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Poll: Two Thirds of SNP Voters Want a Labour Government
The party's message that it doesn't matter who you vote for at the general election is at odds with their own voter base.
Conference season is the moment when parties can tell their own story without being interrupted. The stage is yours and so, after months of careful crafting, the leadership and the their teams roll out a newly polished version of their message - starting with their eve-of-conference interviews.
In advance of his conference, Ed Davey set out a clear, if rather functional, message that the Lib Dems can take seats off the Tories and contribute to beating them. Rishi Sunak attempted to define himself as someone who took long term decisions (though that was somewhat undermined by the HS2 cancellation). Kier Starmer wanted to ram home the idea that his government will be obsessed with growing the UK’s economy.
Humza Yousaf meanwhile has this to say in his interview with Chris Deerin previewing conference:
“Labour will have a message that will resonate with a lot of people, that doesn’t have to be too complex. It’s basically, ‘We’re not them. Get the Tories out.’ And the SNP will have to come up with a convincing message, and I think probably Rutherglen and Hamilton West told us we haven’t crafted it yet.”
Anyone with an ounce of compassion recognises that the First Minister personally has had bigger things to worry about since Saturday. The SNP is not a one-man operation though. A large team will have worked on what the story should be coming out of SNP conference, yet their message seems to be that the SNP doesn’t have a message.
You might think that having lost two parliamentary seats in the last week - one from a swing to Labour in Rutherglen and another from a lurch to the right in East Kilbride - that this is inevitably a difficult moment for the SNP. However, it isn’t like the date of SNP conference, the likely loss in Rutherglen, or the well signposted likely resignation of Lisa Cameron were total surprises. So why don’t the SNP’s strategists have a message going into a pre-election party conference?
I commissioned a poll to help explain.
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SNP Voters Can Spot the Difference
One of two things will happen the day after the General Election: King Charles will ask Rishi Sunak to form a government as Prime Minister or he will ask Keir Starmer to do so. The third option that voters may have imagined in the past - that an SNP vote will deliver a separate Scottish government - is no longer a credible option as even the SNP conference is set to reject the leadership’s attempt at a shortcut to leaving the UK.
Savanta asked voters which of those two outcomes Scottish voters would prefer, regardless of their voting intention. Across all voters, 58% of Scots want a Labour government, 22% want a Tory government and 20% don’t know.
Among those who voted SNP at the last General Election though, their preference is overwhelming: more than two thirds want to see a Labour government. Fewer than a quarter are unsure.
Since Labour’s recovery in Scotland, the approach of the SNP has been to say that there is no difference between a Conservative and a Labour Goverment. Their Deputy Leader at Westminster last week talked about “narrow choice between red Tories and blue Tories.” Their polling day leaflet in Rutherglen told voters that a Labour vote was a wasted vote.
However, those who have previously voted SNP believe, very much, that the outcome of this election matters. Fewer than a quarter of the SNP’s own previous voters are buying the line that both potential governments are the same.
Lack of an independence strategy and lack of a message about a Labour government combine to leave the SNP looking increasingly irrelevant in this election.
This poll suggests there is plenty more room for Labour to eat into the SNP’s vote.
Culture Corner: It must be coming
If I am honest, when I was thinking of an offering for this edition the first thing that came to mind was The Second Coming by Yeats. His lines on the pitiless violent beast slouching unstoppable towards Bethlehem best captured the feeling of hopelessness I have felt since the horrors of the weekend. However, it is important to be hopeful, so here are two alternatives.
First, this from Good Bones by Maggie Smith on the state of The World:
Any decent realtor,
walking you through a real shithole, chirps on
about good bones: This place could be beautiful,
right? You could make this place beautiful.
Or if that is still to cynical for you, how about Ode to the Unbroken World, Which Is Coming by Thomas Lux which invites us to believe:
The unbroken world is coming,
(it must be coming!), I heard a choir,
there were clouds, there was dust,
I heard it in the streets, I heard it
announced by loudhailers
mounted on trucks.