Labour facing landslide defeat in Scottish election

Almost two-thirds of those asked plan to vote SNP in next May’s elections for the Scottish Parliament


The sense of crisis engulfing the Labour Party as Jeremy Corbyn looks set for a clear victory in the leadership contest has been compounded by abysmal new data from Scotland.

Polling by TNS BMRB has found that 62 per cent of those questioned intend to vote for the SNP in the constituency section of next May’s elections for the Scottish Parliament, up 2 percentage points from last month.

Labour remain on just 20 per cent, unchanged from last year, with the Conservatives are down 2 points to 12 per cent and the Lib Dems falling from 5 per cent to 3 per cent.

Similar changes were seen in the regional list vote, with the SNP on 54 per cent (up 3 percentage points), Labour on 20 per cent (down 1 point), the Conservatives down 1 point to 12 per cent, the Greens on 8 per cent (up 1 point) and the Lib Dems languishing on 4 per cent (down 1 point).

According to the Scotland Votes website, such a result would see the number of SNP MSP increase from the 69 it secured in 2011 to 78 in 2016. Labour meanwhile would see its tally of MSPs fall from the 37 achieved in 2011 to just 25 next year.

More difficult still for Labour is the news that 15 per cent of those who backed the party in Scotland at the general election are planning to vote SNP for the Scottish parliament, compared with 8 per cent the previous month.

The increased support for the SNP comes despite the party polling poorly when those surveyed were asked to rate the government’s record over the last 12 months in a number of key areas. On the NHS and crime and justice, 29 per cent of adults said the SNP government had performed poorly – a quarter of the SNP’s own supporters rated the party poor on the NHS and 22 per cent on crime and justice.

Commenting on the results, head of TNS Scotland Tom Costley said:

“It is interesting that the SNP has such a strong lead in voting intentions for the Scottish parliament while only a third or fewer of voters view its performance in the past year in a positive light.

“This poll suggests that the opposition parties may find voters ready to listen to their alternative policies, although with Labour still engaged in leadership elections at Scottish and UK level, the SNP’s chief rival in Scotland is not yet ready to present a programme to the electorate.”

He continued:

“The SNP’s position may be largely due to the positive mood surrounding its strong performance in the referendum and general election. But there has been extensive media reporting of problems on devolved issues, especially in the NHS and around the new unified Police Scotland.

“The SNP now has an opportunity to build the case for its record in government before the Holyrood election campaign gets properly under way towards the end of this year.”

Ed Jacobs is a contributing editor to Left Foot Forward. Follow him on Twitter

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