Scotland 'split down the middle' on election says Curtice
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John Curtice was invited onto BBC News ahead of the five-way Scottish leaders’ debate on Tuesday evening. The polling expert insisted that while the SNP had secured extra support for independence through Nicola Sturgeon’s handling of the coronavirus pandemic, those same voters have since abandoned the party. As a result, Prof Curtice warned the SNP that the question of Scottish independence is on a knife-edge with voters “split down the middle.’
Professor Curtice told BBC News: “We are at the 50/50 point that we were had before the pandemic started.
“I think during the height of the pandemic it looked like support for independence was rising indeed off the fact that a group of voters who had voted no in 2014 came to the conclusion that perhaps Scotland would have handled the pandemic better as an independent country but that mood seems to have fallen back a bit.
“The truth is this country is split down the middle about how it should be governed and I think this is going to be an important backdrop to the whole of this election campaign.
“All the way through to May 6.”
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Scottish party leaders took part in a TV debate on Tuesday night to kick-start the election campaign.
Going head to head were Nicola Sturgeon (SNP), Douglas Ross (Scottish Conservatives), Anas Sarwar (Scottish Labour), Lorna Slater (Scottish Greens), Willie Rennie (Scottish Liberal Democrats).
Not involved were the recently formed political parties on both sides of the constitutional divide.
Last Friday, Mr Salmond launched the Alba Party, a pro-Scottish independence party while former MP George Galloway has also launched Alliance for Unity (now known as All for Unity), which opposes independence for Scotland.
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According to the FT, opinion polls for the 73 Scottish constituencies show the SNP and Conservatives “narrowly ahead of their results at the last election in 2016”.
According to FT research updated on March 26, 2021, the SNP lead with 49 percent.
The SNP are followed by the Scottish Conservatives (22 percent), Scottish Labour (19 percent), the Scottish Lib Dems (seven percent) and the Scottish Greens (two percent).
As for the Scottish parliament regional list voting intention, the SNP leads with 42 percent in opinion polls, according to the FT.
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Prof Curtice has previously highlighted a possibility that Mr Salmon’s Alba party could cause significant disruption for the SNP.
He said: “Mr Salmond might fail to pick up very much.
“He doesn’t add or create a supermajority but along the way, he does just well enough to deny the SNP the chance to get an overall majority on their own.”
He added: “By standing therefore on the list, Mr Salmond is potentially making it more difficult for the SNP to get an overall majority.”
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