With just a week left until election day, opinion polls are beginning to take their final forms, where their accuracy (or otherwise) will be judged against the result.

This week’s poll by Survation for Ballot Box Scotland and The Herald stakes out a position as the most advantageous to Labour of the recent crop.

Compared to an average of three points difference across polling overall, Labour’s 37% (+1 vs their May poll) gives them a six-point lead over the SNP on 31% (-1).

Although far from the near-tie some UK-level polls are showing, Conservative support at 14% (-3) has clearly bled to Reform UK who are on 8% (not prompted last poll), ahead of the Lib Dems on 7% (-2) and Greens on 3% (also not prompted).

In the less pressing Holyrood numbers, things are similarly rosy for Labour, on 37% (+5) for the constituency vote, ahead of the SNP on 33% (no change), Conservatives on 14% (-3), Lib Dems 8% (-1), Greens 4% (-1) and Alba 1% (-1).

The proportional list vote meanwhile comes out at 34% Labour (+1), 30% SNP (+1), 16% Conservative (+1), 8% (-2) Lib Dem, 7% (-1) Green and 2% (-1) Alba.

(Image: PA)

The changes versus the previous poll are modest and largely within margin of error for the Westminster ballot, which fits the recent trend of Labour and the SNP plateauing.

John Swinney will perhaps breathe a sigh of relief that his party’s decline has seemingly stalled.

Yet there’s no denying the SNP are a much weakened party, whilst Anas Sarwar will be rightly jubilant at the near-certainty he’ll see Scottish Labour’s first victory since 2010.

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Estimating seat numbers from polled vote shares is tricky under First Past the Post. Nonetheless, my model estimates Labour could win 31 seats on these figures next week, the SNP 17, Lib Dems 5 and Conservatives 4.

Emphasising just how close things could be, 15 seats could go a different way with a swing of just 2% or less.

That includes Douglas Ross’ Aberdeenshire North and Moray East seat, which sits on a knife edge, dependent on how attractive Reform UK is in Scotland’s most Pro-Brexit constituency and how dim a view voters take of his shock defenestration of David Duguid.

The scale of Labour’s seat lead over the SNP comes down to their support being strongly concentrated in the Central Belt, where they can expect to win most seats.

After a decade of suffering from it, First Past the Post has swung back in their favour.

Yet according to this same poll, 55% of voters support a proportional voting system, compared to just 12% who oppose it, with 24% neutral.

Allan Faulds of Ballot Box ScotlandAllan Faulds of Ballot Box Scotland (Image: BBS)

Asked how they would vote in a proportional election, the figures are subtly different. Labour poll 34% (-3 vs FPTP), the SNP, Conservatives and Reform UK are unchanged, Lib Dems on 8% (+1) and Greens 6% (+3).

A nationally proportional system would instead give Labour a much reduced 19 MPs, compared to the same 17 for the SNP, 8 for the Conservatives, 5 apiece for the Lib Dems and Reform UK, and 3 Greens.

First Past the Post isn’t the only relic that Scottish voters would happily ditch.

Three-quarters want House of Lords reform: 24% preferring a fully elected house, 20% abolishing it entirely, 18% a mix of elected and appointed members, and 13% fully appointed but serving a limited time.

This may not be at the top of your average voter’s list, but they do clearly think the Lords is absurd, and only 8% say it shouldn’t be reformed at all.

Meanwhile, the Electoral Commission itself recommends that the famed £500 deposit to stand for election be abolished as a barrier to democracy.

Only 26% of Scots support the deposit system, compared to 56% who think voters themselves should decide who can stand for election through a signature model.

Relatedly, only 18% feel parties should be funded exclusively by private donations.

Public funding based on votes received is supported alongside caps on donations by 32% of voters, as the sole model of funding by 19%, and without caps on donations by 9%.

(Image: PA)

The cover of the Labour manifesto this year features one simple word: “Change”.

That’s almost guaranteed to be an accurate description of what this election will bring to Scotland’s Westminster delegation.

Yet if there’s one area change is both desperately necessary and popular, it’s the structures of the UK’s democracy itself.

The question is whether a party likely to benefit from these flaws can put democratic principle before partisan advantage and fix them. The likelihood of that I leave to readers to make up their own minds on.