Scottish Nationalists Seen Winning ‘Supermajority,’ Poll Shows

Scottish nationalist parties could win a pro-independence “supermajority” in the May election, according to the latest opinion poll, which shows unionist parties suffering the most from the creation of a new separatist party last month.

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon’s Scottish National Party is seen winning 65 seats on May 6, giving it an outright majority of one, according to a Panelbase survey for the Sunday Times. The pro-independence Scottish Green Party is seen winning eight seats, while former Scottish leader Alex Salmond’s Alba Party could get six seats, the poll shows.

That would give pro-independence parties 79 of the Edinburgh parliament’s 129 seats and create the so-called “supermajority” that Salmond has said is needed to increase pressure on U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson to approve a second independence referendum. With Scots having voted against leaving the 310 year-old union with England in 2014, Johnson has so far refused to consider sanctioning a second vote on secession.

Salmond’s Alba Party, named after the Scots Gaelic for Scotland, is an attempt by the former first minister and SNP leader to take advantage of the country’s mixed electoral system, which is intended to make the devolved parliament in Edinburgh more representative and give a presence to smaller parties.

Scots get two votes, firstly for constituency members using the first-past-the-post system common to U.K. general elections, and then for additional members who are elected based on the proportion of list votes a party secures. The system means that if a party does well in the constituency vote, it becomes harder for it to add further lawmakers using the second vote.

Unionist parties are likely to be the biggest losers from the creation of Alba, which is only standing on the second vote. The Scottish Conservative Party is seen winning 24 seats in total, seven fewer than in 2016, with Labour getting 20, down four, according to Panelbase, which surveyed 1,009 adults between March 30 and April 1.

The poll also shows support for Scottish independence at 51% versus 49% when undecided voters are excluded, largely in line with other recent surveys. Sturgeon has pledged to hold a second independence referendum in the first half of the new parliamentary session.

©2021 Bloomberg L.P.

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