Nicola Sturgeon has claimed that losing up to 16 seats would not be a ‘disaster’ for the SNP
The First Minister said she was “working hard” to win the majority of Scotland’s 59 seats but played down expectations of a repeat of the 2015 Nationalist “tsunami”.
An analysis of a new opinion poll yesterday predicted SNP deputy leader Angus Robertson is on course to lose his Moray constituency to the Tories in next week’s election.
The survey, carried out for The Herald by BMG, puts support for the SNP at 43 per cent, 13 points above the Scottish Conservatives on 30 per cent.
It has Labour on 18 per cent, the Liberal Democrats at 5 per cent and the Scottish Greens at 2 per cent, after “don’t knows” have been excluded.
This could see the Scottish Tory MPs rise from one to eight with the party also claiming the scalp SNP veteran Pete Wishart in Perth and North Perthshire.
Rivals are hoping to capitalise on a backlash against Ms Sturgeon’s crusade for independence.
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People are switching to the Scottish Conservatives in their thousands
Ms Sturgeon’s party won 56 seats and 50 per cent of the vote two years ago in a major rout for Labour.
In a newspaper interview published yesterday Ms Sturgeon said: “It’s important to put it in context; yes in 2015 the SNP had an exceptional election result and I’d love to think we’ll repeat.
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The First Minister said she was ‘working hard’ to win the majority of Scotland’s seats
“But having been in politics for the best part of 30 years, and being in the SNP at times when six MPs was success for us, for people now to say to me ‘Oh, if you only get 50, 40, that would be a disaster’.
“Well, not really.”
Conservatives, Labour and Lib Dems strategists believe they could benefit from Unionist tactical voting in a string of seats.
But a survey by the Electoral Reform Society yesterday suggested just 8 per cent of voters north of the Borders would cast their ballots tactically.
Speaking as she campaigned alongside Douglas Ross, who hopes to unseat Mr Robertson, Ruth Davidson said “the fight is on”.
A new election poll puts support for the SNP at 13 points above the Scottish Conservatives
She said: “People here, as elsewhere across Scotland, know they can send a message to Nicola Sturgeon next week that we’ve had enough of her divisive second referendum.”
“We are working hard for every vote and people are switching to the Scottish Conservatives in their thousands.”
Other seats forecast to fall to the Conservatives according to yesterday’s poll include Aberdeen South, Aberdeenshire West and Kincardine, Berwickshire, Roxburgh and Selkirk, as well as Dumfries and Galloway,
The survey was carried out before the Manchester bomb attack.
SNP election campaign manager Derek Mackay, said: “This poll was taken over two weeks ago – but like all other polls, it shows that only a vote for the SNP can keep the Tories out.”
Former Labour PM Gordon Brown and ex-Chancellor Alistair, now Lord, Darling wrote today to nearly 100,000 people in seats where the SNP looks vulnerable.
Rivals are hoping to capitalise on a backlash against Ms Sturgeon’s crusade for independence
They warned in separate letters that only a vote for Labour would stop the SNP and put a brake on its drive to hold another “divisive” ballot on the country’s future.
The letters were delivered across Edinburgh South, East Lothian, Lanark and Hamilton East, Kirkcaldy and Cowdenbeath, Coatbridge, Chryston and Bellshill, and Midlothian.
Lord Darling has already written to voters in East Renfrewshire – one of the Tories’ top target seats.
Meanwhile, Scottish Lib Dem leader Willie Rennie claimed the SNP were using “devious tactics” to split the anti-independence vote in some of his target seats such as Edinburgh West, East Dunbartonshire, and North East Fife.
He said they were taking up the prospect of Conservative gains in leaflets “to scrape a victory”.