A few Scottish Labour hearts must have warmed last night at the early indications of what YouGov's massive (in terms of participants) poll contained, with the headline prediction of a result in Scotland practically identical to the 2005 election. Only four seats were predicted to change hands - admittedly these were all Labour losses. However, the detail of the poll released today paints a dramatically less rosy picture for Labour, and a very positive one for the SNP. Given that sampling was done only in selected marginal constituencies, there are no national vote shares available. However, it is possible to compare the parties' vote share in these constituencies with what happened in 2005. It's pretty much one-way traffic -
SNP up 11
Labour down 8
Conservatives up 1
Liberal Democrats down 6
If we assume a uniform national swing, that puts the SNP just two points behind Labour nationally. And whatever the individual constituency predictions (and YouGov's methodology there has been questioned by some) those figures put Labour perilously close to the territory where they would be in danger of losing a shedload of seats to the SNP.
The truly extraordinary finding (so extraordinary I'm inclined to doubt it slightly) is that the Conservatives - supposedly a party cruising to victory at UK level - are making no headway at all in the Scottish marginals. However, the Liberal Democrats' collapse is no surprise, given the giddy heights they reached in 2005 before foolishly jettisoning their greatest asset Charles Kennedy.
Also unambiguously great news for Plaid Cymru in this poll - a 4% increase in vote share, a 7.6% swing from Labour, and a projected gain of three seats.