A poll by former Tory peer Lord Ashcroft is forecasting victory for the SNP in North East Fife at the Liberal Democrats’ expense.
The survey showed 43 per cent of those who took part favoured SNP candidate Stephen Gethins to succeed retiring ex-Lib Dem leader Sir Menzies Campbell, who has held the seat for 28 years, on May 7.
Thirty per cent indicated a preference for Lib Dem candidate Tim Brett, with 16 per cent opting for Conservative hopeful Huw Bell.
Nine per cent opted for Labour’s Brian Thomson, with two per cent choosing “other parties”.
SNP activists welcomed the constituency findings, saying support for the party was continuing to grow across Scotland, including areas which voted ‘no’ in the independence referendum as well as those who said ‘yes’.
Mr Brett told the Mail: “We’ve seen the poll and we recognise the SNP is ahead but we are not disheartened. We have seen other polls which show quite a lot of variation.”
The Lib Dems were the only challengers to the SNP, said Mr Brett, and they were confident their campaign was working.
Mr Bell countered: “This poll confirmed the Lib Dems are haemorrhaging support with Sir Menzies Campbell’s retirement.
“A large proportion of Sir Menzies’ former voters remain undecided and will be the critical factor this year.The poll failed to account for the end of his incumbency and didn’t ask for voters’ preference of candidates by name. From knocking on thousands of these people’s doors, it is clear they want the best Unionist candidate and they know it is me.”