Labour’s efforts to stem the nationalist tide in Scotland aren’t working. Lord Ashcroft has polled eight marginals north of the border and the results confirm that the SNP is on course to conquer Scotland. In three Labour-held seats — East Renfrewshire, Glasgow South West, Paisley & Renfrewshire South — the SNP is set to take the seats with double digit swings. The Nats are 11 points ahead in Paisley, previously held by Douglas Alexander. In Jim Murphy’s seat of East Renfrewshire, a one point Labour lead in February has turned into a nine-point SNP lead.
The news isn’t much better for the Liberal Democrats. The party is set to lose all four marginals Ashcroft has polled: Charles Kennedy in Ross, Skye & Lochaber, Jo Swinson in East Dunbartonshire, Ming Campbell’s old seat North East Fife and Berwickshire, Roxburgh & Selkirk. While the first three are set to swing to the SNP, the Tories are surprisingly ahead in Berwickshire by one point. But the Tories’ only seat north of the border, Dumfriesshire, Clydesdale & Tweeddale, is set to be taken by the SNP.
Labour’s poor standing isn’t out of a lack of effort. In the three seats they won in 2010, Ashcroft reports that more people have heard from Labour than the SNP — suggesting that no matter how hard Labour try, it isn’t going to make a difference. The same goes for the Liberal Democrats in their four marginals and the Tories in Dumfriesshire.
As Ashcroft notes in his analysis, there still might be some surprises in store. In East Renfrewshire, the Conservative vote is significantly higher than in the other marginals (25 per cent) and more Tory voters are unwilling to support SNP over Labour. There is a possibility that these Tories might hold their noses, vote Labour and save Jim Murphy to keep the Nats out. Although the SNP is ahead in Berwickshire, the seat is a three way marginal with the Tories, Lib Dems and SNP within two points of each other. These polls confirm that the Nats still has the Big Mo in Scotland and it’s hard to see what could happen over the next three weeks to slow them down.