Conservatives lead Labour (again) in Scotland

SNP projected to pick up two more seats than in 2011


Labour’s Scottish headaches continue unabated as new polling over the weekend suggests that the Conservatives continue to be snapping at their heals for second place in May’s elections to Holyrood.

According to the polling conducted by Panelbase for the Sunday Times, Labour are on 19 per cent of the constituency vote, just marginally ahead of the Conservatives on 18 per cent. The SNP are on 51 per cent with the Lib Dems on five per cent.

On the regional list section of the ballot, the Conservatives are just ahead of Labour on 19 per cent, with Labour on 18 per cent of the vote. The SNP meanwhile are on 47 per cent with the Lib Dems on four per cent and Greens on eight per cent.

Putting aside the SNP picking up two more seats than 2011, according to the Scotland Votes website, should such results be applied universally across Scotland, the Conservatives would become the second largest party at Holyrood with 24 seats up from the 15 they gained in 2011. Labour meanwhile would slump to just 22, down from the 37 MSPs they secured in 2011.

Such results mirror the finds of polling by YouGov for the Times last week which showed the Conservatives on course to become the official opposition in the Scottish Parliament, and Scottish Conservative Leader, Ruth Davidson, seen as the preferred candidate to lead the principle opposition party.

The results coincide with a paper published by the Electoral Reform Society on the Scottish elections. Written by Professor John Curtice of Strathclyde University it argues that the SNP could perform so well under the first-past-the-post constituency section of the vote that, under the electoral system used, a vote for them in the regional list section, using a form of proportional representation, could be wasted.

Noting that current polling suggests the SNP could take just two list seats, Curtice writes:

“That would appear to imply that under this scenario many a list vote for the SNP would be ‘wasted’, that is it would fail to contribute towards the election of an MSP.

“Indeed, under our scenario that proves to be case for any regional list vote cast for the SNP anywhere other than in the Highland and Islands region, the only region where the party is projected to win any list seats.

“That this situation could arise in a number of regions, given the SNP’s current standing in the polls, has led to speculation that nationalist supporters might be wise on the second ballot to vote tactically for a different party, such as the Greens or the left-wing RISE grouping, both of which also support independence.

“That way their vote might contribute to the election of another independence-supporting MSP rather than apparently be wasted, though this is not a strategy without risks.”

The findings come as the SNP will this week launch its manifesto for the elections with a call for the Scottish Parliament to approve a second independence referendum, if, in the words of Nicola Sturgeon over the weekend, there is ‘clear and sustained’ evidence that most Scots want to leave the UK.

Such a commitment will prove controversial given the assurances given by many senior figures in the SNP that the 2014 referendum was a once in a generation event.

On the Andrew Marr show, Yvette Cooper MP brushed off a question about the existential threat that Brexit combined with a second Scottish referendum would pose to Labour.  She argued that it would more importantly be an ‘existential moment for the country’.

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6 Responses to “Conservatives lead Labour (again) in Scotland”

  1. Richard MacKinnon

    I think British Labour have to realise that Scotland is lost to them, for ever. The final sentencing will be next May when Labours last grip on power in Scotland (the last few central belt councils) will be prized from their grasp. There is no way back. The political landscape has changed up here post 2014. Labour are the casualties. Analyse it until Christ returns to Govan, its has little to do with the SNP or the creation of a new left, it is a simple case of years of neglect by Labour towards Scotland. Labours ‘right of entitlement’ to Scotland has been tested and found to be flawed. The sentence to be served for such arrogance began with the General Election 2015, will continue with the Scottish election next month. The capital sentence will be served at the council elections May 2017.

  2. alanpps

    Whilst not disagreeing with the articles finding; is it a matter of Scottish Labour not having sufficient resources such as money! That is leading to the above; surely more activity from big hitters and proper funding would at least prevent the Cons from taking 2nd place.

    Or have the lot in London decided the funding and effort is better invested elsewhere?

  3. Gordon McQueen

    Labour is failing in my view because unlike the Conservatives no one knows where they stand on the preservation of the United Kingdom. They seem to be frightened of the word Unionist, the messaging is confusing over the E.U. with Kezia Dugdale saying she would want a new referendum in Scotland if the the U.K. votes for brexit, which personally I hope does happen. Worst of all they keep asking members for donations, why?. not to mention all the Party infighting which is putting people of them.

