SNP surge: Jim Murphy hanging on by his fingernails

Jim Murphy - Cabinet meeting

Lord Ashcroft’s latest round of constituency polling suggests that the Scottish Labour leader is on the edge of losing his seat.

Jim Murphy, who was elected Scottish Labour leader in December following Johann Lamont’s resignation after the referendum, could have his work cut out for him come May. The latest batch of Ashcroft constituency polls surveyed his East Renfrewshire seat. The results suggest that Murphy has a small one point lead, a lead which could disappear come May if the SNP build further momentum.

An SNP win in the Scottish Labour leader's seats would be a tremendous success for them and an embarrassment for Labour. However, if Murphy holds on - even if it’s a one point lead as indicated by the poll - then a narrow victory will render his seat no longer ‘safe’.

On the other hand, Murphy’s performance in the polls is admirable compared to the other Scottish Labour seats surveyed. Out of the five new Labour constituencies polled, the polls suggests massive swings of over 20% in each towards the SNP and that Labour could lose four out of five - the ‘safe’ one being Murphy’s.

The other Labour seats surveyed in Scotland were Edinburgh South West (currently held by Alistair Darling, who is stepping down in May), Kirkcaldy and Cowdenbeath (held by Gordon Brown, who is also stepping down), Dumfries and Galloway, as well as Ayr Carrick and Cumnock. In all four, the polling suggests that SNP be winning.

The polls also suggests that the only Tory MP in Scotland is up for a tough fight as the poll puts him and the SNP neck and neck in the constituency.

Furthermore, it indicates that the Lib Dem Charles Kennedy’s seat is under threat from the SNP as the poll puts the latter ahead in the seat by 5%. It also indicates that the SNP are well placed to take Aberdeenshire West and Kincardine, with a 14% lead.

Overall, Ashcroft’s latest batch of Scottish constituency polls suggests that the SNP could take seats from all over Scotland. Additionally, they suggest that Jim Murphy will have a tough fight to hold on to his seat, but he is better placed than other would-be Labour MPs. As for how Scotland will shape the general election, it looks as if Labour’s chances of becoming the largest party in the UK are shrinking more and more with each passing day.

The full results of the Ashcroft polls can be found here. Further analysis on HITC will follow.

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