THE polls in Scotland have appeared unrelentingly bad for Labour. But hidden in some of them is the possibility the party might not do quite so badly overall.
Two Scotland-wide polls in the past week put the SNP above 50 per cent, while even the third reported a five-point increase in the SNP lead. Between them, they suggested Labour could be left with no more than a handful of seats.
However, the latest swing to the SNP has not been replicated in the polls that Scotland on Sunday has uniquely been following during the campaign.
These are the Britain-wide polls, of which there were no less than 18 last week. Individually, these contain too few Scots to provide a reliable estimate of how well the parties are doing north of the Border. But collectively, they have interviewed around 2,000 Scots – more than most Scotland-wide polls.
The SNP remain well ahead in these polls. But at 45 per cent their tally is much as it has been throughout the campaign.
Equally, after having shown signs of slipping during the campaign, Labour support has crept back up to 28 per cent during the last week.
If Labour do that well on Thursday, the party might hang on to as many as 11 seats north of the Border.
There is, however, less chance of a similar mood among the Liberal Democrats. At 7 per cent the party’s latest tally is much as it has been throughout the campaign. For the Tories, meanwhile, this looks like another election at which they flatline at 16-17 per cent.
The only question is whether that will be enough to save David Mundell’s skin.
• John Curtice is professor of politics, Strathclyde University