A leak of Ashcroft’s polls indicates that the top Liberal Democrat MP could lose his seat to the SNP in the general election.
Alexander represents the highland constituency of ‘Inverness, Nairn, Badenoch and Strasthpey’. In 2010, the Liberal Democrats got 41% of the vote. In second place came the Labour candidate with 22% followed by the SNP on 19%.
However, in 2015 it looks likely that the Chief Secretary to the Treasury could lose his seat. Lord Ashcroft’s leaked poll suggests that the SNP are well on their way to take the constituency. 50% of respondents in the constituency poll said they intend to vote for Nicola Sturgeon’s party, well ahead of Alexander on 21% of the vote.
SNP: 50%. Lib Dems 21%. Labour 13%. Conservatives 10%. Others 5%. It is yet unclear as to how big the sample size is for the poll.
If the results, or similar, are repeated in May, then the leader of the Highland Council, Drew Hendry, who according to the Inverness Courier is standing for the SNP, could take Alexander’s seat.
The Scottish constituency polls were meant to be released at 11am on Wednesday but the results are taken from a reported leak. Mark Pack, the Lib Dem commentator pointed out a shared tweet with access to the early files on Lord Ashcroft’s own website.
The poll suggests that, as Lord Ashcroft indicated earlier, the SNP surge is real. Danny Alexander will have a lot of work to do if he hopes to be returned to parliament, as Liberal Democrats across the country will have a tough fight on their hands. Winning Alexander’s seat would be a big victory for the SNP and a heavy loss for Nick Clegg and the Liberal Democrats.
Unless something dramatic happens it looks likely that the SNP are going to make real progress across Scotland. Indeed, Ashcroft’s leaked data suggests that the SNP could take 14 out of 15 of the constituencies which have had data leaked. Even if they take no more and retain their current six seats, that would give them a total of 20 seats in Westminster.
The leaked polls suggests that the other gains will be: 13 from Labour and one (Gordon) from the Lib Dems. However, the race in Gordon looks to be a closer one, with the Lib Dems’ Christine Jardine being the main opponent to Alex Salmond.
The referendum has changed Scottish politics, and the changes could have a long term impact in May when a UK government will need to be formed.