Scottish politics is in a state of flux and the referendums on Scottish independence in 2014, and then Britain’s EU membership in 2016, have created new dividing lines in politics.
This is according to the May 2018 report by the Joseph Rowntree Foundation on the role of low-income Scottish voters on Brexit, the general election and Indyref.
The report looks at the key messages of the Conservative, Labour and SNP parties, and how they should modify their appeals to voters.
The report finds:
- Politically, what happens in Scotland at the next general election could determine whether Labour or the Conservative Party hold the keys to Downing Street or the SNP holds the balance of power. This is why there are good reasons for the main parties to think seriously about how to win over voters in Scotland, in particular low-income voters, who are increasingly a key battleground in Scottish and British politics more widely
- It was people living in places which had most strongly supported Brexit in 2016 that were then most likely to vote in 2017, a pattern that separates Scotland from the rest of the UK
- The SNP continues to perform strongly among low-income voters who live on less than £20,000 per year, the working-class and pro-independence voters. But compared to 2015, their lead among lower-income voters has declined, underlining their need to rejuvenate their offer to this key group. The party also faces challenges, including the fact it is struggling among pro-union Leave voters in Scotland
- The Conservative Party has made big inroads among pro-union and pro-Brexit voters, and has also won over low-income voters from Labour, people who voted ‘No’ to Scottish independence in 2014 and then ‘Yes’ to Brexit in 2016
- Labour, meanwhile, is squeezed. While it has clawed back a few seats, it needs to find a way of becoming far more distinctive in Scottish politics.