  4. Richard MacKinnon

    Alanpps, I suspect due to your comments that you don’t come from Scotland. Please be assured Labours problems up here are the entirely the fault of the management and operation of the Branch Office over the last few decades. It is a pointless exercise looking at how Labour lost its heartlands because they are lost and will never be won back.
    There is a hint of why Labour in Scotland is no more than a chapter of 20th century history in the tag ‘The Branch Office’ first used by Johhan Lamont ( the manager of the office before Kezia, Iain and Jim), but one thing is for sure it is not about money or the lack of it.

  5. David Lindsay

    The achievements of the Blair and Brown Governments were fully supported by all members of the present Shadow Cabinet. Some of them opposed other aspects of those Governments’ programmes. That opposition has been vindicated by events. For example, the Private Finance Initiative and Public-Private Partnership projects that are literally collapsing in Edinburgh.

    Jeremy Corbyn has brought world class economists into the British political debate for the first time in 35 years. He has ended the hegemony of neoconservative foreign policy. He has forced the media to include the left-wing critique of the European Union, account of which will therefore have to be taken in the arrangements following either outcome to the forthcoming referendum. He has exposed this Prime Minister’s ties to Saudi Arabia, which is the centre of global terrorism.

    Corbyn has broken the silence around the “renewal” of Trident, which was not discussed in England at the 2015 General Election. In Scotland, it is deliberately mixed up with a Scottish independence question to which it is irrelevant. That independence would not rid the world of even so much as a single nuclear weapon. The ones that are currently in Scotland would just be moved. In any case, by accepting NATO, the SNP has conceded the point. By very stark contrast, there is no evidence that Corbyn has conceded the slightest thing to, on or about NATO. That space will be very well worth watching.

    Tom Watson’s Deputy Leadership makes Corbyn’s a balanced ticket. Corbyn’s Britain would be a significant counterweight to the America of Donald Trump, Ted Cruz, Hillary Clinton or, although he is the best of the bunch, Bernie Sanders. Under any of last year’s other Leadership candidates, Labour would not have opposed the cuts that have caused Iain Duncan Smith to resign. It would have had nothing to say about the crisis in the steel industry, having accepted global neoliberalism and neoliberal globalisation. Therefore, it could not have had any response to the Panama Papers, since, in the teeth of the strongest possible opposition from Corbyn and from John McDonnell, the Blair Premiership and the Brown Chancellorship had actively encouraged, assisted and celebrated the activities to which those Papers referred.

    With the SNP expected to win most of the constituency seats at Holyrood, all opponents of any one or more of George Osborne’s failed austerity programme, of neoconservative wars, of the Saudi regime, and of Trident, ought to give their list votes to Labour. The Labour lead in Wales is welcome, and a riposte to Lynton Crosby’s propaganda, both against the Principality, and against the principle of Bevan’s NHS. At the English local elections, now that the Liberal Democrats have collapsed, Labour is the only way to vote against cuts to jobs, services and amenities. George Galloway’s mainstream social democratic programme deserves Londoners’ first preference votes. Anyone else who became Mayor must owe it to Galloway’s second preferences. With Labour likely to do very well for the London Assembly’s constituencies, list votes need to be cast for Respect.

    A Labour list vote in Scotland, at least one Labour vote in Wales, a Labour vote in England, a first preference vote for Galloway, and a Labour constituency vote with a Respect list vote for the London Assembly. These are the means of entrenching our newfound right to debate the balance between the public and private sectors, to debate the balance between economic openness and economic patriotism, to debate tax avoidance, to debate the EU in terms of workers’ right and public services, to debate Trident, to debate NATO, and to debate this country’s relationship with terrorist Saudi Arabia.

  6. henry hooper

    No-one knows what Labour are for any more, its not money they are short of, its principles.
    The level of cheap anti-SNP politicking is disgraceful…every time George Foulkes opens up his mouth down goes Labour support.
    If the Gordon Brown/ Tory promise of devomax/ full federalism had been met they would still be in with a shout but their obstructiveness to go down that path once they got their No vote was the final nail in their coffin.
    The sooner they realise they need to grasp independence the better

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