If replicated at a General Election this would be less disastrous for Labour than some have predicted
New polling suggests that Labour’s fortunes in Scotland may not be quite as bleak as thought.
The figures from those Scots who state a voting preference and are certain to vote, complied by TNS, puts the SNP on 41 per cent, Labour on 31 per cent, the Conservatives on 16 per cent, the Greens on 6 per cent, the Lib Dems on 19 per cent and UKIP on 2 per cent.
If replicated at a General Election this would be less disastrous for Labour than recent polling which has given the SNP a 20-point lead.
Commenting on the findings, Professor John Curtice of Strathclyde University noted that if replicated at a General Election Labour would “hang on to half of its current seats”.
“It reminds us of just how much difference a few points either way makes to Labour and SNP prospects,” he added.
Asked how the change of Scottish Labour’s leader in December to Jim Murphy affected their vote, 8 per cent of Scottish voters said it made them more likely to vote Labour, 8 per cent said less likely and 77 per cent said it made no difference to how they would vote.
Almost two-thirds (64 per cent) of those polled said they were now certain to vote at the General Election, noticeably lower than the 85 per cent turnout seen during the independence referendum.
Commenting on the figures, head of TNS Scotland Tom Costley said:
“It would appear that the high level of turnout for the independence referendum is not going to be replicated, not surprising when you consider the different context between the two events.”
“The turnaround in the Scottish political scene which sees the SNP polling at this level has been widely attributed to traditional Labour voters who voted Yes in the referendum deciding to stay with the SNP. But it is also worth noting that the SNP may well also have benefited from the collapse of the Liberal Democrat vote – from 19 per cent in the 2010 election to 4 per cent in the latest poll.”
“It should also be noted that one quarter (26 per cent) of all adults aged 18+ in Scotland, and 24 per cent of those who say they are certain to vote on the day, are currently undecided, suggesting there is still considerable scope for all parties to influence the final results in the next three months.”
Responding to the poll, a spokesperson for Scottish Labour warned that “in the end the only people who will benefit from these polls are David Cameron and the Tories”.
“It is a simple fact that the single biggest party gets to form the next government. The more seats the SNP get from Labour, the more likely it is the Tories will be the biggest party and David Cameron will get into government through the back door.”
For the SNP, declaring the poll to be a “major blow” to the Labour leadership, the party’s General Election campaign director, Angus Robertson responded:
“By electing SNP MPs, the people of Scotland can vote to get rid of the Tories, protect the welfare of everyone who lives here, and promote progressive politics across the UK.”
Ed Jacobs is a contributing editor to Left Foot ForwardLike this article? Sign up to Left Foot Forward's weekday email for the latest progressive news and comment - and support campaigning journalism by making a donation today.