The SNP remains on course for a “commanding” victory in next week’s Holyrood election, according to a new poll today.
And there is better news for embattled Labour leader Kezia Dugdale, according to the survey for TNS, which shows her party has a clear lead over the Tories in the battle for second place.
Nicola Sturgeon today put her party’s campaign into “top gear” and set off on a seven day push across Scotland in the final week of voting.
Her party’s lead is down slightly according to TNS, but it still remains on course for an unprecedented third successive term in office when Scots go to the polls next week. More than half (52%) of Scots are backing the SNP in the constituency vote, down four points, while 45% of Scots back the Nationalists in the regional list.
But after a separate poll for Ipsos Mori suggested the Tories were on course for second place, today’s TNS survey has the Tories five points behind Labour in the constituency vote. Labour is on 22% with the Tories on 17%. On the list vote, Labour is on 22%, four points ahead of the Tories.
Tom Costley, head of TNS Scotland said: “Despite the decline in SNP support over the last two months, a 52% share of the constituency vote would still represent an increase from the 45% they achieved in 2011. There is no denying that the SNP continues to be in a very dominant position.
“While Labour and Conservatives have made some progress in the last few months, both are likely to be disappointed when the final results are announced. The polls suggest the Labour party is still struggling to match the share of the vote they achieved in 2011 let alone begin a recovery.
“The Conservative Party do not yet appear to be in a position which will see them replacing Labour as the official opposition.”
Ms Sturgeon was joined in Queensferry by SNP deputy leader Stewart Hosie, campaign chief John Swinney and a fleet of SNP people carriers that will tour target seats all over the country. The SNP fleet set off on tour with Ms Sturgeon starting her final week of campaigning in Edinburgh West, Mr Swinney heading to Dumbarton and Mr Hosie driving north.
Ms Sturgeon said: “As we enter the final week of campaigning the SNP is the only party with a clear plan to take Scotland forward.
“The Labour party find themselves in complete disarray on almost every policy issue, and the Tories cannot hide their plans to tax students and scrap free prescriptions. They simply cannot be trusted to protect Scotland’s interests.
“With just seven days to go I am asking people across Scotland to put their trust in me as First Minister and to back a strong SNP government with a positive, ambitious plans to shape a better future for Scotland. “
Labour published its manifesto yesterday with an appeal to traditional party voters and and a flagship plan raise taxes in Scotland with Holyrood’s new powers to tackle austerity.
Ms Dugdale visited the Enchanted Forest nursery in Glasgow’s Robroyston today and accused the SNP and Tories of running “dishonest” campaigns.
She said: “Nicola Sturgeon wants people to believe that we can stop the cuts but refuses to ask anybody, including the richest 1%, to pay more to make that happen. Ruth Davidson says she will stand up to the SNP but you can’t get a fag paper between the tax plans of the two parties.
“Only Labour has an honest plan to invest in Scotland’s future and stop the cuts. Faced with the choice between using the powers of the Scottish Parliament to invest in the future or carrying on with the cuts, Labour will use the powers to stop the cuts.”