I must admit I burst out laughing when I heard that Blair McDougall is going to be Labour's general election candidate in East Renfrewshire, but once I regained my composure I realised that this is a symptom of a major dilemma for the unionist camp. There's no doubt that the SNP are vulnerable in East Renfrewshire, but they'll start looking a hell of a lot less vulnerable if the Labour/Tory vote is split right down the middle. Budding unionist tactical voters can't do much until they work out who the real challenger is, and that's far from clear at the moment. The political history of the area, taken in combination with current opinion polls, would suggest the seat ought to be a straight fight between SNP and Tory, and that Labour's resilience in 2015 was a one-off due to Tories temporarily lending their support to Jim Murphy on a mass scale. And yet anyone 'tactically' voting for the Tories this time will have to take a leap of faith and assume that natural Tory voters won't be coaxed by the electrifyingly charismatic McDougall and his trusty Lib Dem-style bar-charts into believing that "only Labour can beat the SNP here". There will be a similar dilemma in East Dunbartonshire, where diehard unionists will have to guess whether Jo Swinson's candidacy means there will not be the mass-switch from Lib Dem to Tory that you might otherwise expect in an area with such a strong Tory tradition.
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SCOT GOES POP POLL OF POLLS
The second update of our Poll of Polls for Scottish voting intentions at the general election is based on two full-scale Scottish polls (from Panelbase and Survation), and eight subsamples (two from ICM, one from Ipsos-Mori, one from Panelbase, one from ComRes, one from Survation, one from Opinium and one from YouGov). The GB-wide poll from Kantar/TNS has had to be excluded because no geographical breakdown was provided.
SNP 43.6% (-0.7)
Conservatives 30.4% (+6.1)
Labour 15.3% (-0.7)
Liberal Democrats 7.0% (+0.7)
(The Poll of Polls uses the Scottish subsamples from all GB-wide polls that have been conducted entirely within the last seven days and for which datasets have been provided, and also all full-scale Scottish polls that have been conducted at least partly within the last seven days. Full-scale polls are given ten times the weighting of subsamples.)