Many of Scotland’s biggest hacks are drooling over the forthcoming inquiry into the treatment of Alex Salmond just as they did when he was first charged and when Derek Mackay was not charged and when a few old-timers wrote in the very newspapers that had previously and often unfairly attacked them, to challenge the current leadership.
Luckily, we have the reasonable evidence of opinion polls after all the previous incidents to guide us in deciding whether Gordon’s ‘unforgiving light’ will be so or soon forgotten. I predict the latter.
On April 17th we wrote:
Scott Macnab of the Herald does well to be less certain than many of his colleagues have been about damage to her and to the SNP, resulting from those fading sagas around Derek Mackay and Alex Salmond.
The polls are clear. SNP support has been climbing since December from 40-45% to hover around 50% in last 4. Unless we think support would’ve have been even higher at say 60% but for these sagas, we can be sure that they have neither harmed the party nor its leadership.
More accurately, from the Opinium poll on 26th March respondents were asked:
To what extent do you approve or disapprove of …The way Nicola Sturgeon is handling her job as Leader of the SNP?
A whopping 83% of SNP voters approved with only 4% disapproving but 56% of Lib Dems and 46% of Labour voters also approved.
Earlier on 29th March this year, we wrote:
The latest Panelbase poll of Holyrood voting intentions, puts the SNP at 51%, Cons at 26%, and Labour at 14%. This would give the SNP a clear majority, with 70 MSPs, and a mandate for Indyref2. The Herald’s Tom Gordonstoun is gobsmacked again (stop it!) and fails to see that voters are not supporting the SNP despite or because of any insular journalistic theory about personalities. They’re voting for the party and its manifesto. They’re grown-ups. What else would they do?
And even earlier that year in February:
We heard from various commentators around 9 or 10 days ago that the Derek Mackay case combined with the Salmond case coming to court would damage the SNP. Reporting Scotland’s Brian Taylor referred to the Mackay case as a ‘calamity’ for the party. A sub-poll published today based on fieldwork only 5 days later suggests that, as before, the errors of single politicians do not materially change the opinions of a mass movement.The Opinium survey on 12th February does not have a Scottish breakdown but has support as a share of the overall UK-wide survey at 6% up from 5% in their last poll on 10th December 2019.
See the pattern?