Great piece by Jim McCormick on Stratagems website which includes what has to be the quote of the campaign…
Scottish Labour leader Jim Murphy’s campaign: professional and energetic, but “like a really good swimmer trying to escape a tsunami”.
It’s brilliantly accurate, and it may also point to the possibility that his sheer political athleticism may just get him through. It will be an unmitigated disaster if he doesn’t.
But he goes on…
The SNP’s ability to reach way beyond its core vote reflects two changes. Around one in three Labour voters sided with Yes in the referendum.
This group is set to vote SNP. The suggested swing back towards Labour isn’t happening – instead the party seems to be falling further behind.
If this switch was the only force in play, the SNP would be just 6% ahead in this election. The surge is also built on a trend which began earlier, namely the collapse of Liberal Democrat support.
In 2011, the Lib Dems lost every one of its mainland seats, including the ‘heartland’ areas of Highland and the Borders. Former Lib Dems in England are veering Labour or Green. In Scotland, it’s a one-way exit to the SNP.
Although towards the end he also notes that turnout could be crucial…
Before any of this occurs, there’s one factor that might lead the SNP to fall short of current projections. Turnout in the referendum was an unprecedented 85%. Next week it might reach 70%, probably higher than in the rest of Britain reflecting a type of referendum ‘afterglow’.
But there would still be 600,000 fewer voters than in September, before adding in those no longer able to vote due to a change in the registration process. One closely-fought area in the west of Scotland has seen last year’s spike in voter registration unravel – 4,000 fewer people are now on the register.
We can speculate this will create a turnout bias against younger, poorer, Yes and SNP-voters, on top of the much higher turnout among older people.
Given the strength of SNP support in the 25-55 age range, this may not matter greatly. But, in a few of the most closely-fought seats, it’s possible this could put the brakes on an SNP wipeout.
Mick is founding editor of Slugger. He has written papers on the impacts of the Internet on politics and the wider media and is a regular guest and speaking events across Ireland, the UK and Europe. Twitter: @MickFealty