More than half of Scottish voters think favourably of First Minister Nicola Sturgeon, and twice as many people believe she is “trustworthy” compared to Ruth Davidson, polling has unveiled.
Survation pooled data from 2,000 Scottish voters for a “larger than normal” survey for us, ahead of the election in May.
Nicola Sturgeon is thought favourably of by 52% of those polled, while would-be first ministers Anas Sarwar and Douglas Ross achieved scores of 21% and 16%, respectively.
Lib Dem leader Willie Rennie also received a score of 16% favourability, while Scottish Green co-leader Patrick Harvie received a score of 15% favourability, according to the data.
Almost half of respondents feel Ms Sturgeon is experienced, strong and intelligent and more than a third feel the SNP leader is in touch with normal people.
Despite being 38, only 9% of voters would describe Scottish Conservative leader Douglas Ross as youthful, while 32% of voters said they did not know enough about him.
Mr Ross succeeded Jackson Carlaw as Scots party leader after Mr Carlaw had been in the job for less than six months, following unfavourable polls.
Only 8% of those asked believed Mr Ross to be strong, 41 percentage points behind Ms Sturgeon.
Outgoing Holyrood leader Ruth Davidson was closest to Ms Sturgeon in terms of perceived strength, with 29% of voters thinking it of her.
More than a fifth of voters asked believe Labour leader Anas Sarwar is intelligent, more so than any other party leader except Ms Sturgeon.
‘Even opposition voters think Sturgeon strong’
Polling expert professor Professor Sir John Curtice said the data around personal traits showed why the Scottish Conservatives tried “so hard” to have Ms Sturgeon removed as first minister with a vote of no confidence, which failed on Tuesday.
He said: “One of the reasons why more people will favour Nicola Sturgeon is because there are more SNP voters.
“But Ms Sturgeon is more popular amongst SNP voters than Douglas Ross is amongst Conservative voters or Anas Sarwar is among Labour voters.
“So 89% of the folks that are going to vote for the SNP think favourably of Sturgeon.
“This is why the opposition tried to bring her down. But it’s also why having failed to do so, it was always a very risky strategy.
He continued: “It is quite divided. A lot of the characteristics, how trustworthy SNP voters think Ms Sturgeon is, are less clear. But when you get to ‘strong’, even quite a few opposition supporters go ‘yeah, she is’.”