The ICM poll of more than 1000 voters was commissioned by the SNP and shows the Nationalists just four points behind Labour’s 39% in the constituency vote and three behind Labour’s 37% for the list vote.
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With the Tories gathering in Perth, the poll was not good news for them – at 12% and 13% for the constituency and list votes – while the Liberal Democrats are struggling on 10% and 9%. The Greens scored 4% and others 7% on the regional vote.
Nicola Sturgeon, deputy leader of the SNP, hailed the fact that they scored higher than Labour on fitness to govern. “Compared to our election-winning 2007 result, SNP support is higher and we are only at the start of the campaign,” she said.
“We are confident that we can win people’s trust and voters will endorse the positive record of the SNP in Government. Labour, by contrast, are in policy disarray – with their council tax gymnastics and hospital closure U-turns just the latest examples.”
However, Scottish Labour leader Iain Gray said: “This is another superb poll that shows Labour with the momentum. There have been 14 polls in Scotland since the General Election.
“Labour has been the largest party in 13 of them and this makes it four in row.”
He also pointed to a council by-election in Paisley where Labour beat the SNP, increasing their share of the vote by 17%.
In another poll, conducted by YouGov, Labour were on 41% for the constituency vote, the SNP 38%, Conservatives 10%, LibDems 6% and others 5%.
Ms Sturgeon said: “It is clear that the Scottish election is absolutely neck-and-neck.
“The gold standard ICM poll demonstrated that, and even a YouGov poll, which weights against the SNP, has come to the same conclusion.”