Think Tank list of pro-union candidates likely to beat SNP

Leader of the Scottish Conservative Party, Ruth Davidson, poses with local candidate David Duguid whilst campaigning. Picture: Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images)
Leader of the Scottish Conservative Party, Ruth Davidson, poses with local candidate David Duguid whilst campaigning. Picture: Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images)
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A think tank has produced a list of pro-union candidates it claims are most likely to beat the SNP in close seats across Scotland.

The Scottish Research Society (SRS), a political research organisation which campaigned against Scottish independence after being set up in 2014, commissioned an independent study to discover which pro-union candidate has the highest chance of winning in a given seat in Thursday’s General Election.

The report identified 20 seats believed to be close enough for the SNP to be beaten if a small number of the electorate vote tactically in favour of the specified candidate.

The study shows the SNP are only five per cent ahead of their nearest rival, the Conservatives, in Aberdeen South and that Dunbartonshire East could be won by the Liberal Democrats, who are ten points behind the SNP.

In Edinburgh South, Labour’s Ian Murray could hold the seat with a one per cent increase in the party’s vote.

SRS chairman Cameron Buchanan said: “Many voters are prioritising staying part of the UK ahead of other political arguments in this election and our study will help them.

“Just as the debate over the EU referendum crossed the traditional party lines, we are seeing an increasing number of people prepared to back the pro-union candidate most likely to win in their area, regardless of the political party they belong to.

“We have produced this work to help them do just that.”

The analysis puts the Conservatives ahead in six seats including Perth and North Perthshire, Stirling, Moray, Dumfries and Galloway, and Aberdeenshire West.

The Tories are also found to be ahead in the seat of Berwickshire, Roxburgh and Selkirk, and the seat of Dumfriesshire, Clydesdale and Tweeddale.

In all other seats, the SNP are said to be ahead, by up to 27 per cent in some areas including Glasgow East, Glasgow South and the seat of Cumbernauld, Kilsyth and Kirkintilloch.

SRS said a professional researcher carried out the study, which is based on recent polling data, including the Lord Ashcroft polls and information from the Electoral Calculus website, and was completed on May 27.