Tories pull ahead of Labour in Scotland

Poll suggests Tories could win 22 seats to Labour's 21 and become the largest opposition party


As the Labour Party struggles not to gloat at the difficulties now engulfing the Conservative Party, it would do well to remember that Iain Duncan Smith’s resignation will count for nothing if it cannot be translated into votes this coming May, especially in Scotland.

In fact, recent polling suggests that the Conservatives are still competitive to become Scotland’s largest opposition party.

While much of the spin at Labour HQ will be about Sadiq Khan turning City Hall in London red again, regaining lost support in Scotland is what will ultimately be crucial to getting the party back into Number 10. This is a key bar that must be set for the leadership under Jeremy Corbyn.

Currently, however, the party is heading for something even worse than the abyss that it entered north of the border at the General Election.

Speaking at Scottish Labour’s annual conference leader Kezia Dugdale, made all the right noises. She pledged the ‘most radical manifesto ever’ for the Holyrood elections, promising to use new powers coming to Scotland to end austerity by introducing a fiscal rule that would dictate there could be no tax cuts at the same time as public spending is being reduced.

It was tub thumping stuff, but stuff that, if the polls are to be believed, the people of Scotland are just not listening.

According to the latest polling by Survation for the Daily Record, the figures get grimmer still for Labour.

Asked how they would vote in the constituency section of the Scottish Parliamentary elections:

  • 54 per cent of respondents said SNP, up one percentage points from last month
  • 20 per cent said Labour, down 3 points to 20 per cent
  • Conservative support remains unchanged on 16 per cent
  • 7 per cent responded Liberal Democrat, leaving them up one point
  • Other parties are up a point to 4 per cent

On the regional list section of the vote:

  • The SNP are down 3 points to 42 per cent
  • Labour’s support is unchanged on 18 per cent
  • The Conservatives are up 3 points to 18 per cent.
  • The Greens are up one to 10 per cent
  • The Lib Dems’ support is unchanged on 6 per cent.
  • UKIP are on 5 per cent, down one point
  • Other parties unchanged on 1 per cent.

According to the Scotland Votes website, applied universally across Scotland, such results would see the SNP pick up one seat to secure 70 MSPs at Holyrood. Labour’s representation would slump from the 37 seats picked up in 2011 to just 21 this May. The Conservatives would, using these figures become the official opposition, winning 22 seats, up from the 15 they won in 2011. The Lib Dems would win 6 seats, with the Greens up 7 to 9 and UKIP picking up just one seat in the Scottish Parliament.

Outlining the results, Chris Hopkins, Senior Project Manager at Survation, went on to highlight why the Conservatives seem to be doing relatively well, with Scottish Conservative Leader Ruth Davidson’s favourability rates being better, once again, than Kezia Dugdale’s. He explained:

Respondents were also asked to what extent they feel favourably or unfavourably towards a “number of UK or Scottish political leaders. For the third month in a row, SNP leader Nicola Sturgeon was the only leader with a positive net favourability rating (+21), with the next ‘best’ rating again coming from the Co-convenor of the Scottish Green Party, Patrick Harvie (-1%). However, Sturgeon’s favourability has dropped 7 points since our first poll in January, making her the only leader on our list whose favourability has fallen consistently month-on-month.

Ed Jacobs is a contributing editor at Left Foot Forward

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