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Majority of Scots reject “de facto” referendum and want next FM to prioritise NHS

Only a third of people in Scotland support the next General Election being a “de factoreferendum and want the new First Minister to prioritise the NHS, a new poll has revealed.

The Survation poll found that the health service is now the most important issue for voters, followed by the cost-of-living crisis and energy bills, while only 11% think independence should be a priority.

With 70% of respondents selecting the NHS when asked to choose their three most important issues for the next First Minister, that is a steep rise from 57% when a similar question was asked at the turn of the year.

The poll also found that just 33% want the next election to be a “de facto” referendum, while 54% said the opposite.

Support for a "de facto" referendum remains just as low as it did in January, according to this poll the nationalists have failed to persuade any more voters at all to support their ridiculous plan.

This idea was first proposed by Nicola Sturgeon, before a planned SNP conference on the issue was ditched after her shock resignation.

However, leadership candidate Ash Regan has set out a pitch to revive it.

Ash Regan may well be playing to the SNP membership with her remarks on using the next General Election as a de facto referendum.

But repeated polling has shown it is not what the public want, and that’s something all candidates to become the next First Minister should be mindful of.

Survation polled 1,034 respondents aged 16 and over in Scotland between February 15 and 17, with fieldwork taking place following Sturgeon’s resignation.

Pamela Nash, chief executive of Scotland in Union, said:

“It’s time for the people’s priorities, not the SNP’s.

“It’s clear that the people of Scotland want the next First Minister to focus on the crisis in the NHS.

“Obsessing about the constitution is not a priority when there are record A&E waits, a shortage of doctors and nurses, and difficulties seeing a GP.

“The candidates vying to replace Sturgeon should focus on what really matters to the people of Scotland.

“And any attempt to revive the idea of a ‘de facto’ referendum is completely out-of-touch with the voters.

“Scotland’s positive future is with the rest of the UK, and the next First Minister should take the opportunity to reject the grievance and division of the Sturgeon era, reset the relationship with the UK Government, and bring communities together.”

Slides available here.

Tables available here.

Q1) The SNP has proposed using the next General Election as a de facto referendum on Scotland leaving the UK. This would mean asking voters to use the election to vote only on the issue of independence and nothing else. If the majority of voters in Scotland vote for the SNP, the Scottish Government would then try to declare independence. Which of the following is closest to your view?

· I believe that the next General Election should be used as a de-facto referendum on Scotland leaving the UK: 33%

· I do not believe that the next General Election should be used as a de-facto referendum on Scotland leaving the UK: 54%

· Don’t know: 13%

Q2) Which of the following do you think are the most important issues that the next First Minister of Scotland should prioritise? Please select three.

NHS: 70%

Cost-of-living crisis: 65%

Energy bills: 40%

Economy and jobs: 31%

Education: 17%

Climate emergency: 11%

Independence: 11%

Funding of local council services: 10%

Social care: 8%

Housing: 8%

Crime and policing: 7%

Welfare and benefits:7%

Covid-19 recovery: 6%

Support for older people: 5%

Family life and childcare: 2%

Transport: 1%

Culture and the arts: 1%

None of the above: 0%

Don't know: 1%


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