Constitution or Competence? The SNP's Re-election in 2011

Robert Johns, James Mitchell, Christopher Carman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The Scottish National Party’s outright win in the Scottish Parliament election on 5 May 2011 confounded pre-election polls and commentaries as well as devolution’s architects who chose a (broadly) proportional electoral system to minimise the risk of a Nationalist majority moving Scotland to independence. But an extraordinary result in historical context looks much more ordinary when we explore voters’ attitudes and choices. According to data from the ESRC-funded Scottish Election Study 2011 (SES), the SNP won its majority for that most mundane of electoral reasons: most voters thought that the party would do a better job in office than its rivals, including its chief rival, the Labour Party.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)158-178
JournalPolitical Studies
Issue numberS1
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2013


  • Scotland
  • election
  • Scottish politics
  • constitutional change
  • Scottish Parliament
  • SNP
  • Scottish National Party
  • constitution
  • Political theory


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