PROGRESS SCOTLAND PUBLISH FIRST ROUND OF FOCUS GROUP FINDINGS

21 - 07 - 2019 / Polling

PROGRESS SCOTLAND PUBLISH FIRST ROUND OF FOCUS GROUP FINDINGS

Progress Scotland has published its first round of focus group findings which show a dominant negative view of the current Brexit climate and Tory leadership contest amongst voters in Scotland who are open-minded or undecided about Scottish independence.

Focus groups were held in Edinburgh and Glasgow on the 9th and 10th of July 2019, with more to follow in the rest of the country, with responses on the current Brexit dominated political climate including:

Things are falling apart all over the place

I don’t feel as if we are travelling in the right direction”

“I’m actually fed up with it all to be honest. Fed up”.

With only days to go until the result of the election of the new leader of the UK Conservative party is announced, responses in the focus groups show that the next Prime Minister will face an uphill struggle to win over Scottish voters. Focus group responses included:

I have no confidence in either of them…….. it proves to me our political industry at the moment is like a circus, so why not have a clown leading us

I’m not sure Boris Johnson knows what Scotland is…. I think it’s a disaster, just him in general, being in charge of probably the biggest decision of my lifetime.

Progress Scotland Managing Director Angus Robertson said:

“Views in Scotland are extremely negative about the current Brexit political climate and the Tory leadership candidates. This latest research shows the depth of feeling amongst voters who are open-minded or undecided about Scottish independence. Opinion polls show majority support for holding another independence referendum and majority support for ‘Yes’ if Boris Johnson is elected.

"We will be commissioning further focus groups around the country and large scale opinion polls to gauge the changing mood in Scotland to better understand the views of people who are open-minded or undecided about Scottish independence”.

The July focus groups were conducted for Progress Scotland by independent polling and research advisor Mark Diffley. Speaking about the findings he said:

“Voters feel confused, disillusioned and angry with the current political climate. The next Prime Minister faces an uphill struggle to win over Scottish voters. Open-minded voters want another independence referendum but not until Brexit situation is clearer.

"Brexit is key to attitudes on independence with undecided voters having no ideological opposition to independence but want to hear the detail”.

Key findings on current political climate and Tory Leadership:

1. Voters feel confused, disillusioned and angry with the current political climate

When asked to give their spontaneous views on the current political scene, voters are overwhelmingly and almost exclusively negative. The themes between the two group were almost identical and covered issues from confusion and observations that “everything is messy”, to more active negativity such as feeling “unheard” and “angry” and helpless because of the actions taken by the political class, especially driven by the Brexit process.

Things are falling apart all over the place
(Participant in Glasgow)

I don’t feel as if we are travelling in the right direction
(Participant in Glasgow)

"I’m actually fed up with it all to be honest. Fed up
(Participant in Edinburgh)

2. The next Prime Minister faces an uphill struggle to win over Scottish voters

Both candidates competing in the Conservative leadership contest, Boris Johnson and Jeremy Hunt, are seen as out of touch with voters in Scotland. In particular, participants feel negatively towards the candidates’ attitudes towards the Brexit negotiation. The favourite to win the contest, Boris Johnson, risks alienating voters if the UK leaves the EU without a deal.

I have no confidence in either of them…….. it proves to me our political industry at the moment is like a circus, so why not have a clown leading us.”
(Participant in Edinburgh)

I’m not sure Boris Johnson knows what Scotland is…. I think it’s a disaster, just him in general, being in charge of probably the biggest decision of my lifetime.”
(Participant in Edinburgh)


BACKGROUND
Progress Scotland – Focus Groups – July 2019

On the evenings of Tuesday 9th and Wednesday 10th July, Mark Diffley conducted two focus groups with voters in Edinburgh and Glasgow.

A total of 19 participants took part in the discussions, 9 in Edinburgh and 10 in Glasgow,

All voters had indicated that they are ‘undecided’ on the issue of Scottish independence; some had voted ‘No’ while others had voted ‘Yes’ in 2014,

Participants were drawn for all age groups and social classes, while there was a near equal balance of men and women

This research is not a statistical survey or poll and should not be read as being of statistical significance. Rather it is an in-depth look at the attitudes of a small number of voters, undecided on the issue of Scottish independence, chosen from a broad range of demographic characteristics (outlined above).

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