That's why it's totally unrealistic for people to say "oh look at the two new polls, Alba aren't getting off the ground, you have to toddle back and vote SNP on the list". The people who have moved across to Alba don't have that option. Of course if Alba were to eventually fold, some people would go back to the SNP, start from scratch, and try to build up an internal powerbase all over again. But that would be a very long-term project. For now they're quite rightly going to hold their nerve, see this campaign through, and try to maximise Alba's list vote. If every party that had a couple of poor opinion polls immediately gave up, no politician would ever achieve anything.
I've already sent in my vote by post, and it was SNP on the constituency ballot, Alba on the list. When I saw the ComRes poll this morning, I did wonder for a fraction of a second if I'd made a mistake, but I quickly realised that I hadn't. I live in Central Scotland, and the reality is that a list vote here for either Alba or the SNP could easily be wasted - a vote for Alba could be wasted if they fall below the de facto threshold of 5% or 6%, and a vote for the SNP is likely to be wasted due to the d'Hondt formula penalising them for being over-represented in the constituency seats. Some would say that the Greens are the percentage choice on the list in this region, but I was never going to vote for a party that doesn't make independence its highest priority. (I'm also very unhappy with the Greens' obsession with identity politics, but I could have held my nose if they at least shared Alba's sense of urgency on independence.)
The reality is that the Alba experiment will have been a success if there's at least one Alba seat in the new parliament. If you doubt that, you only need to look at how important it is to the Alba-haters that the party draws a complete blank and that Alex Salmond suffers his "final, crushing defeat". They won't be able to make that claim if Mr Salmond himself is returned as an Alba MSP in the north-east. I was thinking back to 2003 when the Scottish Senior Citizens Unity Party won a list seat in Central Scotland thanks to a below-the-radar campaign that relied on leaflets pointing out that they were running Billy McNeill as a paper candidate. I don't recall them registering in the pre-election polls much.
In other words, don't write Alba off. It's entirely possible they'll have a presence in the new parliament.
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