Survey shows high levels of trust in Scottish Government

94% of public think it is important to vote.

The latest Scottish Social Attitudes Survey shows public trust in the Scottish Government to act in Scotland’s best interests at more than four times as high as trust in the UK Government.

The survey, conducted in 2019-20 before lockdown, shows people were nearly five times more likely to say the Scottish Government should have most influence over how the country is run than to say the UK Government should.

The survey measured public attitudes towards trust in government and influence over how Scotland is run, as well as views on the economy, the health service, tax and voting.

The findings show:

  • 61% of people trusted the Scottish Government to work in Scotland’s best interests, compared with a record low of 15% for the UK Government
  • 73% of people thought the Scottish Government ought to have the most influence over how the country is run, compared with 15% for the UK Government
  • 61% of people thought the Scottish Parliament was giving Scotland a stronger voice in the UK, 5% thought it was giving Scotland a weaker voice
  • 94% of people thought it was important to vote in Scottish Parliament elections
  • Satisfaction with the way the NHS in Scotland is run at a record high since the survey began, sitting at 65%
  • Among those who thought that the economy had grown weaker over the last 12 months, people were more likely to say this was a result of UK Government policies (54%) than Scottish Government policies (19%)

Speaking on the 20th anniversary of the survey, Constitution Secretary Michael Russell said:

“The people of Scotland are politically engaged and trust the Scottish Government to listen to their views and act in their best interests.

“We are currently dealing with the biggest crisis our country has faced since wartime so, even though these data were collected before lockdown, it is heartening to see public trust in the Scottish Government remain so high. Throughout the pandemic we have recognised the importance of maintaining public trust and confidence in Government which has been absolutely vital in allowing us to control the virus effectively. We will strive to do all we can to maintain and deliver upon this trust and see the country through this challenging period.

“It is also clear the economy remains the highest priority for the people of Scotland. This is a priority we share and we are continuing to provide as much financial support as is in our gift to support our economy through these uncertain times.

“In recent years we have seen public trust in the UK Government continue to fall, with trust now at its lowest since the survey began twenty years ago. It is clear that the Scottish people have lost patience with the Westminster government over their continued failures on Brexit and the economy.”


The Social Attitudes Survey is a face-to-face survey which uses a random sample of all those aged 16 and over living anywhere in Scotland.

Analysis and reporting of the data was undertaken by ScotCen Social Research

Fieldwork for the Survey began on 30th August 2019 and ceased on 18th March 2020.


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