Labour has gained ground on the SNP since the last general election, a new poll has said – but Humza Yousaf’s party remains Scotland’s most popular by far.
Labour won 28% backing in a YouGov poll of 2,800 Scots, up from its historic low of just 18% in 2019’s general election, while the SNP saw its support drop five points to 40%, according to the pollster.
In the poll, which was carried out between January 23 and April 20, the Conservatives fell back into third place. Their support dropped to 17%, YouGov said, down from their general election score.
Keith Brown of the SNP said it was “brilliant to see the SNP is still by far the most trusted party across Scotland but we take absolutely nothing for granted”. However, Jackie Baillie of Scottish Labour said it was “clear that Scotland is ready for change and Labour will be the party to deliver it”.
Labour’s climb in the polls, YouGov said, was not just from one side of the constitutional debate, with it picking up support from Yes and No voters.
Meanwhile, among supporters of independence the party is up eight points, the pollster said, with the SNP losing the same percentage of voters.
But, YouGov said, while around the same proportion of Scots would back breaking off from the UK as in 2014, when asked about what the top three issues facing the Scotland at this time just a third of Yes voters choose independence.
The poll said among these voters 62% chose healthcare and 53% chose the economy.
For 2014 No voters, the poll found, 70% chose health, 61% chose the economy, and 42% chose education. Just 4% of those voting to remain in the UK in 2014 chose whether or not Scotland becomes independent as one of three main priorities.
YouGov said Labour was gaining ground among the cohort of Yes voters who do not feel independence was a priority right now, and said the party was up 12 points within this group.
The pollster said while the SNP still held the majority of those more agnostic independence supporters at 59%, the party was down 12 points since 2019.
But those who do see independence as more of a priority at right now, the poll said, are far more loyal to the SNP – with 90% backing the party compared to just 4% who said they backed Labour.
Ms Baillie, Scottish Labour’s deputy leader, said: “It’s clear that Scotland is ready for change and Labour will be the party to deliver it.
“Voters are sick of the sleaze and incompetence of the SNP and the Tories, but this isn’t as good as it gets.
“Labour can put an end to this cycle of division and decline and focus on the issues that really matter – from the cost-of-living crisis to the chaos in our NHS.
“Under Anas Sarwar’s leadership Scottish Labour will continue to earn back the public’s trust so we can deliver the fresh start Scotland deserves.”
A Scottish Conservative spokesman said it was “clear increasing numbers of voters are deserting the feuding, scandal-ridden SNP”.
“While the nationalists are distracted by their own civil war, only the Scottish Conservatives are focused on Scotland’s real priorities,” the spokesman said.
“And voters know that in numerous seats up and down Scotland, we are the only party who can defeat the SNP.”
Mr Brown, the SNP MSP for Clackmannanshire and Dunblane, said: “It is brilliant to see the SNP is still by far the most trusted party across Scotland but we take absolutely nothing for granted.
“Under Humza Yousaf’s leadership, we will continue to work hard to show that the SNP is the only party offering any alternative to the damage of a broken Westminster system.”
“As Keir Starmer drags his pro-Brexit Labour Party to the right to curry favour with the Tories, it’s clear that only by voting SNP can the people of Scotland be assured their priorities will always be put first.
“In every Tory-held seat in Scotland, the SNP are the top challengers – only a vote for the SNP can we ensure we lock the Tories out of power at Westminster.”