Although there has been a major boundary change, it is still largely the Holyrood stronghold of former LibDem party leader Nicol Stephen. He has held the seat since the Scottish Parliament was established, but is now bound for the House of Lords.
A rural part that has been added to the south has been held by his party colleague Mike Rumbles since 1999, and in Westminster it is represented by another LibDem, Sir Robert Smith. Aberdeen South was won by Labour’s Dame Anne Begg in Westminster at the general election last year.
But the changes to the Holyrood seat make it more attractive to the SNP, with the notional 2007 result giving a reduced LibDem majority of just over 2000. It is number 15 on the SNP’s list of winnable seats with a swing of 3.65% needed. The party does seem to have a wind in its sails, and if it takes this seat it could be on its way back to power.
The SNP candidate Maureen Watt has been a list MSP for North East Scotland since April 2006, following the resignation of list MSP Richard Lochhead to fight the Moray by-election.
She was re-elected to the region in 2007 and was schools minister until 2009. She was also convener of Holyrood’s rural affairs and environment committee.
She says: “I think the biggest issue is the Tory/LibDem tax raid on the oil industry. This will affect people throughout the constituency; those that work in the offices as well as those offshore.
“The fear is that it is going to affect long-term investment in areas such as west of Shetland.
“Danny Alexander appears to have done his figures on the back of a fag packet. He seems to think that all the oil companies have profits like Shell and BP. But it is the smaller ones that are investing trying to prolong the lives of the existing fields in the North Sea.”
That’s not how the LibDems’ John Sleigh sees it. He is involved in community groups in Aberdeen and came second to Anne Begg in last year’s General Election.
He says: “We are fighting a good old-fashioned campaign. Knocking on doors and meeting people in the street and I think it is going well. Once you engage people, there is an appetite for politics.”
He concedes the Coalition was raised on the doorsteps. “But voters are far more interested in local issues. They are concerned by the prospect of a single police force in Scotland, which they think would be lunacy.”
Meanwhile, Labour hopes its emphasis on jobs and message that voting Labour is the best way to fight Coalition cuts will succeed.