|Written by Lindsay McGarvie|
A consistent theme of the General Election is that there is a strong possibility that the SNP will be powerbrokers in a hung parliament.
Poll after poll has been music to the ears of SNP leader Nicola Sturgeon, with some even suggesting that her party could scoop more than 50 of the 59 seats up for grabs on 7 May.
Most commentators agree that Jim Murphy has had little opportunity to turn his party’s ailing fortunes around in the short time since he became Scottish Labour leader last December. But this week saw a rare glimmer of hope for him.
The most recent Scottish poll, for ITV this week, claimed that Mr Murphy could cling on to 27 of his current 41 seats, with a prediction of 30 for the SNP.
Now that would have been seen as a catastrophic and unthinkable result for Labour 20 – or even 10 years ago. But if that is the outcome when Mr Murphy rubs the sleep from his eyes on 8 May he will be hailed a hero in Labour circles.
And he’ll have proven even the most sceptical of his naysayers wrong by retaining a base on which to build upon for the 2016 Holyrood election.
Conversely, nothing more than total annihilation of Scottish Labour MPs will be good enough for a large rump of the SNP’s bumper 102,000 strong membership.
So this latest poll brings into sharp relief the question of how Scottish Labour and the SNP manage the election expectations among their respective party faithful.
What is not in doubt is that the SNP are on course to significantly increase their cohort of MPs from the six secured in 2010. The only question appears to be what the multiple of that increase will be.
Because that will have the decisive say on whether or not Ms Sturgeon’s party can hit whatever the magic number of MPs will ultimately be that could see them become UK kingmakers after 8 May.
Latest poll (ComRes/ITV): SNP 43%, Lab 37%, Con 13%, Lib Dem 2%, Oth 4%
Lindsay McGarvie is a Director at 3×1 Public Relations with over two decades experience in journalism/communications (former Scottish Political Reporter of the Year). He is a PR and public affairs consultant with unrivalled UK media contacts and extensive crisis/reputation management experience and is a Member of the Chartered Institute of Public Relations.