New leader sees Scottish Labour overtake Tories in poll

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Support for Scottish Labour has grown under new leader Richard Leonard, according to a poll.

The party has moved into second place behind the SNP in both Westminster and Holyrood voting intentions, a Survation survey for the Daily Record found.

The poll for Westminster support put the SNP on 37% – the same as the party polled in June – with Labour up one point to 28% and the Scottish Conservatives down four to 25%.

At Holyrood, the SNP lead on 39% for constituency voting intentions, followed by Labour on 25% and the Tories on 24%, while the list votes see the SNP on 33%, Labour 25% and the Tories on 22%.

The poll of 1,000 Scots was carried out online between November 27 and 30, just over a week after Mr Leonard succeeded Kezia Dugdale as Scottish Labour leader.

Professor John Curtice said even a marginal change in support could have a big impact on future elections.

He told the Record : “Scotland has gone from being a land of safe seats to a land of marginals.

“Even a change of just 1% could see some seats change hands.”

Survation also found that support for Scottish independence is two points higher than it was in the 2014 referendum, with 47% of those questioned now backing Yes.

On Brexit, the Record poll found that EU support has strengthened in Scotland, with 68% saying they would vote Remain if the referendum was repeated, up from 62% north of the border last year.

Almost half of Scots (49%) think the UK will not make a success of Brexit compared with 33% who are confident it will go well. The remaining 18% are unsure.

SNP business convener Derek Mackay said: “A 14-point poll lead is a remarkable achievement for a party approaching 11 years in Government.

“It is testament to the success of the SNP in delivering progressive government – with investment in education and early years to tackle the attainment gap, record spending on our health service and building a social security system which puts people at its very heart.

“The Tory slump has put the party back into third place as more and more people witness first-hand the harm that Westminster cuts are inflicting upon communities and public services.

“Unfortunately, too many decisions which determine our fate are still made at Westminster, including the hard line approach to Brexit that would see Scotland dragged out of the single market at a huge cost to jobs and our economy.

“As people realise how damaging that will be, independence becomes an increasingly irresistible alternative and this poll points to a clear movement in that direction.”

Scottish Labour MSP James Kelly said: “As we saw in the general election, voters are coming back to Labour.

“The SNP and the Tories offer nothing but division and despair at Holyrood and Westminster.

“Labour, in contrast, has inspired voters across the country with a vision of hope and real change.”