the past few weeks, and consider what the accession of a new monarch might mean for the independence debate in Scotland. They examine how views on the monarchy might be structured both north and south of the Border, discuss the current pattern of opinion towards how an independent Scotland should be governed, and cover the key findings from Alex and John’s latest contribution to the British Social Attitudes survey report looking at shifting views towards the union across the constituent nations of the UK. T ..read more
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How The Constitutional Question Has Become More Divisive
What Scotland Thinks
by John Curtice
4M ago
Nicola Sturgeon has a fall-back plan. In her statement in June on how she proposed to set about trying to hold a second independence referendum in the face of opposition from Westminster, she indicated that, if she were unable to hold a legal referendum in October 2023, she would contest the next UK general election as if it were a referendum on Scotland’s constitutional future. If a majority of votes were cast for parties in favour of independence, she would regard that as a mandate to seek talks on independence. Opposition parties have criticised this stance. They have suggested that there i ..read more
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