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Tories could lose 58% of past voters in Scotland at next election, poll suggests

The Conservatives face losing as much as 58% of their voters in Scotland from 2019 and 2021 at the next election, a new poll suggests.

A survey done by YouGov for the Scottish Election Study (SES) – known as the Scottish Opinion Monitor – looked at the move away from the Tories ahead of the next vote, which the Prime Minister confirmed on Friday would take place by the end of the year.

The findings of the study – which spoke to 1,320 people in Scotland between February 21 and 29 – were presented by the SES at a fringe event at the Scottish Tory conference in Aberdeen.

The poll looked at Tory voters who backed the party in the 2019 general election and in the 2021 Holyrood election.

Some 58% of the 316 respondents said they would not back Rishi Sunak’s party at the next vote, up from 42% in October.

But speaking to journalists after his speech at the conference, Scottish Tory leader Douglas Ross said he did not recognise the findings.

“I don’t recognise that in any way with what I’ve been picking up on the doorstep,” he said.

Having campaigned in the Highlands and Islands, the Borders and the north-east, Mr Ross said voters were “responding to what we’re doing in the Scottish Parliament”.

The party leader denied there was panic in the party’s ranks, saying there had been an “upbeat” atmosphere at the party’s conference.

Senior Scottish Tory MSP Murdo Fraser also spoke at the event, telling members the party must focus more on attacking the SNP and its record in Government, rather than issues at a UK Government level.

“If the general election in Scotland is seen primarily as a test of how well the Conservative Government in Westminster has performed – that’s not going to help us, that’s to our disadvantage,” he said.

“If we can make the general election in Scotland about how the SNP Government is performing, that will be to our advantage and help drive tactical voters towards us.”

Scottish Conservative MSP Murdo Fraser
Scottish Conservative MSP Murdo Fraser (Andrew Milligan/PA)

Mr Fraser added that any Government who has been in power for a long period of time “finds it difficult” to defend its record at an election.

More data from the Scottish Opinion Monitor is expected early next week.

An SNP spokesperson said: “This Tory Government is finished, and it’s no wonder that even their own voters have had enough of them, after the chaos they’ve inflicted on people’s lives.

“Only a vote for the SNP can remove the Tories from all their seats in Scotland and deliver the strong voice that Scotland needs.”

Scottish Labour has been contacted for comment.