NICOLA Sturgeon’s personal approval rating has dropped since she completed her daily Covid briefings, suggesting voters are increasingly unhappy with her home record.
A new YouGov poll for the Times showed that First Minster’s rating has dropped nearly 40 points since its peak last year, when she was on television almost daily, although she remains the most popular political leader in Scotland.
Sturgeon’s approval rating hit +50 in August last year, with 72 per cent of voters saying she did well as prime minister, against 22 per cent saying she did poorly.
But her rating this month is down to +12, with 53% saying she’s doing well, compared to 41% who say she’s doing poorly.
Since You Gov’s last poll before the election in May, her popularity has halved from +27.
The decline coincides with the stalemate in the independence debate and an increased focus by Holyrood on the SNP’s record on health and education, with a number of recent problems in the NHS.
However, Sturgeon remains the only Scottish party leader with a positive rating, and other party leaders have also suffered some setbacks.
Tory Douglas Ross’ approval rating is -38 (down 4 points), Labour’s Anas Sarwar is -1 (down 21 points), while Boris Johnson is -62 (down 17) and Sir Keir Starmer is -35 (down 13).
Scottish Green co-leaders Lorna Slater and Patrick Harvie, who have become ministers since the last YouGov poll in April, are at -38, and Alex Cole-Hamilton, who became Scottish Liberal Democrat leader after the poll, is at -16.
On the constitutional issue, YouGov found 46% of voters against independence, 40% in favor and 9% unsure, suggesting that Sturgeon’s plan for Indyref2 by 2024 does not create support.
In an interview ahead of this weekend’s SNP conference, Sturgeon yesterday dismissed rumors that she plans to quit during the current parliamentary term, which runs until 2026.
She told the BBC she had “no intentions of going anywhere right now as Prime Minister”.
She said: “It’s almost as if my opponents have concluded that they can not beat me or remove me from office myself, so they hope I will remove myself from office. But they will be really disappointed because I come to be here much longer. ”
Professor Sir John Curtice of Strathclyde University told the Times that Mrs Sturgeon, 51, was “at risk of looking like a politician stuck in second gear”.
He said: “Although she may still be Scotland’s most popular politician (though not as popular as before in the pandemic), leading far and away Scotland’s most popular party (albeit one depending on the Greens for its Holyrood majority), there is little sense of progress towards its ultimate goal of independence. ”
YouGov also found that voters had downgraded independence to eighth place on their priority list, with less than a third of SNP supporters seeing it as a central government target.
Election-wise, the SNP’s strength is undiminished and the poll suggests it would win 55 of Scotland’s 59 seats in a parliamentary election tomorrow and lose only one of its 64 seats in a lightning-fast election in Holyrood, where Labor overtakes the Tories because of ” sleaze “.
The survey found little appetite for Indyref2 in the short term, but a majority of determined voters wanted a new vote in the current election period.
The poll by YouGov for the Times shows that by removing not, 53% of the population want a referendum to be held in the current Scottish Parliamentary term.
SNP MSP Rona Mackay said: “This poll shows that a clear majority of people expressing an opinion want a referendum in the current Holyrood period.
“As the British Tory government remains firm in Westminster sleaze and the harsh realities of Brexit are being realized, it is no surprise that the people of Scotland want to have the choice to take a better path with independence.
“In the May election, the people of Scotland elected a majority of independence supporters of MSPs and provided a cast iron mandate for an independence vote.
“The vote also acknowledges how the only party offering a positive vision for Scotland’s future is the SNP. The opposition can only bring doom and gloom, as reflected in their near-extinction in the next Westminster election, as this poll shows.
“The only way to protect Scotland’s future from the tedious policies of the Westminster governments is by becoming an independent country.”