Labour neck and neck with Tories for second in Scotland - poll

Posted On: 
31st May 2017

Scottish Labour are now neck-and-neck with the Tories ahead of the general election following a stretch as the third party north of the border, according to a poll. 

Scottish Labour's Kezia Dugdale and the Conservatives' Ruth Davidson are battling for second place
PA Images

Labour, once the dominant force in Scotland, were decimated following an SNP surge in 2015, losing all but one of their 41 Westminster seats.

Today’s poll, carried out by Ipsos MORI for STV, shows both Labour and the Tories on 25% of the vote, while the SNP stand at 43% and the Liberal Democrats at 5%.

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Ruth Davidson’s staunch opposition to a second independence referendum campaign has seen the Tories finish a comfortable second in both the Holyrood elections of 2016 and this month’s local elections.

Such support looks unlikely to transfer equally in to seats, however, with the Conservatives on course to win a total of six MPs, up from one in 2015, while Labour are unlikely to make gains beyond their single Edinburgh South seat.

The poll also shows the SNP are set to see their support drop from the 50% they won at the last general election, though they remain on course to claim the lion’s share of seats.

They are projected to win 50 out of 59 constituencies in Scotland, down from 56 in 2015.

The Liberal Democrats are also set to hold on their Orkney and Shetland seat.

The poll found fewer people were satisfied with Theresa May’s performance than Jeremy Corbyn’s – though 42% of respondents said the Tory leader was the “most capable Prime Minister”, compared to 40% who said the Labour leader.

The poll also shows satisfaction with Scottish Labour leader Kezia Dugdale at -2, compared to -10 in a previous survey.

Ms Davidson, meanwhile, received a satisfaction rating of +5, down from a high of +31 but ahead of Nicola Sturgeon on -4.

The poll also showed a slight drop in support for independence, with 47% of Scots backing a breakaway from Britain, while 53% answered in favour of the union.

A previous poll saw the two positions level on 50%.

Scottish Labour’s campaign manager James Kelly said the poll showed support for the Tories was “declining” and reflected the party’s “surge” across the UK.

"In seats such as Edinburgh South, East Lothian, Lanark and Hamilton East, Coatbridge, Chryston and Bellshill, and Kirkcaldy and Cowdenbeath, only Labour can beat the SNP - the Tories aren't at the races here,” he said.

“Support for Ruth Davidson is declining as voters reject her vision for a more divided society and turn to Kezia Dugdale’s vision for a country for the many, not the few.

“With Labour surging in the polls across the UK, voters have a real chance to deliver a Labour government that will build a better Scotland as part of the UK.”

Ipsos Mori Scotland’s director Mark Diffley said: “In vote number terms, the biggest beneficiaries appear to be the Conservatives whose share of the vote looks likely to increase significantly from its performance in 2015.

“They will be hoping that this translates into a significant number of seats turning from yellow to blue on June 8th.  

“For Labour, the poll confirms some recovery, as seen in GB-wide surveys, where it may return to something approaching the result from 2015 in Scotland.