Checking today, I notice that on 22nd April there was another poll which again gave UKIP 10%, thus confirming that their level of support had risen from 4% in January but not showing any further rise since the previous poll that month.
This confirms that the previous trend showing UKIP support was at about 2% per month was real and if it were to continue (all other things are equal) it would suggest a final level of UKIP support in Scotland of about 12% by election day. However the same poll also showed that the Tory Scottish vote, after dipping down from 13% to 11%, rose from back up to 12%. (The losers were SNP and Labour.)
But as well as the UKIP – Tory race for last place, much to my surprise a fight has also developed between the front two as the SNP vote dropped to 33% whilst labour rose to 31%. Is this a one off statistical aberration or part of a trend?
The SNP vote had dropped since March, so whilst not as dramatic it could be part of a trend. If so, labour could just take an MEP seat from the SNP causing the SNP a major upset ahead of the referendum. So, if this trend is confirmed, Labour may well take a seat from the SNP and it would them seem almost certain that Alex Salmond will lose the referendum vote.
So the key facts are these:
- If the fall in SNP vote is confirmed by another opinion poll it looks like Labour could take a seat from the SNP.
- The UKIP vote rose by about 2% a month
- It is now at 10%
- Tories are now at about 12%
- Their battle is already too close to call.
The best estimate now is this: I cannot predict whether UKIP or the Tories votes will be higher as there is around a 2-3% margin of error. It is now far too close to call. The SNP are more than likely to win 3 MEPs and Labour 2, however if another poll puts margin between the two below 2%, then there is a confirmed trend and their race is also too close to call.
Other things to consider:
- The Tories are much stronger than UKIP – this gives a huge advantage
- UKIP are “new and novel” and in itself this may attract other voters
- As the “incumbent” it is really up to the Tories to stop UKIP, but the Tories have singularly failed to land any punches on UKIP.
- UKIP are notorious for getting themselves into trouble – the new team in Scotland will be lucky if that does not happen to them.