Scotland has, for a long time, been a key stronghold for the Labour party. In 2010, Gordon Brown’s Labour won a vast majority of the seats in Scotland.
Polling in recent months suggests that, in the aftermath of the referendum, this is all about to change. Lord Ashcroft’s Scottish constituency polls indicate that the SNP are to make massive gains at Westminster - from Labour and the Liberal Democrats. Out of the fourteen Labour held seats polled, Ashcroft’s data suggests that the SNP could be poised to take thirteen of them.
Furthermore, out of the two Lib Dem seats polled, the data suggests that the SNP could take them both - including Danny Alexander’s constituency.
In some of the seats polled, Labour received large majorities last time, but the data now indicates that the party are trailing behind the SNP.
The new data seems to confirm that the SNP surge ‘is real’. In addition to this, a new YouGov poll, for the Times, appears to back this rise of the nationalists across the whole of Scotland. The poll gives the following results for Scotland-wide voting intentions in May:
Continuous polling has pointed towards this swing towards the SNP. The new YouGov poll reiterates this and the Ashcroft polling shows us the swing in much more depth.
What will this swing mean come May?
Simply put, if the SNP do get a majority of the seats in Scotland, then Labour’s chances of forming a majority government - and even being the largest party in Westminster - will be reduced dramatically. In the past, Labour have pretty much had a large guaranteed bloc of Scottish MPs, but now it looks like the party will have to work harder north of the border.
As for the Conservatives, the SNP rise will do little to affect their chances in May, after all the party only has one seat in Scotland.
Labour are facing a battle in Scotland, and the Conservatives are facing one below the border from UKIP, however, polling suggests that UKIP are unlikely to gain more than a handful of seats. At any rate, their chances of doing better than the SNP are slim.
This will give the Conservatives an advantage in terms of how many seats they could get, suggesting that the country might head towards a parliament with the Conservatives once again being the largest party.
Labour could still come out on top, but if they lose out in Scotland, then they will have to do exceptionally well in the rest of the country.
Overall, whilst not predictions, the polls are indicating that the SNP surge is real and it will likely affect the shape of the UK government, following May’s election.