By Dave Taylor

According to the latest Ashcroft poll of marginal seats the Lib Dems are facing a total wipeout of MPs in mainland Scotland, with even Charlie Kennedy’s seat falling to the SNP.

1247 voters in the 11 Lib Dem Scottish Westminster seats were polled last month, both as to their general party support, and who they would vote for in their own constituency.

The result revealed that Lib-Dem support has collapsed and the Tories have fallen further back. 

While Labour saw a modest increase, the SNP was the major beneficiary.  Current voting intention (with the 2010 figures in those seats in brackets) was SNP 31% (+16%) : Lab 26% (+6%) : LD 20% (-21%) : Con 16% (-5%): Other 7% (+4%).

Although that vote change won’t be universal across every seat, the figures suggest that only Orkney and Shetland would remain in Lib Dem hands.  Berwickshire, Roxburgh & Selkirk would fall to the Tories, while Labour would pick up East Dunbartonshire and Edinburgh West.

The other seven seats would be won by the SNP - Aberdeenshire West & Kincardine; Argyll & Bute; Caithness, Sutherland & Easter Ross; North East Fife; Gordon; Inverness, Nairn, Badenoch & Strathspey; and  Ross, Skye & Lochaber.

If the results were to be repeated in the 2015 general election then such a scenario would see Sir Menzies Campbell, Danny Alexander and current Scottish Secretary Michael Moore all lose their seats.

The poll comes amid the continuing crisis for the Lib Dems, with the Lord Rennard scandal and claims over the Chris Huhne speeding affair still hanging in the air.  The survey will be a blow for Scottish leader Willie Rennie, who in May 2011 inherited a Scottish party in crisis from former leader Tavish Scott.

The party has suffered badly in Scotland since forming a UK coalition with the Tories which was followed by a controversial U-turn on tuition fees that saw many of its Scottish MPs backtrack on a key election pledge.  The 2011 Holyrood election saw the Scottish Lib Dems return only five MSPs - a result which was mirrored by last year's Scottish local elections where they lost 95 of their 166 councillors.


The Ashcroft poll also revealed interesting patterns when it came to tactical voting for the Westminster election.

Tory supporters were most likely to vote tactically, with only 81% of them continuing to vote Tory.  12% of them would vote tactically for the Lib-Dems, with 6% voting tactically SNP.

85% of Labour supporters still plan to vote Labour, while their tactical voters would split 10% Lib Dem and 4% SNP.

SNP supporters were the least likely to vote tactically.  94% would vote SNP in their constituency, with only 4% casting a tactical Lib Dem vote.

The pattern is very different in the SNP/Labour marginal seats of Aberdeen North, North Ayrshire & Arran, Dundee East, Dundee West, Falkirk, Na h-Eileanan an Iar, and Ochil & South Perthshire.

The 772 voters polled across these 7 seats gave Labour a strong lead of 47% to the SNPs 30% before tactical voting was taken into account.  While only 14% of voters in these seats were Tory supporters, and 5% Lib Dems; a quarter of Tories would vote tactically for the SNP (16%) or the Lib Dems (8%) and 2% said they would opt for the Labour party.

More than 40% of the small group of Lib Dems intended to vote tactically – 35% Labour compared with only 7% for the SNP.

Although there had been a 5% rise in the SNP vote, and a 4% rise for Labour – at the expense of the Lib Dems and 'Others', that equal split of the lost Lib Dem vote suggests none of these SNP/Labour contested marginal seats would change hands.

A recent 'poll of polls' showed the SNP with a narrow lead over Labour when it came to Westminster voting intentions with the SNP on 36% (+16%), Labour: 33% (-9%), Tory: 17% (n/c), LibDem: 7% (-12%).


# andymac96 2013-03-10 08:28
Libdems for independence is their only option if they want to survive at all
# mealer 2013-03-10 08:35
I'm hoping all this will be irrelevant.
# clootie 2013-03-10 08:59

I agree but always hope for the best and plan for the worst.
# mmarsattacks 2013-03-10 09:07
In 2015 we will still be a part of the UK even if the vote is Yes. We will need a strong showing of SNP MPs for those few short months to prevent westminster mischief.
# ynot 2013-03-10 09:40
A strong showing is absolutely essential and if we vote for independence I think there could be considerable gains, but as for preventing Westminster mischief I'm afraid that would be a first!
# Mei 2013-03-10 13:18
An SNP majority of Scottish MPs might hold the balance of power at Westminster.
# gfaetheblock 2013-03-10 13:25
The point that is missing from the above article is that this poll predicts a 100 seat labour majority. This will not help the Independence or Tory rule narrative the yes campaign are hoping to leverage.
# alexb 2013-03-10 09:24
They took the thirty pieces of silver on offer from the tories, so what would you expect?
# Early Ball 2013-03-10 10:07
Survey is all very well but what it does not take into account is the SNP being barred from the "I agree with Nick" debates.
# farrochie 2013-03-10 11:53
Our wee group of Saturday morning coffe drinkers always has a chat about the week's independence issues. We're mostly in the over-60 age group. I can tell you there is a building scepticism about the No camp arguments that are being presented in the press and tv.

