With less than two months to go until the election, Murphy’s large fall in support hits Labour’s prospects hard.
The YouGov poll for the Times of 1,049 Scottish adults asked respondents the following question:
“Do you think that Jim Murphy is doing well or badly as leader of the Scottish Labour party?”
At the end of January/early February a total of 33% of respondents said he was doing well, with 43% saying he was doing badly, however the latest poll indicates that he has failed to make much headway – something that will not bode well for Labour with the general election just weeks away.
March’s poll indicates that just 26% say he his doing well, whilst a large 51% say he is doing badly. Such a change in little over a month suggests that Murphy is struggling to stand out as a good leader.
Furthermore, when his ratings are compared with Nicola Sturgeon’s, things only get worse for the Labour party. Voters were asked how they think Nicola Sturgeon is doing as First Minister. A large total of 62% of respondents said they think she is doing well (down two points from February). This contrast with Jim Murphy shows just how far he and Labour have to go to reclaim much of Scotland from the nationalists.
However, in some comfort for Labour, 29% of respondents said they think Nicola Sturgeon is doing a bad job, up from 22% in February. Nonetheless, Murphy still has some way to go to outperform his SNP counterpart.
As well as this slide in support for Murphy, the poll suggests that Scottish voters think that the Labour party is divided. 59% of respondents said this, whilst just 11% said it was united. As for Sturgeon’s party, 67% of Scottish respondents said they thought the SNP is united, ahead of the 10% thinking that the party is divided.
Overall, it appears that Murphy has struggled to gain much momentum in his favour and instead of holding his and his party’s ground he is falling back. The SNP has surged since the referendum and May’s election will undoubtedly reflect that. The party might not get the 50+ seats that some polls have suggested but they will get enough to show that Scottish politics – and resultantly British politics – has changed forever.
In order to turn the tide in Labour’s favour by May, Murphy and his party would have to do something magnificent. In short, this year they have no chance, but if Labour manages to weaken the SNP blow then in 2016 they might just have a chance.
The full results from the poll can be accessed here.