SNP closing in on Glasgow East

The Sunday Telegraph has issued the first poll of the Glasgow East campaign.

It has

Labour 47 % ( – 14 %)
SNP 33% ( + 16 %)
Liberal Democrats 9 % (-3 %)
Conservatives 7% (no change)

showing the SNP clawing Labour’s gap from the near 61% it polled in 2005!

That’s already a 14% swing from Labour to the SNP. Given that the SNP seem to be picking up votes from the Liberal Democrats and others, their vote has increased by 16%.

And that’s with only one week of the campaign gone! What more swings can we expect to see in the 11 days remaining?

Personally though I never read too much into polls. The SNP site relates the erroneous polling of Glasgow Govan in 1988, for instance.

This poll is pretty inconclusive either way. And its telephone based from only from 500 individuals, a very small sample. This is a constituency where landline telecom use is also way below the national average. That could have skewed the numbers somewhat.

It gives Labour a bit of heart knowing that if they can keep their vote and Gordon Brown avoids any calamities – and that’s not a sure thing! – then they could win the seat if they get a good turnout.

It gives the SNP a lift knowing that the gap is closing. With a push from their activists and making sure they get their vote out they could win the seat.

Personally I believe the Labour vote here is a soft vote and I expect further inroads by the SNP. Labour’s lack of activists in Glasgow East has meant that they will expect all Scottish MPs and MSPs to do the donkey work. Just how likely is their MPs getting their hands dirty doing the menial work? Slim to nil I’d guess, but it’d be good to see!!!

I believe there will be further tactical voting by the Liberal Democrats and the Conservatives wishing to give Gordon Brown a bloody nose. Something that even the influential Conservative-minded blogger Iain Dale implies.

I also believe that Labour will have trouble getting their vote out.

You only have to look at the 2005 figures:- turnout of 48.24%, electorate 64 130.

The 18 775 that Labour achieved making it one of the safest Labour seats in the country actively discourages voters from the other parties voting. The Labour vote is encouraged by its past successes and comes out.

Even with all the media attention I wouldn’t expect the Labour vote to come anywhere near 18 000. Their vote just won’t come out in that number.

If the poll is correct there has already been a 14% swing to the SNP so I expect the figure to be much lower than 2005’s 18775 Labour vote.

I do think though that the SNP support will vote. The disenfranchised always turn out at the polls.

Even taking the Telegraph poll’s 33% for the SNP; if that applied to the Glasgow East electorate as a whole and they all voted SNP; the SNP would poll 21376.

That beats the Labour’s 18 000 at the 2005 election, provided that the SNP get their vote out and Labour don’t. Turnout may be the key to this byelection.

Everything is to play for and given a bit of momentum its in the SNP’s hands.

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