Ashcroft Poll results for Dummies
What was the poll about?
Today the results are out for the Ashcroft constituency poll looking at voter intentions for the next general election.
The poll only looked at 16 constituencies.
All of the constituencies they looked at voted Yes to Independence in the September referendum. 14 of the 16 are tradition Labour seats.
The other two are the Lib Dem seat held by Danny Alexander and the Lib Dem seat of Gordon where Alex Salmond is standing.
What were the results?
As you can see in the table below all of the seats except for Glasgow North East have swung to the SNP:
|Airdrie and Shotts
|Pamela Nash (Labour)
|Coatbridge, Chryston and Bellshill
|Tom Clarke (Labour)
|Cumbernauld, Kilsyth and Kirkintilloch East
|Gregg McClymont (Labour)
|Jim McGovern (Labour)
|Anas Sarwar (Labour)
|Margaret Curran (Labour)
|Ann McKechin (Labour)
|Glasgow North East
|William Bain (Labour)
|Glasgow North West
|John Robertson (Labour)
|Tom Harris (Labour)
|Glasgow South West
|Ian Davidson (Labour)
|Malcom Bruce (Lib Dems)
|Inverness, Nairn, Badenoch and Strathspey
|Danny Alexander (Lib Dems)
|Motherwell and Wishaw
|Frank Roy (Labour)
|Paisley and Renfrewshire South
|Douglas Alexander (Labour)
|Gemma Doyle (Labour)
What does this mean?
Well, it means that some big names in previously safe seats are in danger of being out of a job in May. Douglas Alexander, Danny Alexander, John Robertson, Margaret Curran and Anas Sarwar are all in the firing line.
It means the Alex Salmond will most likely win Gordon by some margin, allowing him to lead the SNP in Westminster.
Also, if the swing represented here were to be repeated throughout the whole of Scotland Labour could lose 35 of its 41 seats to the SNP. This could see a decimated Scottish Labour Party led by someone with no seat either at Westminster or Holyrood.
Why might this be good for Scotland
There is a good chance that there will be a hung parliament in May and that the SNP could make up the balance of power with a minority Labour government. This would ensure the best chance of meaningful powers being passed to Scotland in the next parliament. Also, the party which forms the minority government will have to adopt more progressive policies in order to get the SNP support needed to pass any bill.
Reasons to be cautious about the data
Because this poll only shows data from areas that voted for Independence we can expect the results to favour the SNP. If a similar poll was done for the whole of Scotland the swing may not be as strong.
What to look out for in the future
In the Independent article about this report an anonymous Scottish Labour spokesperson said:
“This poll may in fact do us a favour, because Scotland’s voters still seem to think they can vote SNP and avoid a Tory government. The reality is different. The largest UK party will form the next government in Westminster – that message needs to get through.”
This is the main thing we are going to hear from Labour in the coming weeks. Devoid as they are of convincing leadership, policies and conviction.
However, this statement may chime with many as it will be broadcast in the mainstream media constantly in the build up to the election. The fact that it is not true is adequately explained here.
What we need to do now
On current polling the most likely outcome of the next election is a Labour/SNP pact. We need to make it clear that this is a more preferable outcome for Scotland than either a Conservative or Labour majority. We need to realise that this result is not a foregone conclusion and fight for it in the same way we fought for our preferred referendum result.
Here is the raw data from the poll for geeks.
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