Polling guru John Curtice asks 'crucial' question that could shatter SNP independence hope

Professor John Curtice bluntly explained that there was no doubt in his mind that the SNP would be the largest party in Holyrood come the May 6 Scottish elections. However, the University of Strathclyde academic said the SNP’s majority would directly affect their mandate for independence as polls suggest the lead has shortened. He explained that David Cameron was swayed by the SNP dominance in Holyrood in 2011 to later give an independence referendum and warned if Nicola Sturgeon could not bring success for the SNP in the aftermath of the Alex Salmond inquiry that her dreams would be dead in the water. 

Speaking to Channel 4 news, Professor Curtice discussed the latest events surrounding Nicola Sturgeon and a leaked report which said the First Minister had misled parliament in relation to the Alex Salmond case. 

Professor Curtice said: “It looks inconceivable that any party other than the SNP is going to emerge as the largest party.

“The crucial question is whether or not the SNP on their own, get an overall majority, because if they do, then they will have repeated what they achieved in 2011.

“And in the wake of that, the UK Government under David Cameron accepted they had a moral right to hold a referendum.

“So that it’s not about who wins, it’s about whether or not the SNP wins well enough.”

The Scottish parliament is due to dissolve at the end of March so political parties can begin their campaigning. 

However, a leaked report from the committee conducting the Alex Salmond inquiry says they found Nicola Sturgeon did mislead the committee and by extension parliament. 

The ministerial code, which is overseen by the First Minister, says anyone who knowingly misleads parliament should resign. 

However, while the full committee report is not published until Tuesday, some contest whether Ms Sturgeon knowingly knew if she was misleading or not.

Polls released ahead of the election and dissolving of parliament show a fall in support for Scottish independence and in the SNP. 

A Sky News poll revealed 46 percent of Scots would vote for the SNP followed by 24 percent for the Tories and 20 percent for Labour. 

The figures are in contrast to many previous polls which put the SNP support strongly over 50 percent.

An Opinium poll also found 51 percent of Scots want an independence referendum but a Survation poll found 49 percent want to remain in the UK compared to 37 percent who do not. 

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