You know that a blog post at just after midnight must contain something rather special to justify staying up to write but tonight’s YouGov poll not only confirms the results of the Ipsos-MORI poll from earlier in the week, it actually extends the SNP lead further:

SNP – 45%/39%
Labour – 32%/29%
Conservatives – 10%/12%
Greens – -/7%
Lib Dems – 8%/7%

In terms of seats, I make that (FPTP/list):

SNP – 52/10 (62)
Labour – 20/18 (38)
Conservatives – 0/14 (14)
Greens – 0/7 (7)
Lib Dems – 1/6 (7)
Margo – 1

So, the SNP within a whisker of an outright majority and the Greens now level pegging with the Lib Dems. How Patrick Harvie can continue to be excluded from the key leader debates is beyond me (if you agree, and haven’t signed the petition, please do so; you may find out very soon why we’re keen that you do).

Apparently this poll had a mighty one third of ‘don’t knows’ which is worthy of an eyebrow raise or two, or three if you have the means. I suspect there are a fair few Tories keeping their King of Cuts votes close to their chests and Annabel Goldie will enjoy a 2011 result near identical to the 2007 result, just before her party removes her as leader that is.

For the SNP, they only really need ~45% in both votes to win 65 MSPs; this is because parties like SCCUP/SSP/George Galloway take votes that don’t contribute to MSPs (assuming they don’t win any of course), leaving 100% of MSPs for the parties that won around 95% of the vote.

People may scoff at the idea of the SNP winning Orkney, North East, Edinburgh West and such places. Lib Dems have held Orkney since the 1950s after all. I would argue that during no part of that time have they been a part of a coalition with the Tories and there’s no guessing what is over the next wave when you are in unchartered territory.

So, if ‘Salmond for First Minister’ can drag that second vote up higher, we really could be entering an historic period for devolved Scotland and possibly even its final chapter. All that talk of ‘Scotland had a chance for voting independence, they’re call general elections’ would be awkwardly raised with Tavish, Iain and Annabel pretty darn quickly I wager, assuming Iain Gray is still an MSP of course.

Either way, with 8 pro-independence seats amongst the Greens and Margo, this poll on its own suggests that an independence referendum will happen in the next parliamentary term, and I would suspect that the SNP would use this newly found momentum and go early on that plebiscite, safe in the knowledge that they have four years to get over a loss before regrouping and facing the electorate again.

So a fascinating poll but, as Ideas of Civilisation laments, I do hope policy gets one last look-in amongst all of these polls before May 5th comes around. A week is clearly a long time in politics, are there policies to fill the next five long years? Have we really as an electorate explored all of our options for this coming half-decade? I don’t feel like the questions of tuition fees, tartan tax, council tax and fighting alcohol/health issues have really been explored, and time is running out.

And, one last thought to finish on. Assuming Labour does lose Iain Gray, Andy Kerr, Jackie Baillie, Pauline McNeill and many more well kent names in a couple of weeks’ time. Where does that leave the party, aside from fighting like ferrets in a small sack? Well, I would charitably suggest that if a political party doesn’t bring in fresh blood then the public will find a way to do it for you, and that is what looks likely to happen. So, I would welcome the unknown quantity that is the Labour group that looks set to enter the Scottish Parliament next month.

Out of interest, I make it that the 38 names are:

Richard Leonard
Elaine Smith
Helen Eadie
Elaine Murray
Kenneth MacIntosh
Paul Godzik
Bill Butler
Patricia Ferguson
Johann Lamont
Paul Martin
Frank McAveety
James Kelly
Duncan McNeill
Tom McCabe
John Pentland
Evan Williams
Stuart Clark
Hugh Henry
David Whitton
Michael McMahon

Siobhan McMahon (Central)
Mark Griffin (Central)
Margaret McCulloch (Central)
Hanzala Malik (Glasgow)
Rhoda Grant (H&I)
David Stewart (H&I)
Linda Stewart (H&I)
Sarah Boyack (Lothians)
Kezia Dugdale (Lothians)
Neil Findlay (Lothians)
John Park (MS&F)
Claire Baker (MS&F)
Richard Simpson (MS&F)
Richard Baker (North East)
Jenny Marra (North East)
Lewis MacDonald (North East)
Claudia Beamish (South)
Graeme Pearson (South)

Not sure where the next leader is from that group. Kezia Dugdale tweeted recently that she was “pleased to make the cut in Scotland Votes list of potential new msps”. I’m not entirely sure that she has worked out that it’s only through Labour getting trounced that that cut will have been made.

Which begs the question – if your name was on the above list would you be pulling your weight to win constituency votes for your party? Particularly if you knew that improvement in your party’s fortunes would decrease your chances of a £50k/year job for the next five years?