Labour and the Conservatives are running neck-and-neck behind the SNP in the latest survey of voting intentions in Scotland with one week of campaigning left before the general election.
The two largest pro-union parties are tied on 25 per cent among those certain to vote on 8 June, with the SNP out in front on 43 per cent and Liberal Democrats trailing on five per cent.
If replicated on polling day it could be enough for the Tories to claim six seats from the Nationalists to win a total of seven, up from one in 2015.
But Nicola Sturgeon’s party would still be left with 50 of Scotland’s 59 MPs, down from 56 two years ago.
The poll is a boost for Labour, with previous surveys suggesting its vote share could drop from the 24.3 per cent it secured in Scotland in 2015 to as low as 13 per cent.
While the Tories’ Scottish vote share is up on its 2015 result of 14 per cent, it is down on recent polls which put support for the party as high as 33 per cent.
The Ipsos Mori poll of 1,016 voters north of the border was commissioned by STV and carried out between 22 and 27 May.
It comes as UK-wide polling indicates Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn is closing the gap with Prime Minister Theresa May ahead of the 8 June ballot.
A constituency-by-constituency estimate for The Times by YouGov indicates the Conservatives could lose 20 seats and see its majority wiped out, while Jeremy Corbyn’s Labour Party may gain 28 seats.
The analysis is based on a complex model and suggests Mrs May’s gamble of calling a snap election in the hope of a landslide win could backfire spectacularly.
YouGov’s analysis puts the Tories on 310 seats, down from the 330 they went into the election with, and 16 short of a majority.
Labour would get 257 seats, up from 229, the Liberal Democrats 10, up from the nine Tim Farron’s party held when the election was called, the SNP 50, the Greens one and Plaid Cymru three.
Those figures are from the model’s central estimate, which acknowledges a large range of variations.
Following the publication of the STV poll, SNP campaign manager Derek Mackay said: “This poll shows that only a vote for the SNP can keep the Tories out.
“Labour can’t win the election in Scotland – and a vote for them just risks letting a Tory MP in the back door.
“Now, more than ever, it is vital to have strong SNP voices standing up for Scotland.”
Scottish Labour campaign manager James Kelly said: “This is another encouraging poll which shows that increasing numbers of Scots know the only way to defeat the SNP in the majority of seats in Scotland is to vote Labour.
“In seats such as Edinburgh South, East Lothian, Lanark and Hamilton East, Coatbridge, Chryston and Bellshill, and Kirkcaldy and Cowdenbeath, only Labour can beat the SNP - the Tories aren’t at the races here.
“Support for Ruth Davidson is declining as voters reject her vision for a more divided society and turn to Kezia Dugdale’s vision for a country for the many, not the few.”
But Jackson Carlaw, deputy leader of the Scottish Conservatives, said the poll was further proof that only his party could “bring the Nationalists down to size”.
“Labour is now too weak, and with Jeremy Corbyn having confirmed he will open discussions with Nicola Sturgeon about a second referendum, they can’t be trusted to stand up against the SNP,” he said.
“Only Ruth Davidson and the Scottish Conservatives have what it takes to fight back against the Nationalists’ obsession with a second referendum so we can all move on, together.”
The survey also found support for Scottish independence on 47 per cent, with 53 per cent against. A previous poll published by STV in March shortly before Brexit was triggered had the vote split 50-50.
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