An opinion poll out tomorrow shows that the SNP have opened up a large lead over Labour in the election race. The survey conducted by Ipsos/MORI is a devastating blow to Iain Gray and the Labour party which will now most certainly go into damage limitation mode.
The survey of 1,000 people was conducted between 14th and 17th April and shows a significant shift in voting intentions compared to a survey by the same organisation last month (in brackets). On the constituency vote the SNP record 45% (+8) while Labour have dropped to 34% (-2), the Conservatives are on 10% (-3) and the Lib Dems on 9% (-1). On the regional vote the SNP record 42% (+7) with Labour on 32% (-1), the Conservatives score 10% (-3) and the Lib Dems on 8% (-2) with Others registering 8%.
The poll shows that as the election campaign has unfolded the SNP have grown in popularity. However the more important factor is that as the undecideds make up their minds they are choosing the SNP based largely on the popularity of party leader Alex Salmond. The nationalist leader is highly recognisable among the Scottish electorate compared to his adversary Iain Gray. The popularity of a party leader is a key factor in helping floating voters decide where to place their cross in the voting booth.
Nor surprisingly the SNP are delighted with the poll. The party’s campaign organiser Angus Robertson said:
“This is an excellent poll, and confirms that more and more people are considering voting SNP – many for the first time – because they want to re-elect the SNP Government and Alex Salmond for First Minister.
“We are taking nothing for granted, and will contest the remaining two weeks of the campaign as a close two-horse race.
“We will continue working hard to earn the trust and support of the people for the SNP’s record, team and vision for Scotland.”