There is significant interest from the business community and the public in the SNP Leadership Election.

It will determine not just the next leader of the SNP, but the next First Minister of Scotland. At BIG, our aim is to help our clients – and interested observers – make sense of the contest and its implications for Scottish politics and public policy.

Next week, BIG will be providing our clients with a definitive Guide to the SNP Leadership Election. It will provide insight into the candidates, their priorities, and the political and policy implications to come. We can’t wait to share it with you.

As a sneak preview of our Guide, we are publishing the results of the first dedicated opinion poll of SNP voters since the Leadership Election began. Commissioned by BIG, this poll offers fascinating insights into the preferences and priorities of SNP voters.

Here are the key insights from our poll:

  • The race is wide open. Most SNP voters (31%) don’t yet know who they will back. But of those declared, Kate Forbes leads the pack despite early controversy over her beliefs (28%), followed by Humza Yousaf (20%), and Ash Regan (7%).  

  • SNP voters prefer a referendum sooner, rather than later. Most SNP voters surveyed (61%) want to see a referendum on Scottish independence at some point within the next 2 years, and three-quarters of SNP voters (75%) want to see a referendum within the next 5 years.

  • But it is a plan on the big issues of government that SNP voters think is most important. Thinking about what they want to see from their new leader, SNP voters think it is most important that the new leader has a plan to tackle the cost-of-living crisis (58%), to grow Scotland’s economy (53%), and improve public services (53%). Whilst questions of faith and personal belief (5%), which have dominated the headlines, are relatively unimportant.

  • Continuity or change? Our poll also tested SNP voters’ views on key policies of Nicola Sturgeon’s Scottish Government. On a number of high-profile policies, SNP voters are divided on whether or not they support them. There is no denying Nicola Sturgeon’s popularity with SNP members and this shouldn’t be seen as a repudiation of her approach. But the findings of our poll suggests there may be scope for the new leader to chart a different course. Whilst an assumption has been made that continuity is a strength, our poll indicates that there may be appeal for a candidate who also represents the right kind of change.

Our poll of SNP voters is bursting at the seams with even more insights that will help businesses and interested observers to understand how the leadership contest may unfold. Today, we have made the full findings and details of our poll available to the public – so take ten, grab a coffee, and read the full results online here.

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