The latest poll of Scottish voters shows the SNP are on track to deal a huge electoral blow to Labour.
According to pollster TNS, the SNP is on track to take 54% of the vote in Scotland compared to 22% for Labour.
Only five years ago Labour took 42% of the Scottish vote, taking 41 seats, with the SNP a distant second on 19.9% winning only six seats. And it was widely thought that the party would remain a powerful local force — dominating the Scottish parliament — but not so much a national one.
Since the Scottish independence referendum in September last year, however, all that has changed.
According to forecaster Election Forecast UK, the SNP is now on track to take as many as 48 seats on May 7. That would make Nicola Sturgeon’s party comfortably the third-largest in Westminster and mean that it would be all-but-impossible for Ed Miliband to form a Labour government without some kind of SNP support.
However, there was an important caveat to the TNS poll. Of respondents who said that they were definitely going to vote, 29% (almost one third) said that they were undecided. This could have huge implications for the ultimate result.
As Tom Costley, head of TNS Scotland, says: “It remains to be seen what impact the 29% who claim to be undecided as to which way to vote will have on the total number of Westminster seats gained by the SNP.”
Nevertheless, if Labour are to retain a larger number of the seats that they currently hold in Scotland then we should be seeing some signs of movement in the polls back towards them. This mean reversion effect has been factored into most election forecasts, and has provided hope that the damage north of the border would not be quite as severe as some feared.
It’s not happening, however. And with only 10 days to go before the vote Sturgeon looks on course to deliver the biggest political upset in Scotland since the Conservatives were wiped out as a political force in 1997.
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