The disconsolate faces of the Labour campaigning team dropped even further last night as news of a new poll was released. Conducted by YouGov on behalf of the Scotland on Sunday newspaper, the poll shows that the SNP has increased the 11% lead over Labour it attained in Wednesday’s Sun poll. With a lead of 13% over Labour in the constituency vote, the new poll provides evidence against those who argued that the Sun poll was a rogue outlier.
Translated into seats, the poll would see the SNP take 61 seats in the Scottish Parliament, enough to form a government with the support of the Greens who are expected to take eight seats. Labour would lose four seats to be returned with a total of 42. The Conservatives would be on 11 seats and the Lib Dems seven. This would give the new Parliament a majority of MSPs who would vote in favour of an independence referendum, ending the blocking tactics of the Unionist parties.
Most alarmingly for Labour there appears little change in the Lib Dem or Conservative vote share compared to the last YouGov poll. Instead there appears to be a direct shift of former Labour voters to the SNP. The poll apparently confirms reports from the campaign that Labour’s vote is crumbling even in the heartland seats which form the bedrock of Labour’s Holyrood representation. Labour entered the election campaign 15% ahead of the SNP, its nearest rivals.
A second opinion poll published today in the Sunday Mail seemingly confirms both the Scotsman on Sunday poll and the earlier Sun poll. Carried out for the paper by Progressive Scottish Opinion, this poll has headline figures of SNP 46% in the constituency vote, with Labour 10% behind on 36%, the Conservatives are on 9%, with the Lib Dems trailing on 6%. The SNP maintains its lead in the regional vote, with the party on 38% compared to Labour’s 37%, while the Conservatives are on 10%, the Lib Dems on 9% and the Greens on 5%.
Three successive opinion polls have now shown the SNP to be in double digits ahead of Labour. Speaking to the Sunday Mail, Iain Gray highlighted the reported 40% of voters who are undecided on the list vote and said: “This poll shows there is all to play for because of the massive number of undecided people.”
Labour has continued to lose support throughout the campaign. The latest poll highlights the mountain which the party must climb in the remaining 11 days until the election is held. Faced with a buoyant SNP, Labour strategists are believed to be shifting their focus to more direct personal attacks on Alex Salmond, and will step up the negative campaigning.
It remains to be seen whether this approach will have greater traction with the voting public, but Labour is running out of time.
Scotland on Sunday Poll results
|SNP||45% (+5%)||39% (+4%)|
|Labour||32% (-5%)||29% (-4%)|
|Conservative||10% (-1%)||12% (-)|
|Liberal Democrats||8% (-)||7% (-)|
Percentage change in brackets from last week’s YouGov poll