Election results across the north-east could be difficult to predict, according to an Aberdeen academic.
Malcolm Harvey, politics lecturer at Aberdeen University, said that in this “fairly volatile election” he wouldn’t be surprised if the Conservatives hold on to their six north-east seats or if the SNP made gains in the region.
He said: “The majority the Conservatives have in six out of the seven north-east seats are significant. Most are marginal but most are significant to overturn.
“I think they are going to be quite fine margins, but we could wake up and all could be the same with no changes at all.”
In 2017, the Conservatives swept to victory in six of the seven north-east seats; Aberdeen South, Banff and Buchan, Gordon, West Aberdeenshire and Kincardine, Angus and Moray.
Aberdeen North was held by the SNP’s Kirsty Blackman, who first took the seat in 2015 when the party triumphed at the polls in the wake of the independence referendum.
The north-east should be “fertile territory” for the Liberal Democrats but the party have been impacted by Jo Swinson’s leadership and the “clear message” of the SNP and the Tories, the politics lecturer has claimed.
He said: “It’s an interesting one. This should be fertile territory for them.
“Gordon and West Aberdeenshire and Kincardine were Liberal Democrat before.
“They have had a presence and history here.
“Jo Swinson’s leadership hasn’t been particularly popular nationwide. I think since then she’s struggled to make her voice heard in the debates.
“Labour have been nowhere for the same reasons – their message has been quite vague.
“They just haven’t had any impact on the campaign here.”
In terms of issues which have dominated this election, the two constitutional questions are the ones being debated.
Mr Harvey said: “It comes down to which of these issues are most salient for you.
“If you are pro-union but don’t want to leave the EU, do you transfer to the Lib Dems? That might not work in a Conservative/SNP marginal.
“I think largely the two constitutional issues are driving the campaign.
“Professor Ailsa Henderson, from the University of Edinburgh, came up with the four tribes in Scotland: The Yes/Remainers, Yes/Leavers, No/Remainers and No/Leavers and that has dominated the election in Scotland, really.
“I think for the north-east, independence is maybe taking prominence over the EU question.”
This has also been an election in which tactical voting has appeared more prominent. Earlier this week First Minister Nicola Sturgeon called on voters to lend the SNP their votes in order to lock Boris Johnson out of Number 10.
Meanwhile, the Conservatives have put protecting the union front and centre of their campaign, advocating for voters to choose their party as the strongest on this matter.
Mr Harvey said: “I think we have talked more about tactical voting this time round. There are so many seats in Scotland that are marginal, which means it’s very important for the parties to maximise the votes best they can.”