Understanding the 2015 General Election result in Scotland

The 2015 UK General Election saw a dramatic shift in the outcome for Scotland compared to previous elections. This project, supported with funding from the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC), deepens our understanding of what changes have genuinely occurred in Scotland. A team at the University of Edinburgh’s School of Social and Political Science (Jan Eichhorn, Daniel Kenealy and Lindsay Paterson), in collaboration with ScotCen Social Research, designed a follow up survey to the 2013 and 2014 Scottish Social Attitudes Survey. Respondents who were last interviewed prior to the independence referendum were invited to take part in an interview shortly after the 2015 General Election to not only capture their perceptions on the election, but also to allow us to explore changes in their views.

The results from the project are fascinating and provide new insights that deepen our understanding of the political landscape in Scotland. The main report (written by Jan Eichhorn, Mor Kandlik Eltanani and Daniel Kenealy) first discusses the dominant narratives by commentators and political actors about what happened in Scotland to then evaluate these claims empirically both looking at the short-term dynamics and longer trends.

A briefing by Professor John Curtice – Did ‘Yes’ win the referendum campaign? complements these analyses to assess what these changes mean for constitutional preferences and the long- run impact of the 2014 independence referendum. The findings enable the reader to understand how public attitudes in Scotland have changed and what that may mean for dominant political actors.

Policy relevance:
This project will be of particular interest to researchers, policy makers and other professionals working in the political sphere, interested in how public attitudes have shifted in Scotland since the 2014 independence referendum.

Jan Eichhorn
Daniel Kenealy
Mor Kandlik Eltanani
Lindsay Paterson