Wednesday, 20 April 2011

High Hopes in Scotland for the SNP

From "The Scotsman"

Scottish election - 'Grim reading for Labour and its leader'

Published Date: 20 April 2011

The survey of readers we publish today is no more than a snapshot of voting intentions ahead of May 5, but its key messages are in line with trends seen elsewhere as the Holyrood election looms.
And, taken together, they make grim reading for Scottish Labour and its leader, East Lothian MSP Iain Gray.

As the constituency profile on this page suggests, Gray looks a shoe-in to return to Holyrood himself, but polls have started to suggest he

 will be joined by too few Labour colleagues to take power from the SNP.

The Labour leader's own personality and performance is under scrutiny as a result, though the fact remains that no-one else would have fared better in a direct contest with an Alex Salmond who looks in his comfort zone while campaigning as an incumbent First Minister.

Our panel put the SNP leader comfortably ahead of Gray and his party streets ahead of Labour, especially in the list vote. There, incidentally, is a welcome sign that Margo MacDonald should be comfortably returned to parliament.

But Labour has much to do if it is to repeat its good showing at last year's Westminster election and return to power at Holyrood. One hope for Gray is that our panel makes it clear that the key battlegrounds are the economy and protecting public services, and it is to be hoped voters will have those in mind when they vote, rather than personalities.

Also, the bookies still have Labour as favourites - and they are rarely wrong. But only just . . .

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