Research that could give Humza Yousaf’s party “serious cause for concern” suggests that Labour could wrest nearly two dozen seats from the SNP in Scotland at the upcoming Westminster election.
YouGov polling data suggested Mr. Yousaf’s party may win the seat currently held by Douglas Ross, the leader of the Scottish Conservatives, but also suggested that 23 seats currently held by the SNP, including that of deputy Westminster leader Mhairi Black, could be lost to Labour.
According to YouGov’s study, the SNP gained 48 seats in Scotland at the most recent general election in 2019, but that number might drop to 27, with the party losing 23 seats to Labour, mostly in central Scotland.
Patrick English of YouGov said the results will give “strong encouragement to Labour” and noted that Sir Keir Starmer’s party may very likely need to make gains in Scotland if he is to become the next prime minister.
The study, which projected the outcome of the upcoming general election in Scotland using MRP (multi-level regression and post-stratification) statistical techniques, suggested that the SNP might win the seats of UK energy minister Andrew Bowie in West Aberdeenshire and Kincardine as well as Moray, where Mr. Ross will be retiring.
However, YouGov predicted that overall, the SNP will have its worst general election performance since 2010.
According to the research, Mr. Yousaf’s party may lose six of the seven Glasgow districts it presently controls; gains for Labour were predicted in Glasgow Central, Glasgow East, Glasgow North, Glasgow North East, Glasgow North West, and Glasgow South.
The study, which polled more than 3,500 voters north of the border, predicts that Labour will win 24 seats in Scotland, up from the current total of just one.
The modeling revealed Anas Sarwar’s party might potentially take the Western Isles, unseating the long-serving SNP MP Angus MacNeill, who has held the seat there since 2005, as Labour is predicted to have its best Scottish election results since 2010.
Rutherglen and Hamilton West, where a recall petition might trigger a by-election prior to the next general election if current MP Margaret Ferrier is suspended from the Commons for the suggested 30 days, could be another Labour holdout.
After Mr. Yousaf assumed the role of SNP leader and Scottish First Minister and after a police investigation into SNP finances led to searches of the party headquarters in Edinburgh and Nicola Sturgeon’s house, YouGov based their findings on fieldwork conducted between April 10 and May 21.
Results “suggest that repeated recent bad news stories for the SNP and its new leader, Humza Yousaf, including accusations of party mismanagement and potential criminal cases being brought against senior officials, have taken a serious toll on both the party’s popular support,” the polling company said.
Meanwhile, it noted that “the figures will make welcome reading for Scottish Labour leader Anas Sarwar, as well as the party’s national leader Keir Starmer”, adding that “Labour may well need a significant number of victories in Scotland to lift them over the majority line at the next Westminster contest, and the data currently suggests they are on track to do just that”.
The Conservatives and the Liberal Democrats, who are both predicted to gain four seats in Scotland at the next general election, had “less rosy” expectations, according to YouGov.
“The results of YouGov’s Scottish MRP shows the SNP have some serious cause for concern” Patrick English, YouGov.
The forecasts indicate that the Liberal Democrats will not succeed in their efforts to retake the East Dunbartonshire district from the SNP, which was formerly held by former leader Jo Swinson, while the Tories could lose two seats to the SNP in the north-east.
The findings of YouGov’s Scottish MRP reveal the SNP have some real cause for concern, but will strongly encourage Labour as they prepare for the next general election, according to Patrick English, associate director of political and social research at YouGov.
“Making significant gains in Scotland could be crucial to Starmer’s chances of heading into Number 10 with a parliamentary majority next year, and these figures suggest his party is now making strong progress north of the border.
“That, plus the prospect of losing their own Scottish leader’s seat, will no doubt worry the Conservatives.”
The single MP for Labour currently located north of the border, Ian Murray, the party’s shadow secretary for Scotland, declared: “Scotland is ready for change, and it falls to Scottish Labour to deliver it.”
“The people of Scotland are sick and tired of Tory and SNP sleaze and failure.”
Scotland needs a new beginning with a majority Labour government, he stressed. Scottish Labour will keep working to regain the public’s trust under Anas Sarwar’s leadership so we can bring about the change Scotland needs.
“It’s clear that voters are increasingly turned off by the scandal and civil war engulfing the SNP and their obsession with independence over the real priorities of the Scottish people,” a Scottish Conservative spokesperson said.
In the meantime, a spokesperson for the Scottish Liberal Democrats stated: “In seats like East Dunbartonshire and Ross, Skye and Lochaber, we’re nipping at the failed SNP’s heels and offering a brighter alternative for communities.”
But SNP MP David Linden said: “Voting SNP is the only way to get rid of unelected Tory governments in Scotland for good.”
“The SNP is the only party in Scotland offering a real alternative to the Tories and pro-Brexit Labour Party, handing voters the opportunity to escape the mess of Brexit and rejoin the EU with the full powers of independence.
“A strong team of SNP MPs could hold the balance of power and we would use our influence to make sure Westminster takes real action to tackle the cost of living, protect our NHS, and ensure Scotland’s democracy is respected.”