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Monday, March 01, 2021

Issues or personalities?

History has shown that political parties divided amongst themselves are punished at the polls, and when that particular party is perceived as being formed around a single issue, then voters will often walk away from previous support on that matter as well.

According to the Independent, a Survation survey of 1,000 Scots for the Sunday Mail found that support for Scottish independence has fallen, losing a lead built in the past nine months that bolstered the confidence of supporters heading into May’s Holyrood elections.

They add that, when undecided voters are removed, support evens out at 50 per cent for both sides. When undecided voters are included, however, the Yes supporting side loses its lead by 44 per cent to 43 per cent, with 13 per cent of people saying they do not yet know how they would vote:

The news comes as the past few days have been dominated by the evidence of former first minister Alex Salmond before the Scottish Parliament Committee on the Scottish Government Handling of Harassment Complaints.

Mr Salmond has previously accused some in the highest echelons of the SNP of engaging in a “malicious and concerted” effort to exclude him from public life, claims he repeated during a six-hour committee appearance.~

Fieldwork for the poll was conducted on Thursday, the day before Mr Salmond appeared before the inquiry, but 39 per cent of those asked, according to the Sunday Mail, said they believe there to have been some sort of “cover up” in the Scottish government’s handling of harassment complaints against the former first minister.

Some 50 per cent said Ms Sturgeon should resign if she is found to have broken the ministerial code in a separate inquiry led by James Hamilton QC, an independent adviser on the code.

In this case it is possible not just that support for the SNP and independence is synonymous with each other, but also that the controversy over Alex Salmond has undermined confidence in the ability of Scotland to govern itself. How the affair will pan out during May's elections has yet to be seen.
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