Sources of Support for the SNP

Lindsay Paterson

in Has Devolution Delivered?

Published by Edinburgh University Press

Published in print July 2006 | ISBN: 9780748622467
Published online September 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780748672028 | DOI:
Sources of Support for the SNP

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The Scottish National Party (SNP) has been confirmed in two elections as the main challenger to the Labour Party. There is something approaching a consensus for strengthening the Scottish Parliament's powers, and a growing although still minority support for separate statehood. And yet the party, like Labour, has fallen victim to Scotland's new multi-party politics. Unlike its counterparts in Catalonia or Quebec, the SNP has yet to learn to live with mere devolution. This chapter examines changes in the SNP's base over a long time-scale, in some respects since the 1970s and, in greater detail, since the pivotal year of 1997. It first examines the social base of SNP support from 1974 until 2003: why has social change apparently not strengthened the party's support? It then looks briefly at the relationship between support for the party and people's views about Scotland's constitution and discusses the party's capacity to build up a core of loyal supporters and its effectiveness at translating vague support into votes.

Keywords: Scotland; Scottish National Party; social change; constitution; elections; multi-party politics; Labour Party; Scottish Parliament; devolution

Chapter.  9806 words. 

Subjects: UK Politics

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