I can't stress enough that you should speak to people, friends and strangers alike, on this subject. There are a lot of people who have heard the scare stories, but are now much less inclined to believe them. Just 10 mins chat demonstrating YOUR confidence about Scotland's potential can sway someone to a YES.

The arguments about diminishing oil, border controls, "overnight foreigners", have had little or no impact. The Better Together argument really distils down to "Westminster must always control Scotland".

The counter argument must be Scotland's Governments (of whatever party in the future) can make better decisions for Scotland.
# From The Suburbs 2013-03-10 12:25
You are 100% corrct we must not be afraid of raising the issue of independence and the media bias with friends and colleagues.

Contrast and compare Scotland on Sunday to-day with negative stories on Pensions and Michael Moore on oil running out with the more balanced Sunday Herald with Iain Macwhirter having a go at the press reaction to the leaked cabinet papers and John Swinney on how oil revenues will increase over the next few years.
# UpSpake 2013-03-10 13:39
For a party that has riddled its boat full of holes, discarded every principle it ever had and threw away the anchor of Federalism, their sinking ship is drowning as it sails off to the sunset of scottish politics.
# johnlove54 2013-03-10 13:41
to all the readers on this site, you will find this very interesting, please go and have a look. here is the p.s. please pass this on to all other independence campaign outlets.
# balbeggie 2013-03-10 14:04
A very good piece in the Sunday Herald by Iain McWhirter:

Actually, in an age of economic uncertainty, John Swinney is a useful guy to have around. He is ultra-cautious, often to the despair of his Cabinet colleagues. But this Finance Secretary has achieved a remarkable feat over the last six years in managing to afford all of Alex Salmond's giveaway policies – abolition of student fees, free prescriptions, free bus passes, free personal care – within a static budget that has been squeezed in real terms. Commentators like me kept saying it couldn't be done, that the SNP Government would find it impossible to balance the books without cutting spending on health. We were wrong.
# Diabloandco 2013-03-10 16:16
I did comment on Mr MacWhirters article but it seems I have offended and it has not appeared - it was inresponse to another comment which was inaccurately describing Mr MacWhirter as a supporter of independence and derogatory in tone.
I also commented on the general behaviour of the Labour Party with reference to the altercation in a Southside bar.I confess I mentioned the chairchoob on the way past ,and his most recent splutterings.
The Herald did not take kindly to my comment.
# jurist 2013-03-10 16:33
My posts are frequently not allowed on that rag. They don't like phrases like 'self-loathing Scots' or accusations as to their blatant mouth-piece support of the Labour Party.

There are a few posters on that site I'd love to met up with. I'm sure you all know who I'm referring to. I'd love to have to do a plea in mitigation for them and tell the Sheriff to throw away the key.
# Coinneach 2013-03-10 19:47
I had a letter printed in the letters a couple of Sunday's ago re. the Trevor Royle article on celebrating the start of WWI by Cameron. Pointing out, which Royle did not, the huge discrepancy in deaths on each side of the border. It was heavily censored, to one para, as have posts on-line.
I don't bother to post on-line anymore.
HOWEVER, I am going to send an email to the Ed. to say thanks for McWhirters and J.Swinney's pieces today.
As I did re. STV and the Salmond interview. Got a nice reply.
A pour encourage.
# dadsarmy 2013-03-10 15:00
I hope after a YES vote, Charles Kennedy and Michael Moore stand and get elected for Holyrood.

And I agree; the only chance LibDems have is to break for Westminster and stand for Independence. Federalism is most of the way there but has absolutely no chance, none, of ever happening in the UK. As has further devolution. Ain't gonna happen.
# cardrossian 2013-03-11 10:11
Quoting dadsarmy:
I hope after a YES vote, Charles Kennedy and Michael Moore stand and get elected for Holyrood.

How can you ever consider bringing such backstabbers into Holyrood? It is bad enough that the public consider politicians in general to be untrustworthy without actually bringing such known anti-Scottish independence people into Holyrood. Let us try to keep it reasonably untainted, and kind of honest
# aikiwolfie 2013-03-10 15:26
Libdems learning the hard way betrayal is not forgotten in Scotland. I hope they are wiped out completely. They deserve nothing less.
# truth 2013-03-10 18:28
Now If only people could see the betrayal perpetrated day and daily by the Labour party.
# thinkingscottish 2013-03-10 22:14
The more I read about the Lib Dems, the more I believe they will face complete extinction in Scotland. They deserve no less.
# scotnotbrit 2013-03-14 13:05
the English seem to have the political memory of a midge ......they are prepared to rehabilitate a party that made nepotisim and cronyism a signature corruption , that couldnt survive a month in office without selling their Tabak advertising plans to Ecclestone (it was alledged ) .....who stole expenses monies ....and were so incompetent that they drove the economy of the cliff ? .....there again in this pseudo democracy , what choice do they have ....??

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