Scottish Labour Facing Wipe-Out as SNP Polls Record High

Jim Murphy
Jim Murphy speaks during the Labour party's annual conference in Manchester, northern England September 22, 2014. Suzanne Plunkett/Reuters

A new poll has revealed that support for the Scottish National Party (SNP) is at a record high, confirming a seismic shift in Scottish politics away from the Westminster parties. The survey, conducted by Survation for Scotland's Daily Record newspaper found that 48% would vote for the SNP at the next election, while just 24% said they would vote for Labour - leaving the party facing an almost complete wipe-out in the country.

It also found that almost 51% would choose SNP in the Scottish Parliament constituency vote which was more than double than Labour's support which stood at 24.6%.

The Scottish Labour party has lost a considerable amount of support since 2010 when they received 42% of the vote. In October Johann Lamont resigned as leader having accused her party of treating Scotland "like a branch office of London". Scottish Labour have battled with decreasing support from the electorate since September's referendum, whilst SNP membership has more than tripled in this time.

The Survation poll not only indicates that Alex Salmond, who is standing for the Gordon seat, could be going to the Commons with SNP MPs in 54 of the 59 Scottish constituencies but also that Jim Murphy, the new leader of the Scottish Labour Party would lose his seat - a terrible blow for the party. An Ipsos Mori poll at the end of October returned a similar electoral outcome.

It also suggests that the SNP could hold the balance of power in Westminster next year. The party have made clear they will not be backing the Conservatives and in early December the former leader Alex Salmond appeared to rule out the possibility of a formal coalition with Labour, instead saying their backing would be done on a "vote by vote" basis. With recent YouGov polls indicating that Labour and the Tories are neck-and-neck in the run up to the elections, it seems increasingly likely that the SNP be playing an important role in Westminster.

While Nicola Sturgeon, the first minister and leader of the SNP called the results a "great early Christmas present", Jim Murphy responded by warning that a vote for the Greens or the SNP could result in the Tories holding on to power.

"During the referendum Scotland was divided between Yes or No," he said. "But in the general election most Scots will be united in wanting to get David Cameron out of Downing Street. The choice Scots will face next year is between sending SNP MPs to the House of Commons to protest against the Tories, or Scottish Labour MPs who will remove the Tories. Voting SNP or Green in 2015 could accidentally keep the Tories in power."

The Survation survey also found that 18% of people are less likely to vote for Labour due to the fact that Murphy is now leading the party, having been elected for the role on 13th December.

However, he was keen to highlight that the party is in a state of transition, saying: "Scottish Labour is changing. We are one week into a new leadership team and really determined to change. We are rewriting the party's constitution so that decisions about Scotland are made here in Scotland. The days of the Scottish Labour leader having to ask the party in London about things are gone and gone for good."