A POLL claiming that support for devolution is falling has been “overinterpreted” with those opposed most likely to be Unionists and Conservative voters.

The Sunday Times reported that a quarter of Scots believed devolution had been bad for the country, but experts argued that Holyrood itself was not mentioned during the poll, conducted by Norstat, formerly known as Panelbase.

The poll put the share of No voters who thought devolution was a bad thing at 49%. This was 6% for Yes voters.

One SNP MP said that this attempt to attack the Scottish Parliament was “not a surprise” as Unionists had been chomping at the bit for anti-Holyrood sentiment to make it into the mainstream.

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It was suggested that the dip in support for devolution should concern the SNP and Scottish Government, but pollsters said the way the question was framed was likely to have impacted the result.

And, analysis from experts found issues with the way the data was represented - 50% of people born in Scotland, the largest group polled, said devolution was good.

Ailsa Henderson, professor of political science at Edinburgh University, suggested the framing of the question was likely to have created a link between support for the government and devolution for respondents.

“You’ve got markedly lower support for devolution among the very oldest members of the electorate,” she said.

The National: MSPs in the Scottish Parliament.

“These are individuals who were 50 before devolution arrived. Much as with Brexit, the same electorate prefers the status quo ante.”

Henderson added that there is likely to be an overlap between those who were pessimistic about devolution - such as Tory voters, those who backed Brexit, and older people.

“This suggests support is in a very healthy place and particularly so among those who came of political age after the parliament opened,” she added.

Henderson added that it was a good sign there was no difference in support for devolution based on the country in which people were born.

“We know that those born in the rest of the UK do tend to have different constitutional preferences than those born in Scotland, and those born outside the UK tend to have different patterns of political engagement,” she added.

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“It would be a worrying sign if those born in Scotland felt devolution was going well but those born outside Scotland thought it was a bad development. There’s no sign of that here.”

The University of Glasgow’s Mark McGeoghegan also raised concerns about the interpretation of the survey.

“Lots of overinterpretation of that Norstat poll,” he wrote on Twitter/X.

“Abolishing Holyrood wasn't mentioned, and given polling on other UK institutions wouldn't appeal even to many of those who responded that devo has been bad.

“Loss of faith in governing institutions is not unique to Scotland.”

The National: Pete Wishart

He added that the percentage of Scots thinking devolution is bad has been growing since 2009, as claimed by the results, “isn't a surprise given the UK-wide deterioration in state capacity & delivery in the past 15 years”.

“Nor is it surprising that the 26% figure is driven by older, Tory and Brexit supporting Unionists,” he added.

SNP MP Pete Wishart (above) added: “The campaign to bypass and undermine the Scottish Parliament will now go into overdrive.

“Many unionists have been attempting to get abolishing Holyrood into the mainstream for a while. They will feel even more emboldened now.”