Scottish National Party's lead in the polls grows with under six months to go until Scottish parliamentary elections

 
James Nickerson
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Keynote Speech By New Leader Of The SNP Nicola Sturgeon
The past month has seen the political agenda return to devolved issues (Source: Getty)

With less than six months to go until the elections for the Scottish parliament, support for the Scottish National Party has swelled, increasing its lead in a new survey by TNS.

The survey of 1,035 people aged 16 and over found support for the SNP steady at 58 per cent, while Labour dropped three per cent to 21 per cent.

The Conservatives and the Liberal Democrats maintained support at 12 per cent and four per cent respectively.

‚ÄčRead more: The SNP's lead is narrowing

Of those polled, the economy had become a more important factor in voting decisions since the summer, and more people opposed Trident renewal than supported it.

Healthcare was top of the list of priorities for those surveyed, with education and training in second place with the economy.

“The past month has seen the political agenda return to devolved issues such as healthcare and transport, with opposition politicians attacking the SNP government’s record on hospital provision and on maintenance of the Forth Bridge," Tom Costley, head of TNS Scotland, said. "The criticism appears to have had little or no effect on support for the SNP."

Read more: Scots love Nicola Sturgeon

Interestingly, the number of those surveyed who said they are certain to vote in 2016 has been falling, now standing at 58 per cent, down from 64 per cent in a similar poll in September. The turnout in Scotland in the General Election was 71 per cent.

“It may be that, faced with the SNP’s huge lead in the polls, a number of voters feel that their vote would not influence the result. However, it seems unlikely that turnout in May will be as low as the 50 per cent recorded in the 2011 Holyrood elections," Costley added.

However, the SNP's lead is down from where it stood in August, when 62 per cent of those surveyed said they would vote for the party.

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