Is it Scötterdämmerung for the SNP?
One of the reasons many of us haven’t felt comfortable on heavily backing a Labour majority at the next UK general election is Scotland, up to quite recently it seemed that the SNP hegemony at Westminster elections would continue, now I’m not so sure.
Ever since the 2014 referendum Labour have ruined their brand in Scotland, it became Ajockalypse Now for Labour in 2015 when they were reduced from 41 MPs in Scotland to just 1 MP in Scotland. A further ignominy was achieved in 2017 when Nicola Sturgeon lost more MPs (net) than Theresa May but somehow Labour were pushed into third place in Scotland by the Tories who ended up with more seats than Labour in Scotland.
Long standing readers know that approval/favourability ratings are often better predictors of election outcomes than voting intention polls so I’m intrigued by these findings from Redfield & Wilton about the political favourability of parties in Scotland.
Labour will be utterly delighted with these findings and the trends and it could get worse for the SNP. If Humza Yousaf wins and his ratings get worse then you can see the party favourability lead widening through political osmosis. Kate Forbes winning may also cause issues that plagued Tim Farron. The SNP is socially liberal party and if you want to lead a socially liberal party you need to have socially liberal views. The views of Kate Forbes on social matters are more akin to someone running to be leader of the DUP.
But a period of good governing focussing on the issues that matter to the voters could see the lead shrink and even a lead for the SNP. In isolation the SNP ratings aren’t that bad for a party that has been in power for nearly 16 years.
We need to see more polling to corroborate this Redfield & Wilton polling but if Labour are seen much more favourable in Scotland than the SNP then I can see how Labour achieve a majority. This is the sort of polling that will aid Labour in Scotland with tactical voting because if Labour want to start making substantial gains in Scotland they will need tactical votes and a lot of them.