A new opinion poll conducted by TNS-BRMB shows that the SNP are on course to form the next government.
The survey, with a sample of 1063 adults, is likely the last to be published before polling day and suggests the Nationalists will win enough votes to pick up 61 seats – 14 more than they they secured in their historic 2007 victory.
At the same time Labour’s share of the vote appears to be crumbling with Iain Gray’s party forecast to pick up only 33 parliamentary seats. If the poll is accurate the Conservatives would win 18 seats, the Liberal Democrats 9 and the Greens 8.
In terms of percentage share of the vote the poll indicates support for the SNP has risen over the course of the campaign when compared to the last survey conducted by the same polling organistation (in brackets) in March this year.
In the constituency vote the SNP is at 45% (+8) vote, Labour is on 27% (-11) the Conservatives static on 15% and Liberal Democrats up on 10% (+3). In terms of the all-important regional vote, the SNP is on 38% (+3), Labour 25% (-10), Lib Dems move up to 9% (+1) the Tories on 16% (+2) with the Greens on 8% (+3) and Others on 4%.
If this poll is accurate the SNP will become one of very few governments to be re-elected since the 2007 credit crisis with an increased representation in a national parliament. Such an outcome would be a strong mandate for revisiting the Scotland Bill and dramatically increasing the powers Scots have through their parliament.
This projected outcome would give the Nationalists options in terms of post-election deals and allow them to continue as a minority government. A simple understanding with the Scottish Greens would allow for Scots to finally have a referendum on whether they wanted to be ruled from Westminster or form an independent nation. Perhaps a sign of things to come is Liberal Democrat leader Tavish Scott’s assertion that such a referendum would not be a deal-breaker were coalition talks to take place between the Liberal Democrats and the SNP.
Reacting to the poll David McLetchie, Scottish Conservative campaign manager, said: “This is further proof that Annabel’s common sense approach and telling it like it is has been going down well on doorsteps across Scotland. Voters appreciate honesty, acknowledging we have been realistic about the challenges of today whilst being optimistic about tomorrow.
Johann Lamont, depute leader of Labour in Scotland said: “With over half of all voters undecided how they will vote, this poll show it is all to play for.
“The SNP are arrogantly slapping themselves on the back before a single vote has been cast, but the only poll that matters is polling day and every hour between now and polling day Labour will be fighting for every vote.”
SNP deputy leader Nicola Sturgeon welcomed the poll: “This is an excellent poll, but we are taking nothing for granted.
“People support our record, team and vision for Scotland – many for the first time – and we will work harder than ever before to achieve the re-election of the SNP Government and Alex Salmond for First Minister on Thursday.”
Scottish Greens co-convener Patrick Harvie said the results reflected his party’s “positive” campaign.
He added: “The momentum we’ve found on the doorsteps and in the streets is certainly showing up in the polls, and this would be the Scottish Greens’ best ever result.”