Techne UK chief Michela Morizzo discusses this week’s polls
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Nicola Sturgeon’s decision to quit could have removed as much of a quarter of the SNP’s popular vote, new polling has suggested. The early findings from the latest Techne UK tracker poll for Express.co.uk have led to Unionist politicians believing that the end of Sturgeon’s regime could end Scottish independence as an issue for at least two decades.
Techne UK chief executive Michela Morizzo noted that last week’s UK-wide poll saw a quarter of the SNP’s normal vote share disappear.
While she said it was “still too early” to draw firm conclusions she suggested that Ms Sturgeon’s resignation could have led to a start in a collapse in her party’s support.
In her weekly video blog, Ms Morizzo said: “Just when you think that you cannot be even more shocked about the state of UK politics something more shocking comes along.
“Who would have thought or expected that [last] week would have seen the resignation of Scottish nationalist leader Nicola Sturgeon?
“Sturgeon’s resignation of the SNP has very much shaken the political establishment both in Scotland and also across the rest of the UK too.”
She pointed out that there has not been a contested leadership contest for the SNP since 2004 and “given the dominance of Sturgeon as leader over the last eight years there is no natural successor.”
The pollster suggested this would make it impossible for a new leader to use a Westminster election to get a mandate for independence as Ms Sturgeon had planned.
She said: “Having spent her whole leadership with one main aim of Scottish independence, I am not sure a new and untested leader could go into the next general election asking for a mandate on independence as Sturgeon has suggested should be done.”
Addressing the immediate impact on polling of Ms Sturgeon’s resignation, Ms Morizzo added: “Our tracker poll [last] week which was conducted as the news of Sturgeon’s shock resignation was announced shows an immediate reduction in SNP support from 4 percent of national vote share down to 3 percent.
“It is of course too early to tell whether this reduced SNP support relates to Sturgeon’s resignation, only the next week’s polling will tell in this regard.”
So far two candidates have confirmed that they will run to replace Ms Sturgeon – Scottish Health Secretary Humza Yousaf, who has struck out as an early frontrunner from his Glasgow base; and former Community Safety Minister Ash Regan, who quit Sturgeon’s government over her gender recognition reform plans.
Finance Secretary Katie Forbes is also expected to declare shortly while Ms Sturgeon’s deputy Angus Robertson has ruled himself out.
But pro-UK MPs have told Express.co.uk that their experience on the doorsteps suggests the polling may be correct.
One Scottish Lib Dem MP said: “At the moment it is very early but knocking on doors we are beginning to get responses which suggest people are abandoning the SNP.
“We will need greater evidence, but people are saying ‘well I voted SNP before but now Nicola’s gone I don’t think I’ll bother.'”
The MP added: “We Unionists now have an opportunity to put Scottish independence to bed for 20 years if we get this right.”
A senior Scottish Labour figure added: “Nobody really knows who the alternatives are and if they do they don’t like what they see.
“It’s a great opportunity for [Scottish Labour leader] Anas [Sarwar] because he has a good public profile and whoever the SNP vote for will have just two years to build up their image.”
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