Monday, 8 February 2010

Scotland polls

Today's Herald made for good reading for the Labour party in Scotland and probably gave Alex Salmond another bout of indigestion in the wake of "piegate". I'm still wondering, with the experience the Tories had of trying to auction meals to grease wheels at Westminster, why the SNP would bother trying the same fund-raising stunt at Holyrood.

Anyway, that's beside the point. The poll figures.

At Westminster Labour is on 42%, the highest level since the 2005 General Election. The SNP is up one point to 26%, good but not enough to come near Salmond's target of 20 seats at General Election. (He's notoriously over-optimistic).

The Conservatives are unchanged on 18% and the Liberal Democrats are down a point on 11%.

In the Holyrood vote Labour has gone from trailing the SNP by eight points on both constituency and regional list votes to a lead of two and seven points respectively

Support for Labour in the Holyrood constituency vote at 37% while SNP support fell to 35%

SNP are on 30% in the regional vote and 37% backed Labour.

LibDems and Tories are static on 12% over the last three months, while the Greens improve by one point to 5%.

Okay, got all that. Now the fun part.

Running today's Herald poll figures through the Scotland Votes website gives the following figures:

Westminster result:
Lab 42 MPs (+2)
SNP 7 (-)
Libs 7 (-4)
Con 3 (+2)

Holyrood result:
Lab 53
SNP 42
Libs 15
Con 14
Grn 3
Ind 2

All this has as much bearing on reality as these polls saying that the Tory lead in narrowing so much nationally and that Brown will go for a snap election.It's hard to see Labour gaining in Scotland against the UK tide and local Lib Dem support is usually under-estimated by polling. Hey, but why spoil Labours' ray of winter sunshine?

The big challenge for Labour in Scotland is turn-out of their supporters. They can be motivated by the threat of another Tory government, so deep is the cultural resentment of Thatcherism.

But that 39% to 30% Tory lead is a chimera. It represents Labour votes beginning to stack up in Labour constituencies, the Tories have eaten well into the 117 marginals they need for power. The Tories may be jittery but Labour needs to sew a lot more doubt about team Cameron to see the Tories off.

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