Labour’s headaches get worse

Labour would be forgiven for reaching for the paracetamol this morning.

Labour would be forgiven for reaching for the paracetamol this morning

The Labour Party is facing a further headache following new polling that has revealed that the SNP are now ahead of the party in voting intentions for both Holyrood and Westminster.

According to new data collected by Survation and commissioned by the SNP, asked how they would vote in the constituency vote for the Scottish Parliament, when the undecided are taken out, the SNP now lead Labour by 15 per cent, with the nationalists on 42 per cent (down 3 per cent on the 2011 election results) whilst Labour are on 27 per cent (down 5 per cent).

On the regional list vote, again, the SNP lead Labour with the Scots Nats on 37 per cent (-7 per cent), and Labour on 27 per cent (+1 per cent).

Labour will however be most concerned about the figures on voting intentions for Westminster where the SNP now lead Labour on 34 per cent (+14 per cent from 2010) whilst Labour are on 32 per cent (-10 per cent). This represents a 12 per cent swing from the SNP to Labour which George Eaton in the New Statesman has argued would be “deadly” for Ed Miliband if it were to be reflected in the election next year.

Interestingly, on Westminster voting intentions, the Conservatives north of the border, according to the poll, now stand on 18 per cent, up 1 per cent from 2010, a reflection of the good campaign that Ruth Davidson is widely believed to have had during the independence referendum as leader of the Scottish Conservatives.

It could be that this is a rogue poll, but none the less, a combination of the SNP’s membership  trebling since the independence referendum and the boost the party will undoubtedly get with Nicola Sturgeon taking the leadership in November now makes it look highly likely that the nationalists will successfully take some seats from Labour next May on the mantra of holding the UK parties ‘feet to the fire’ when it comes to further powers being devolved to Holyrood.

Given Labour’s continued reliance on its rump of Scottish Labour MPs, such news will have many at Labour HQ worried about the rapid erosion in its once heartland seats.

This is compounded by a similar pattern emerging in Wales where Roger Scully, Professor of Political Science in the Wales Governance Centre at Cardiff University, has noted that Welsh Labour has seen a considerable decline in support over the past 18-24 months. As he has explained:

“In the four polls conducted in 2012, Labour’s general election vote share was always at or above 50 per cent. Both the last two have had it below 40 per cent.”

The polling comes following what was widely believed to have been a lacklustre performance from Ed Miliband in his speech to the party conference last week with the icing on the difficult to swallow cake being today’s YouGov poll putting the Conservatives ahead of Labour on UK wide voting intentions.

And for information, YouGov have also revealed that more people would want to go for a drink with Boris Johnson, Nigel Farage, David Cameron, Nick Clegg and  Theresa May than Ed Miliband.

Labour would be forgiven for wanting to grab for the paracetamol this morning.

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