Once again, Scotland did things differently—with worrying results for the SNPby John Curtice / June 10, 2017 / Leave a comment
Scotland did things differently again. While England and Wales witnessed a return to two-party politics, in Scotland the election was won by the SNP. Equally whereas in England and Wales there was a swing from Conservative to Labour, in Scotland the Conservatives overtook Labour for the first time since 1959. Politics in Scotland retained the distinctiveness it has increasingly acquired in recent years.
That distinctiveness has largely been a product of the intense debate about how Scotland should be governed. And it seems clear that it was that debate that had more influence on the electoral outcome north of the border than the one about Brexit that was meant to be the focus of the election.
The first clue lies in the evidence of the final opinion polls, which broadly anticipated the eventual outcome. They found that those who voted Yes in 2014 and those who backed No differed much more in the way they were going to vote than did those who supported Remain and those who backed Leave.
On average, these polls found that nearly three-quarters (73%) of those who voted Yes were intending to vote SNP, whereas just one in eight (12%) of No voters were doing so. This gap is much bigger than the equivalent one between Remain and Leave supporters. Less than half (44%) of Remain voters intended to vote SNP, while just over a quarter (27%) of Leave supporters anticipated doing so.
The second indication lies in the existence of the Conservative revival. In England and Wales, the Conservatives performed best where Leave voters (and thus former UKIP…