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Damning poll reveals SNP supporters don’t think Yousaf is up to the job

(Photo by Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images)

In a week that will prove testing for Humza Yousaf as public outrage over his hate crime bill continues, there is a tiny glimmer of hope for the beleaguered First Minister. A new poll has suggested that out of all the leaders of Scotland’s political parties, Yousaf is the public’s top choice for First Minister. That is, however, where his good news ends.

The poll, conducted by Find Out Now for Alex Salmond’s Alba party, surveyed just under 2,000 Scots about their preferences for First Minister. But while Yousaf ranked first, only a quarter of all voters picked him — and fewer than half of SNP supporters felt he was up to the job. Ouch… 

In fact, the results make for rather unpleasant reading for all of Scotland’s party leaders. Yousaf managed to scrape just 25 per cent of the public’s support with Scottish Tory leader Douglas Ross coming in second on 18 per cent. Labour leader Anas Sarwar was third place with former First Minister Salmond ranking fourth. In more astonishing news, Scottish Green Lorna Slater was rated higher than both her co-leader Patrick Harvie — by half a point — and Scottish Lib Dem leader Alex Cole-Hamilton.

The data contradicts polling published last month by Redfield and Wilton that revealed the Scottish Labour leader had overtaken Yousaf for the first time as the public’s preferred choice for FM. That same Redfield and Wilton survey also found that the SNP and Labour were neck and neck on 34 per cent each in Westminster voting intention, though further research published in March by Ipsos was a little kinder to the incumbent party. It placed the SNP on 39 per cent and Labour on 32 per cent, but demonstrated a narrowing of the gap between the two since November and suggested the Nats remain on course to lose a pretty hefty number of seats at the next election. And, a year into his premiership, Ipsos has also revealed that Yousaf's net favourability rating is a rather unenviable -15, lower than that of his main competitor Sarwar (-7) and his predecessor Nicola Sturgeon when she left office (-12). Dear oh dear.

So despite taking the top spot this time, Yousaf's struggle to win over the public continues. If the new poll demonstrates anything, it’s that Scottish voters aren’t particularly effusive about any of their political leaders. Hardly an inspiring state of affairs…

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Steerpike is The Spectator's gossip columnist, serving up the latest tittle tattle from Westminster and beyond. Email tips to or message @MrSteerpike

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