Latest poll shows Lib Dems are staring at extinction

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by a Newsnet reporter

A poll published yesterday by Angus Reid Public Opinion shows that support from the SNP continues to grow, whereas the Lib Dems appear to be suffering the brunt of public anger for allying themselves in a coalition with the Conservatives and implementing a programme of cuts to public spending.  Full details of the poll can be viewed here.

Although based on a very small sub-sample, the poll appears to confirm the trend displayed by recent UK wide polls, all of which report a strong showing by the SNP and the almost complete annihilation of the Lib Dems.

The most dramatic finding of the poll is the collapse in Lib Dem voting intention.  A mere 3% of respondents said they would vote Lib Dem at the next Westminster election.  The party obtained almost 19% of Scottish votes during the 2010 election.  This finding is in line with other recent polls, all of which point to the catastrophic decline in the party’s fortunes.

Support for the SNP in Westminster voting intentions is 15% up compared to the figure obtained by the party at the Westminster General Election last year.  The poll puts the SNP on 35% of the vote, substantially greater than their disappointing 20% vote share in 2010.  

The poll shows that many in Scotland continue to prefer Labour for Westminster elections, 44% of those sampled said they would vote for the party at the next Westminster election.  The difference between this figure and the party’s 42% vote share in 2010 is statistically insignificant.

Two other recent polls showed that the SNP was ahead of Labour in Scottish voting intentions for Westminster elections.  Although this latest poll offers some comfort to party strategists, it confirms that Labour in Scotland are not getting the benefit of the Lib Dems’ electoral melt-down.

Persuading disaffected Lib Dem voters to switch to Labour was a key aim of the party during the Holyrood election this year.  This poll appears to confirm that Labour is still not getting its message across to disaffected Lib Dem voters in Scotland.

The SNP have welcomed the poll.  Commenting, SNP MSP for the South of Scotland Chic Brodie said:

“This is a small sample, but another sensational poll indication for the SNP for a Westminster General Election – and a disaster for the UK coalition parties, particularly the Lib Dems.  It shows that the SNP’s momentum is continuing, with our support up 15 points from last year’s Westminster election, while the Lib Dems have crashed by 16 points to an all-time record low of just 3 per cent.  A series of councillors across Scotland have already switched from the Lib Dems to SNP, and these figures show that this is being reflected right through the Lib Dems’ dwindling ranks in Scotland.

“The poll will set alarm bells ringing in Lib Dem headquarters in Scotland – it spells out the price of the Lib Dems’ negative attitude to more powers for the Scottish Parliament, and how under Willie Rennie’s leadership they have degenerated into just becoming cheerleaders for the unpopular Tories.

“Other UK poll sub-samples in recent days – for MORI and ComRes – have actually put the SNP in the lead for a Westminster General Election, and these latest figures show that the SNP continue to have the wind in our sails.”