The Impact of the Coronavirus Pandemic on Support for the SNP and Scottish Independence
20 Pages Posted: 19 Apr 2021
Date Written: April 15, 2021
The retrospective model of voting holds that parties are elected based on their perceived competence in government, and punished for incompetence. This theory is complicated in contexts of multilevel governance as it requires attributing responsibility for policy outcomes to a particular party in a particular level of government. This note tests the extent to which the retrospective model of voting explains public opinion in a multilevel context (Scotland) and on a high-stakes valence issue (the coronavirus outbreak). Using British Election Study Internet Panel data, this note assesses how the public responded to the perceived competence of the two relevant levels of government in Scotland: Holyrood and Westminster. The results find that those voters who rated the Scottish Government’s handling of the pandemic most highly and previously liked the SNP were more likely to switch to supporting the SNP, but that the government’s pandemic handling had little effect on support for Scottish independence.
Keywords: Scottish independence, Scottish politics, coronavirus, voting behaviour
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