The Tories look solidly back in third place in Scotland – the part of the UK which has seen the most seat turbulence

The Tories look solidly back in third place in Scotland – the part of the UK which has seen the most seat turbulence


How the parties are faring north of the border

Next week I’m off to Scotland the part of the UK that played a critical part in the outcomes of GE2015 and GE2017.

For since the IndyRef in September 2014 there has been a huge amount of turbulence in Scottish politics. At the last two general elections there’ve been more seats changing hands there than anywhere else in the UK.

Initially the failure to win independence in September 2014 saw a huge move to the SNP placing it in an extraordinarily strong position at GE2015. From holding just six of Scotland’s 59 seats at GE2010 the party took 56 as Cameron was securing a majority in the rest of the UK.

But it was not to last. The great success story for the Conservatives at the last general election was Scotland.

There were 11 net gains which enabled the party overall to come out of the election not too far off a majority position in the House of Commons. The Scottish performance, which was mostly down to the Tory leader north of the border, Ruth Davidson, helped offset the considerable losses that Team Theresa unexpectedly suffered south of the border.

We don’t get too many Scottish polls and all of the published ones since the general election are in the Wikipedia table above. As can be seen the Tories are down a bit and have been in 3rd place in all but one of the polls since June 8th. The SNP, certainly in the latest survey from Survation, seems to be the one that’s benefiting most.

The one caveat I would have with Scottish polling is that every single survey between in the 2015-2017 parliament had the SNP in a better position than they finished up WITH in many cases by some margin.

At GE17 more than a a third of Scottish seats changed hands with LAB and the LDs, a well as CON benefiting

Because most SNP MPs have smallish majorities a lot of seat changes can happen on relatively small vote changes.

    It has been estimated that if CON, LAB and SNP each got 30% of the Scottish vote the SNP could be reduced to just 6 MPs.

Although many of the issues decided at Westminster are not relevant to Scotland their MP numbers are critical to the overall balance nationally.

I don’t buy the easy assumption that the SNP would always line up with LAB in the Commons against the Tories. Sturgeon’s party will do what it sees as best for Scotland not Corbyn’s LAB.

Mike Smithson

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