Just a quick note to let you know that I have a new article at the TalkRadio website about Kezia Dugdale's ill-advised decision to take part in I'm a Celebrity. You can read it HERE.
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It was statistically inevitable that the SNP's extraordinary run of being ahead in twenty-one consecutive subsamples would eventually be brought to an end, and it finally happened earlier this week with the publication of Kantar's first poll since the general election. It's a weird poll all round - not only are the Tories several points ahead across Britain (a finding that is completely out of line with what all other firms have been showing for the last two months), but there's also a substantial Tory lead in the Scottish subsample. As this is the most recent poll to be conducted, we can't completely exclude the possibility that it's picking up something new, but it's probably more likely that it'll prove to be a freakish result. I'd be a little more concerned if the Scottish subsample had put Labour substantially ahead, but a Tory surge in Scotland just doesn't have the smell of truth at the moment.
Bizarrely, Kantar appear to be unaware of the change in Scottish Labour leadership. According to their datasets, one of the voting intention options they offered to respondents in Scotland was "Labour party (led by Jeremy Corbyn in the UK and Kezia Dugdale in Scotland)".
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We should get more of a clue of the state of public opinion overnight, because there are two important local by-elections in Scotland today - one in Perth City South, and one in Rutherglen Central & North. On paper, the SNP should have a decent chance of gaining the seat in Rutherglen, because they topped the poll in the ward in May, with an 8% margin over Labour. However, the ward is in one of the six parliamentary constituencies that Labour gained in the general election, and the arithmetic also looks very similar to a seat that the SNP failed to win in a Glasgow by-election a couple of months ago. In practice I'd say Labour are slight favourites - which obviously means it would be a huge psychological boost if the SNP were to pull it off.
The Perth contest looks much tougher for the SNP - they were nine points behind the Lib Dems (of all parties) back in May. Although it's perfectly possible the Lib Dem vote will prove to be soft, you'd think those people would be more likely to break for the Tories rather than the SNP. But you never know - Pete Wishart famously defied gravity in Perth at the general election, so let's hope history repeats itself.
If by any chance you live in either ward, don't forget to vote over the next few hours!