VOTERS in Scotland would be more likely to back Labour if the party committed to a left-wing agenda of bringing the railways and utility firms back into public ownership, a survey has found.

The Survation poll suggested that adopting the policies would appeal to a significant number of SNP voters and be highly popular among Labour supporters.

The findings of the survey, which was carried out days after Jim Murphy won the Scottish Labour leadership, are likely to be seized on by those within the party who believe a return to its traditional values represent the best approach to regaining ground on the SNP.

Pat Rafferty, Scottish secretary of the Labour-affiliated trade union Unite, said the findings came "as no surprise" and that overtly left-wing policies had resonated with voters during the contest for the Scottish Labour leadership.

Neil Findlay, who Unite backed in the contest and won 34.5 per cent of the vote compared to Mr Murphy's 55.7 per cent, spoke out in favour of re-nationalisation of the railways throughout the contest.

Mr Murphy, meanwhile, has been seen throughout his career as having a similar political philosophy to Tony Blair, who axed the Labour Party's commitment to large-scale nationalisation in the mid-90s.

Mr Rafferty said: "Jim Murphy's acceptance speech was probably the most left wing I've heard him deliver. If he wants to win back the traditional Labour vote, he would do well to listen to what these people are saying. He needs to give traditional Labour voters a reason to vote Labour. Our concern is that a Blairite agenda would do more damage to the party."

Overall, just over a third of 1,000 people surveyed said they would be "much more likely" or "somewhat more likely" to vote Labour in the General Election if it committed to a "major programme of re-nationalisation, including taking railways and utility companies back into public ownership". Only 9.3 per cent of the electorate said it would make them "somewhat less likely" or "much less likely" to support Labour.

Of those who currently plan to vote Labour in May, almost 60 per cent said a commitment to large-scale re-nationalisation would make them more likely to back the party in May, compared to four per cent who said less likely.

More than a quarter of those planning to vote SNP said the shift would make them more likely to vote Labour, compared to around six per cent who said less likely.

A Scottish Labour spokesman said: "We want a Scotland, and a UK, that works for working people, and not just a few at the top. We will introduce a 50p tax on top earners and reintroduce the 10p tax for people on low incomes.

"We'll tax bankers bonuses to fund a jobs guarantee for our young people. And we'll change the law to introduce a new deal for Scotland's railways so that public companies can bid for, and run, our railways."

Transport Minister Derek Mackay said: "This poll confirms that it will take far more than the election of a new leader - particularly a Westminster MP who backs Trident, voted for the Iraq war, and campaigned with Tories in the referendum - to address the fact that Labour is fundamentally out of step with people in Scotland."