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Two-thirds of Scots think Nicola Sturgeon stepping down is the ‘right decision’

Two-thirds of Scots – and more than half of SNP voters – believe Nicola Sturgeon is right to be stepping down as Scotland’s First Minister, a new poll has shown.

The first full poll to be carried out since Ms Sturgeon announced her resignation plans found 67% of people believe she has made the correct decision – with 54% of SNP voters feeling the same.

Just a fifth (19%) of Scots and three out of 10 (29%) of SNP voters think she made the wrong decision by quitting as both party leader and as First Minister, the research, by polling firm Savanta for The Scotsman, found.

A total of 1,004 Scots were questioned between February 15 and 17 – with all the research done after Ms Sturgeon’s shock announcement last Wednesday.

More than half (54%) of those questioned described Ms Sturgeon’s time as First Minister as having been a success, although 28% said it had been a failure.

Finance Secretary Kate Forbes confirmed she is entering the race to succeed Nicola Sturgeon (Andrew Milligan/PA)
Finance Secretary Kate Forbes confirmed she is entering the race to succeed Nicola Sturgeon (Andrew Milligan/PA)

Ms Sturgeon’s overall net favourability rating was plus-8 – with this being up from December’s total of plus-6 but still the second lowest total for Ms Sturgeon since the pollster started tracking this as a measure of popularity in December 2020.

Scottish Finance Secretary Kate Forbes, who announced on Monday she would be running for SNP leader and first minister, meanwhile had a much higher net favourability rating of plus-20.

Meanwhile, fellow leadership candidate and current Scottish Health Secretary Humza Yousaf had a net favourability rating of plus-1.

Gender Recognition Reform Bill
Ash Regan is also hoping to become Scotland’s next first minister (Lesley Martin/PA)

Savanta said it had not tracked this measure of support for Ash Regan, the third candidate currently in the race to succeed Ms Sturgeon.

Ms Forbes was also the most popular choice amongst SNP voters for the party’s next leader – with 18% favouring her, ahead of 7% for Mr Yousaf.

Angus Robertson, the Scottish Constitution Secretary, who confirmed on Monday he would not be running, was the choice of 14% of SNP voters, with 11% favouring the current Deputy First Minister John Swinney, who has also ruled himself out of the race.

However 15% said they would rather have someone other than these four politicians to replace Ms Sturgeon – and more than a third (34%) of SNP voters said they did not know who they wanted to take on the job.

Humza Yousaf launches First Minister campaign
Humza Yousaf has announced he will also be running (Andrew Milligan/PA)

According to the poll, the SNP remains the most popular party in Scotland, with 43% of people saying they would vote for it in the constituency section of the next Holyrood vote – putting it ahead of Labour, which polled 30%, the Tories on 17% and the Liberal Democrats on 8%.

On the list section of the ballot, meanwhile, 32% of those questioned said they would vote SNP, compared to 27% support for Labour, 16% for the Conservatives, 14% for the Scottish Greens and 9% for the Liberal Democrats.

The poll also found that support for independence remained unchanged, with 49% in favour of Scotland leaving the UK and 51% against, when don’t knows were excluded from the research.