Dramatic poll swing to SNP means gap with Labour closed

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A large Labour lead of 15% over the SNP has been wiped out in the space of a month according to a TNS-BMRB poll out today.  The survey, conducted between 21-27 March among 1,028 adults, contrasts sharply with a survey by the same organisation conducted last month. (Figures in brackets relate to previous poll)

On the constituency vote the SNP recorded 37% (+8) compared to Labour on 38% (-6).  The Conservative vote is holding firm at 15% (+3) while the downward trend for the Lib Dems seems to be confirmed as they poll just 7% (-4) with others on 3%.

In relation to the regional list vote, the SNP score 35% (+6) drawing level with Labour also on 35% (-4), the Conservatives follow on 14% (+3), trailed by the Lib Dems on 8% (-2), others on 3% (-8) and the Greens recording 5%.

Labour’s lead was expected to narrow as the election brought scrutiny of the opposition parties’ policies and with the media focus being put on to Scottish issues, a factor which tends to favour the SNP.  However the scale of the collapse in Labour’s lead perhaps indicates that a more fundamental shift is taking place.

Labour have heaped problems upon themselves.  The party seems to want to conceal the leader of Labour’s Holyrood group from the cameras.  The reason for this seems to be that a comparison with Alex Salmond, the big beast of Scottish politics, would only cost the party more votes.

Other factors are causing consternation for Labour.  It recently emerged that their manifesto was uncosted and needed a rewrite.  It now transpires that Labour’s conversion to a council tax freeze is an uncosted promise too.

At the same time the SNP have come out with a flurry of initiatives which allow the Nationalists to portray themselves as brimming with confidence and positive ideas, against the backdrop of a Labour campaign which seems to be imploding.

If Labour cannot get its act together soon the SNP will find itself against an invisible contender in terms of leader and party.  With the wind in their sails the SNP will feel that they merely have to allow Labour to self-destruct and the keys to Bute House will belong to Alex Salmond for the next 5 years.

SNP Depute Leader Nicola Sturgeon said: “This is a sensational poll, showing that Labour’s lead evaporates as people focus on Scotland’s election.

“All the momentum is with the SNP – in the space of a month, we have wiped out a 15-point Labour lead.  There are over five weeks still to go – and already our ratings are 4 points up compared to our election-winning performance in 2007.

“It is now level pegging in the polls.  Labour have spent the last month looking over their shoulders and copying all of the SNP’s policies – but people can tell the real thing from the counterfeit.

“We are confident that we can win people’s trust, and that voters will endorse the positive record of the SNP in Government and our vision of a better Scotland – with 1000 more police on our streets, a continued council tax freeze, a record 25,000 apprenticeship places for young Scots, and protection for health spending.”