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Sunday, May 21, 2006

Scottish Labour in meltdown

If today's Sunday Times is anything to go by, next May's elections for the Scottish Parliament and the Welsh Assembly are going to be very interesting indeed. The biggest upset could well be in Scotland, where the more proportional electoral system will better reflect changes in public opinion.

The Sunday Times says private polling conducted for the Scottish Labour Party reveals that they are haemorrhaging support and face being voted out of the Scottish executive for the first time since devolution:

Research shows that just 30% of voters intend to back Labour in the constituency vote at next year’s Scottish election, down 5% on 2003. On the second vote support is 27%, down 2% since the last election.

The report continues:

The poll, conducted last month, showed Labour neck-and-neck with the SNP which is on 29% on the constituency vote and 26% on the second vote — in both cases up 5% since 2003.

It showed the Liberal Democrats with 17% on the constituency vote (+2%), and on 21% on the second vote (+ 9%) with the Scottish Conservatives on 15% (-1.5%) and 14% (- 1.5%).
When translated into seats, it would give Labour 43, seven fewer than at present and 13 less than it took in 1999 under Donald Dewar.

The SNP would emerge with 37 seats, up 10 from the last election while the Lib Dems’ total would rise from 17 to 28. The Tories would emerge with 15 seats, three less than in 2003 while the smaller parties, including the Greens and Scottish Socialists, would lose 11 seats.

This certainly reflects trends in recent Scottish by-elections and it is not just Tony Blair's unpopularity that has put Labour in this position. The poll reveals that Scotland's Labour First Minister is equally as unpopular.
I don't think the same can be said about the Welsh Assembly elections.

In all his glory, Rhodri Morgan is quite a popular figure - and his humour goes down well.

I would predict that Labour will lose a few seats in 2007 - the potential for the Tories to mop up the constituenices they gained at Westminster last year.
Peter, I'm no fully convinced by the accuracy of the predictions in that article. I think it is an attempt by Scottish Labour to attempt to spin out of a bad series of similar findings.

I've blogged more about what I think here.

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