The first snapshot of how Fifers may vote in the General Election has been revealed, and it doesnt make good reading for Labour in Kirkcaldy.
Lord Ashcroft’s weekly poll of various constituencies has found a big swing to the SNP - enough to claim the Kirkcaldy and Cowdenbeath seat of Gordon Brown MP.
While stressing his findings are a snapshot rather than a prediction, it signals a dramatic start to the countdown to May’s big vote.
Lord Ashcroft, former deputy chairman of the Tory Party, now polls weekly across the UK, and his findings have been seen as temperature check for all the parties.
His latest soundings take in the Kirkcaldy seat for the first time.
At the 2010 election, Mr Brown secured a huge 23,000 majority - one of the biggest in the UK - and the seat was viewed as solid Labour.
In the Labour seats, I found a bigger range of swings to the SNP than was the case in last month’s batch ... in Gordon Brown’s home constituency of Kirkcaldy & Cowdenbeath I found the biggest swing to the SNP of any Labour seat I have polled.Lord Ashcroft
But Lord Ashcroft’s poll suggests much has changed since then, and, with Mr Brown standing down, his massive personal vote could now be up for grabs.
The peer said that in Kirkcaldy and Cowdenbeath he ’’found the biggest swing to the SNP of any Labour seat I have polled.’’
That sentence alone will catch the interest of both Labour and the nationlists who are campaigning hard to take the seat on May 7.
Lord Aschroft’s team polled some 1000 people in the constituency between February 2 and 26.
Asked how they would vote if the General Election was held tomorrow, some 39% went for Labour and 45% to SNP - that’s a big swing from 2010. It shows the SNP up 31% and Labour down 25%; enough to wipe out its massive majority.
The pollsters also asked about campaign activity - and which parties had contacted them in recent weeks either with a leaflet drop, visit, a party newspaper, call, or knock at the door.
The SNP again scored well - 29% to Labour’s 14, suggesting the party has work to do on the doorsteps in the coming weeks.
The Lib Dems scored a woeful 3%, one lower than the Tories, while UKIP scraped in at just 2%.
Interestingly, when asked which party had contacted them, 61% percent replied ‘none.’
In terms of a preferred General Election outcome, 24% wanted a Labour government, and 36% opted for a Labour/SNP coalition. A Tory Government got just 9% support.