Momentum with Salmond as SNP overtake Labour in poll

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A YouGov opinion poll out today has placed the SNP ahead of Labour on the constituency vote in the Holyrood election contest. The findings show a sudden shift in support from the result of a survey taken by the same polling organisation last month.

The poll conducted between 25-28 March, among 1,025 Scottish adults, shows the SNP on 40% (+8) with Labour on 39% (-2), the Conservatives on 11% and the Lib Dems on 5% (-3) alongside others on 5%.  On the regional list vote Labour have the advantage recording 39% (-1) with the SNP on 32% (+6), the Conservatives on 12% (-2) with the Greens on 6%, Lib Dems 5%, SSP 4% and others 2%.

With the leading parties so closely tied observers will look to other key indicators in terms of how the electorate percieve the parties to determine who will win the keys to Bute House.

Asked in the same poll who respondents would prefer “If you had to choose between Labour and the SNP, irrespective of who you would normally vote for.” the SNP are marginally ahead recording 44% with Labour on 42% and don’t know on 13%.

As the campaign heats up the most critical factor will be the popularity ratings of party leaders. The YouGov poll also asked “Who would make the best First Minister?”. On this key question voters put Alex Salmond out in the lead on 38%, with Labour’s Iain Gray trailing well behind on 14%. Annabel Goldie who has suffered multiple candidate resignations over the last few days is on 9% with Tavish Scott on 3% and the Green’s Patrick Harvie on 1%.

With the media concentrating on Scottish issues the SNP are clearly enjoying the early stages of the campaign with numerous celebrity endorsements, costed manifesto pledges and a very capable party leader. By contrast Labour have seen splits in the Holyrood leadership team, are seen to be making policy on-the-hoof and their leader in Scotland is not revelling in the campaign as was clear from last night’s televised leadership debate. With the Tories suffering the resignation of candidates and the Lib Dem vote seemingly in meltdown the stars seem to be aligning for the SNP.

Not surprisingly SNP leaders are delighted with the YouGov findings. Welcoming the YouGov poll, Scottish National Party Depute Leader and Deputy First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said:

“This is an excellent poll, confirming that the SNP have the big momentum in this campaign.  Since last month’s YouGov poll, we have reversed a 9-point Labour lead in the constituency vote to move ahead for the first time in a year.  It shows that we can reach the election-winning 40 per cent threshold, and we have also moved forward 6 points on the regional list since last month – where our ‘Alex Salmond for First Minister’ message stands us in extremely good stead to make further progress.”

“The poll also adds to the wealth of evidence demonstrating that Alex Salmond is streets ahead of the other leaders in terms who would be best First Minister.

“Labour’s unremitting negativity is coming unstuck.”