4 Feb 2015

SNP holding on to yes vote

The striking thing in the Ashcroft poll on Scottish constituencies is when you look down the SNP share of vote column constituency by constituency. What you see is that they are polling more or less what the yes vote won in that area in the referendum in September.

That suggests that the SNP is now sitting on – allowing for a bit of churning – pretty much all the Labour supporters who backed independence. The no vote by contrast has floated back to party silos and leaves the anti-SNP vote severely fractured.

The polling does suggest that some of the lost Labour vote could be recoverable – around a third. But who knows what it’ll take and whether it can be done.

As Ed Miliband got up in the Commons for question time he was greeted by the usual Tory MPs’ mock cheering. This time it was joined in by the (for now) relatively small ranks of the SNP MPs, waving their order papers.

When I was in the Gordon constituency on Monday, where Alex Salmond is trying to win Lib Dem veteran MP Sir Malcolm Bruce’s seat, the Lib Dem candidate Christine Jardine was confident she would pick up support from Labour and the Tories voting tactically against the SNP.

The Ashcroft poll suggests that she needs to squeeze the combined Labour and Tory tallies by two thirds just to draw level with Mr Salmond. Quite a tall order. The poll says it was conducted in the last week of January, so it’s hard to say it is out of date.

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