70% slam ‘poor’ council performance

SEVEN out of ten voters have rated the performance of the current city council administration as “disappointing” or “poor” in a straw poll ahead of the local government elections tomorrow.

Less than ten per cent of those asked believed the Liberal Democrat-SNP coalition had a “good” record during the past five years in power, according to a poll by the Evening News.

Just 5.9 per cent want to see those parties return as a coalition partnership, with a Labour-Green coalition currently the favoured option among those questioned.

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A grand coalition of all parties was the next most popular, followed by an SNP-Green coalition.

Tomorrow voters across 32 local authorities in Scotland go to the polls to elect their next five-year administrations.

In the Lothians all of the results are expected to be in by Friday evening, with parties from all four local authorities expected to be examining forming coalitions over the weekend.

When asked to state which party they would give their first vote to, 35 per cent of those taking part in our poll listed Labour, followed by 26 per cent listing SNP.

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However, insiders at both parties have suggested the final result will be tighter when the results are revealed and when second or third votes are taken into consideration.

Support for the Conservatives stood at around 17 per cent, followed by the Greens on 7.6 per cent and the Liberal Democrats on seven per cent.

The survey also found the city’s trams project remained the biggest single issue for voters.

Nearly two-thirds of those polled rated the Liberal Democrat performance when dealing with the project as poor, although all of the major parties scored poorly.

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The state of the Edinburgh roads network and cuts to council-provided services were also high on the agenda.

When asked to rate the performance of the five party leaders, Green leader Steve Burgess was given the highest average approval rating, followed by Conservative Jeremy Balfour.

Around 42 per cent rated the performance of Lib Dem leader Jenny Dawe as “poor” and 27 per cent “disappointing”. However, approval ratings are typically higher for opposition politicians than incumbents.

Andrew Burns, the leader of Edinburgh Labour, said: “Whilst the figures in this straw poll are encouraging for Edinburgh Labour, I’m absolutely clear that the only poll that counts is tomorrow.”

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Steve Cardownie, leader of the SNP group, said: “We’re standing 26 candidates and we’re fighting for every vote we can.”

Jason Rust, the Conservative economic development spokesman, said: “On the doorstep there is a feeling of lack of confidence, of anti-administration. Even if you take the politics out of this, there is a move against the groups are currently in charge.”

Steve Burgess, leader of Edinburgh’s Greens, said: “These are interesting figures but the real poll will be on the day.”

Your views

Today’s results come from a poll of nearly 700 News readers. Although the respondents are self-selected, rather than specially chosen as a cross-section of the electorate, they provide an interesting snapshot of attitudes on the eve of the elections.