SCOTS are more satisfied with Nicola Sturgeon’s handling of the pandemic than Boris Johnson’s, according to a new survey.

Around two-thirds are happy with how the Scottish Government has dealt with communicating decisions and the vaccine rollout. More than half were also satisfied with Holyrood’s handling of the imposition of lockdown and re-opening.

The Scottish Opinion Monitor (SCOOP) found this compares favourably to how Scots feel about the UK Government’s actions.

Support is highest for the UK’s vaccine rollout, with more than half satisfied. But only around one in four were happy with the UK Government’s communications or actions around lockdown and re-opening, less than half the level satisfied with the Scottish Government.

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The findings come from the first survey of its kind which will be carried out three times a year by the Scottish Election Study (SES) team to provide data on views on political parties and policies between elections.  Dr Jac Larner, research fellow for the SES at the University of Edinburgh and University of Cardiff said: “Even when decisions about the imposition of lockdown and opening up has been remarkably similar across the UK as a whole, Scottish voters judge the same decisions more positively if they’re enacted in Edinburgh than if those same decisions are made in London.

“This shows that these evaluations of government performance are at least to some extent influenced by prior political preferences.”

The survey also found Scots were critical of the UK Government over current social and economic challenges, such as supply shortages and rising food prices.

The National: Prime Minister Boris Johnson during a media briefing in Downing Street, London, on coronavirus (Covid-19). Picture date: Wednesday December 15, 2021. PA Photo. See PA story HEALTH Coronavirus. Photo credit should read: Tolga Akmen/PA Wire

Asked if they thought Covid or Brexit was to blame, Scots were most likely to say both, followed by Covid and then Brexit.  When asked who was responsible for the current situation, Scots were split two to one saying it was the fault of government mismanagement rather than external shocks. Among those who felt it was the fault of government, almost 80% lay that blame at the feet of the UK Government.

The survey also highlighted major issues with the Scottish Government’s use of the FACTS acronym to explain covid restrictions in summer 2021. Only 2% of Scots were able to describe what all five letters stood for.

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SES researcher Dr Fraser McMillan, at the University of Glasgow, said: “These findings suggest that key aspects of Scottish Government messaging during earlier periods of Covid restrictions missed the mark.

“Public health communication should ideally be clear and concise, and FACTS was neither.

“While the slogan might have served as a useful general reminder to exercise caution, our SCOOP data shows that the acronym was overcomplicated and ambiguous.

“We hope the Scottish Government will take this into account if and when similar messaging is required in future.”