The first major Holyrood poll of 2011 has provided the perfect opportunity for me to try out my new ‘election predictor’ file. The theory is simple – apply the change from the 2007 results for constituencies and regions to the constituency and regions poll data. So, for example, if the Conservatives received 20,000 Glasgow votes in 2007 and their share of the vote has dropped from 20% to 10% then they will now be awarded 10,000 votes in the 2011 d’Hondt formula. It is an approach devoid of human judgement and it yields the below expectation for May 5th for the following vote

Poll result
Labour – 49%/47%
SNP – 33%/33%
Conservatives – 9%/9%
Lib Dems – 7%/7%
Green – -/3%

Seats (party – FPTP/regional/total)
Labour 55/13/68
SNP 15/30/45
Lib Dems 2/6/8
Conservative 1/6/7
Greens 0/0/0

The tightest constituency would be Orkney which the Lib Dems would hold (over Labour) by only 48 votes and the tightest seat between SNP and Labour would be Dundee East which this polls suggests Labour will win by 173 votes.

The clear overall result is that Labour is on track to romp home with a remarkable majority of 3 MSPs. A clean sweep of FPTP seats in Central, Glasgow, Lothians and the West is the engine behind this streaking ahead of the field, a result that would see a return to the old status quo of Labour hegemony north of the border. Interestingly, the SNP would see an increase in MSPs, gain 2 FPTP Aberdeen seats (from the Lib Dems) and would make large gains in the regional seats. Both Labour and the SNP win a higher proportion of seats than their percentage vote share. (53% to 47% and 35% to 33% respectively)

However, even with the Lib Dems and Conservatives in apparent freefall, the SNP can only make minimal benefit with Labour taking the lion’s share of the moves in votes. So much so that Labour is now on course to win two regional MSPs in Glasgow.

While a Labour List MSP in Glasgow has seemed unlikely in previous elections, it does make sense if > 56% of Glaswegians vote for Iain Gray’s party. There are 9 FPTP seats and 7 regional spots so perhaps it is not worth advising Labour voters to vote tactically with their second vote after all.

The Greens cut something of a forlorn figure on zero MSPs but hopefully, in the absence of an election campaign, these numbers will increase as the poll date draws closer. Nonetheless, it must be concerning for Patrick Harvie’s party that there is no evidence in the above figures that a Lib Dem decline will equate to a Green surge, despite the Green party holding firm to many of the former cornerstones of Lib Dem philosophy. We saw in the Oldham by-election that the Greens couldn’t even overcome UKIP and the BNP despite there being a Lib Dem freefall (masked by Tory tactical voting) so it appears the Greens do not have their challenges to seek. Patrick himself misses out by 2,500 votes going by the above numbers.

In many ways, these results show that the election is in Iain Gray’s hands. If the leader of the Labour group can ‘seal the deal‘ with Scotland between now and May then a majority in the Parliament is within his grasp. If Gray does not make the grade, then that 68 MSP total will start to drop and it is anyone’s guess which of the SNP, Lib Dems, Conservatives and Greens is most likely to benefit.

There’s a long way to go of course but it’s a one-horse race and a one-party Parliament as things stand now…