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The polls provide clear evidence that Findlay can reach the parts Murphy can’t

SL2014It is true that Jim Murphy has a higher media profile than Neil Findlay, but rarely in a leadership election do we have such good evidence that one candidate in the running cannot win over the voters Labour needs whilst the other has the policies they support. This matters if Ed Miliband is to have a reasonable chance of forming a government and if Scottish Labour is to avoid a further drubbing in 2016.

We know that over a third of Labour supporters went with Yes in the referendum. According to Professor John Curtice, a poll from Lord Ashcroft has this figure at 37% with another poll from Opinium in the last week of the campaign showing it to be as high as 47%. As Curtice points out:

It is certainly the case that less well-off voters, that is the kind of people who might be thought to be Labour’s traditional constituency, were more likely to vote Yes than those in more comfortable circumstances.’

Scottish Labour clearly has a big job to rebuild its lost support and win back those who voted Yes. An opinion poll by Survation for the Daily Record last week of the likely leaders included the trust ratings of Jim Murphy. It shows the extent to which Jim Murphy is struggling to be trusted by Yes voters, many of whom Scottish Labour will need to appeal to avoid electoral collapse.

The Daily Record/Survation poll shows only 1% of Yes voters ‘completely trust’ Jim Murphy, 4% mostly trust him and 13% slightly trust him.  In contrast 19% ‘mostly distrust’ Jim Murphy and a further 36% saying they ‘completely distrust’ him. With such little, trust it raises real issues about Scottish Labour‘s capacity to win back support from all those Labour voters who opted for Yes should Murphy be at the helm. There’s no disputing that Jim Murphy is the best known of all the three Labour leadership candidates in Scotland, but in his case this is not a good thing. A prominent role in the Better Together campaign means that many impressions of him have already been formed by Yes voters,but they’re just not favourable. As Tony Blair and Nick Clegg have discovered, what’s the point of publicity if no-one trusts what you say?

Dramatic action is needed with the Daily Record now forecasting that Labour stand to retain just 5 seats in Scotland and the SNP standing to win up to 52.  We know that a Labour left policy agenda as articulated by Neil Findlay and Katy Clarke can appeal to many current SNP voters and would allow Labour to attack the SNP from the left. From 50,000 new council houses to free education and a statutory living wage, these are policies that could attract Labour’s lost voters who went with Yes and at the moment are siding with the SNP.

A Scottish collapse will make it far harder for Ed Miliband to get into Downing Street with anything approaching a workable majority and leave it reliant on SNP demands. A Scottish landslide victory for the SNP in 2015 and 2016 would also surely raise questions as to whether Scottish Labour could recover.

One Comment

  1. Robert says:

    I suspect you will find that labour and Miliband would come out for Murphy, and that’s because Miliband is more or less controlled by Progress which is a total shame. I would suspect the money people within labour will be pouring in money to Murphy so the Unions need to back Findlay with more then just praise but actual help and financial assistance.

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