How Scotland could decide the general election
Tory surge north of the border would boost a Boris Johnson majority
A Tory surge in Scotland could determine the size of any majority Boris Johnson wins in next week’s general election.
The prime minister is expected to have eight Tory MPs in Scotland after support for the Conservatives hit 28% in a recent YouGov poll of voters north of the border.
In 2017, the unexpected election of 13 Conservative MPs was decisive in Theresa May returning to Downing Street, says The Times.
What do the polls say?
A recent YouGov/Times survey of voters in Scotland found that the Tories were polling at 28%, compared with the SNP’s 44%, which would see the Scottish nationalists increase their number of seats by 11 to 46. The Conservatives are set to win eight seats in Scotland.
The outlook for Labour is bleak, with the party facing the prospect of returning just one Scottish MP. The Lib Dems would hold on to their four MPs if the poll is correct.
A YouGov poll of the UK as whole puts the Tories on 42% compared with Labour’s 33%. Though the Conservatives’ lead is gradually decreasing, the MRP model - which predicted the 2017 result with 93% accuracy - indicates that the country is on course for a Tory majority of 68.
But the closing gap means that every seat will count, and Scottish MPs could again play an important role in a potential Conservative government.
What’s causing the Tory surge?
The boost to Tory support is likely to be down to anti-Scottish independence voters and Brexit supporters rallying around the party, election guru John Curtice told the Times.
“Much of the Conservative advance is a consequence of the collapse in support for the Brexit Party, who are only contesting 15 of the 59 seats north of the border,” he said.
Around half (49%) of people in Scotland say Brexit is the most important issue for them, compared to just 26% who think Scottish independence is most important.
The health service is the second most important issue for the Scottish public, despite the fact that the NHS in Scotland is governed by Holyrood and not Westminster.