There’s some pretty convincing statistical evidence in this study by Professor Phil Cowley at the British Election Study that Labour in Scotland will have to move quite a bit to the left if they want to win back SNP voters before next May’s general election.
Here’s Professor Phil Cowley’s key paragraph:
Labour voters in Scotland see themselves as left-wing and think they support a left-wing party and they see the SNP as noticeably to their right. SNP voters see the world differently: they see themselves as almost equally left-wing but they think they support a left-wing party, and see Labour as even further to their right.
According to the BES study, SNP voters rate themselves as 3.6 on the scale, their party as 3.8 and the Labour opposition as off to the right on 5.3:
That would suggest that if Labour in Scotland want to win back SNP voters, they will need to move to the left.
In fact, SNP voters on average see Scottish Labour as being slightly more to the right than the left so in theory they don’t regard it as a left wing party at all.
Interestingly, Scottish Labour voters see themselves in exactly the same position on the left-right scale as the Scottish Labour Party – but they perceive the SNP to be to the right of them:
Which would suggest that if the SNP wanted to win even more Labour voters than they already have, they should also shift themselves more to the left.
Mind you, SNP supporters could quite rightly argue that, with their party at almost 50% in the polls at the present, they don’t need to move anywhere.
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