By A Newsnet Reporter
Latest polling suggests that the SNP’s grip on Scottish politics has continued to tighten since the independence referendum.
The poll, conducted for STV by Ipsos MORI, shows that SNP support in the constituency vote in the Scottish elections stands at a record-setting 57 per cent – 34 points ahead of Labour.
In the “list vote”, SNP support stands at 50 per cent. Labour support is at 23 per cent in both constituency and list sections – both record lows for the party.
Mark Diffley, Director at Ipsos MORI Scotland, described the poll as “both a high point for the SNP and a low point for Scottish Labour in terms of polls we have undertaken”.
The SNP figure is even higher than Westminster voting intentions, which were polled by Ipsos MORI last week and placed the party at 52 per cent.
The figures coincide with the SNP’s remarkable rise in membership since the September 18 poll, with the party now claiming 83,000 members – a more than trebling of pre-referendum levels and an unprecedented figure in modern Scottish politics.
STV Tonight reported that hustings meetings for the party’s deputy leadership contest are attracting record attendances.
The figures continue to make grim reading for the other parties, and particularly Labour, which stands to lose many Westminster seats in 2015 and Holyrood seats in 2016, even if the poll figures are marginally wrong.
At this stage in the UK electoral cycle, the main opposition party would expect to be in a far stronger position, if it has any hopes of a win. Ed Miliband’s leadership is looking increasingly weak as Ukip rises in England and the “Yes” parties soar north of the border.
Welcoming the poll, SNP Business Convener Derek Mackay said: “While there is no room for complacency and there is a lot of hard work to be done in the weeks and months ahead, this encouraging new poll is only the latest to show a surge in SNP support and the Labour vote in freefall.
“That the SNP vote has hit a record high after more than seven years in government is testament to the strong record of delivery of the SNP.
“It’s clear that voters across the country haven’t forgotten or forgiven the Labour Party’s decision to work shoulder to shoulder with the Tories in the No campaign, and are also passing judgment on their status as just a ‘branch office’ of Westminster Labour, to quote Johann Lamont.”
Political analysts continue to grapple with the “new politics” of Scotland, and especially the unexpected scenario where the side that lost the referendum experiences an immediate rush of support, and that the parties who won – “Better Together” – are losing in the polls, and in Labour’s case facing disaster.
The likely Labour leadership winners are Jim Murphy MP and Kezia Dugdale MSP, both of whom have secured strong support from parliamentarians especially in the case of Dugdale. As nominations close, it is clear that only an overwhelming rejection by the trade union and party membership sections of the electoral college will stop Murphy from winning the poisoned chalice left behind by Johann Lamont.