Sebastian Payne

New poll shows SNP will annihilate Labour — but the nation is still divided over independence

New poll shows SNP will annihilate Labour — but the nation is still divided over independence
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Scottish Labour is having no luck in denting the SNP’s support. ComRes/ITV News have released a new poll this evening, which shows a 19 per cent swing to the SNP across the 40 Labour held seats in Scotland. Based on this, the SNP would take 28 of these seats in the upcoming general election. North of the border, ComRes puts the SNP on 43 per cent, Labour on 37, the Tories on 13 and Ukip, the Lib Dems and Greens on two per cent each. The ComRes findings fall in line with the other polls taken in Scotland from Lord Ashcroft and ICM — the latter recently suggested that the SNP would take 29 seats from Labour with a 20 per cent swing.

The only positive news for Jim Murphy is that voters in these seats are significantly keener to see Ed Miliband as Prime Minister — 49 per cent would prefer Miliband in No.10, compared to 29 per cent for David Cameron. This feeling is particularly strong with SNP supporters: just 19 per cent of them would like to see Cameron back as PM, compared to 48 per cent for Ed Miliband. The dislike of Cameron is at least one thing he can campaign on.

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After the election, 41 per cent of these voters would prefer no formal agreement between the SNP and any other party — assuming it wins a significant number of seats. Just 21 per cent would like to see Nicola Sturgeon propping up a Labour minority government or entering a formal coalition with Miliband. Unsurprisingly, only five per cent would like to see the SNP enter a coalition with the Tories and four per cent think they should support a minority Conservative government.

But the most interesting numbers from the ComRes poll are on why voters are going in a particular direction. 56 per cent say that wanting an independent Scotland is the reason for voting SNP — and 56 per cent also say the reason they are voting for their chosen party is because they want to keep Scotland ‘as part of the UK’. The Nats are very strong in the polls and in the media at present, so it's easy to forget that more than half of Scotland voted against independence. If the SNP manages a home run at this election — and the recent polls suggest it will — a bullish and confident Westminster contingent will only divide the Scottish electorate further.