To the best of my knowledge, today marks the first time that Ed Miliband has explicitly "ruled out" a confidence-and-supply deal with the SNP, as opposed to a full coalition. (I'm using inverted commas, because at this stage in the game we can't completely exclude the possibility that he's making a Clegg Promise, one that he'll happily break and then "apologise for having had no choice but to break it".) He's now left himself in a very unhealthy position if he's looking to form a stable government - the chances of Labour winning an absolute majority are microscopically small, and so his only remaining hope is that he might just scrape enough seats to give a potential Labour-Lib Dem-SDLP arrangement a small working majority (which ironically would include a party committed to "breaking up the United Kingdom"!).
In the more likely scenario that a stable Labour-led government is not possible without the SNP, what is Miliband's strategy for governing? It seems that he's getting very close to the impossibly stubborn message that Harold Wilson sent out when the 1974 election resulted in a hung parliament : "we won't do deals, we'll just govern". Remarkably, that strategy worked for Wilson, but he had several advantages that Miliband either won't have or may not have -
1) He didn't have to contend with the Fixed Term Parliaments Act, and knew he could call a snap second election at the most favourable moment.
2) He was personally popular, and once he had got himself into power after the February election, people wanted him to stay there.
3) He had the supposed 'legitimacy' of leading the largest single party in the Commons.
It's quite possible that Miliband will be a personally unpopular Prime Minister, seeking to govern without the unofficial 'legitimacy' that comes from leading the largest party or from signing a formal deal that demonstrates he has more parliamentary support than the Tories, and without the clear option of calling a snap election in the unlikely event that a favourable moment presents itself.
Doesn't sound too promising, does it? Labour haven't realised it yet, but they may well be pining for a deal with the SNP before this year is out.
* * *
The Panelbase datasets are now out, and a couple of things leap out at me. Firstly, when asked to make a straight choice between a Labour-led and a Conservative-led government, Yes voters overwhelmingly prefer Labour, while No voters are virtually split down the middle (47% favour the Tories). This once again demonstrates the indescribable idiocy of a Labour strategy that effectively says "we only want No voters" by aggressively opposing fiscal autonomy for Scotland.
Secondly, it's once again the case that people currently planning to vote SNP are more likely to have firmly made up their minds than anyone else, making it much harder to see where the Labour fightback is going to come from. That said, it's probably worth being a touch sceptical about any kind of "certainty to vote" question in an online poll, because volunteer online polling panels contain a disproportionate number of politically committed people.