Breaking News | 4th February 2015

The SNP may win more than 50 Scottish seats, but only have 35 parliamentary candidates

“This is what a political earthquake looks like.” Wrote New Statesman political editor George […]

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“This is what a political earthquake looks like.” Wrote New Statesman political editor George Eaton this morning, in the wake of Lord Ashcroft’s long-awaited Scottish polls.

May2015 used Ashcroft’s polls to show that the SNP are now set to win almost every seat in Scotland. But the party has, so far, only actually put forward 35 candidates for Scotland’s 59 seats. Four in ten Scottish seats don’t have an SNP candidate – and yet they are almost all set to vote for the party.

Ashcroft polls today covered 16 of Scotland’s 59 seats. The SNP only has a candidate in 11 of these. Excepting Glasgow North East – the only seat in which Ashcroft didn’t show the SNP ahead – the SNP are in front in four seats in which they don’t have a candidate: Coatbridge, Chryston & Bellshill; Dunbartonshire West; Motherwell & Wishaw; and Paisley & Renfrewshire South (seat of Douglas Alexander, the shadow foreign secretary).

The SNP are in front in four Ashcroft seats in which they don’t have a candidate.

We have used these polls to forecast how Scotland’s other 43 seats will vote in May. Our forecast suggests the SNP will win 56 seats; YouGov’s poll earlier this week, and many other recent polls like it, imply the SNP would win 54. Another forecast, Election Forecast, discounts polls when they are this far away from election day, and has a more conservative estimate for the SNP (36).

But that still implies the SNP are set to win more seats than they have candidates. This is all the most startling because Ashcroft asks two questions in his polls: an abstract national vote question, and a specific local question about “your own parliamentary constituency…and the candidates who are likely to stand”.

Clearly the absence of an SNP candidate isn’t holding back Scotland’s nationalists.

Lists of candidates have been invaluably compiled by @AndyJSajs here.