It is the last Sunday before the election, a key date in any campaign, and it was clear from my sojourn from Stirling to Edinburgh who the momentum is with. It is written in the giant Salmond-fronted ‘together we can make Scotland better’ posters near the train station, the headlines of numerous newspapers backing the SNP at WH Smith, the free Scottish Sunday Express at the top of Waverley Station (paid for by the SNP) and the placards of every party except Labour all the way down Leith Walk.

I am just another Scot going about his day and Labour’s arguments to be the next Government haven’t pricked my consciousness with 5 days to polling. No wonder the polls are so heavily in the SNP’s favour.

Speaking of which, the main poll out today is as follows:

YouGov (SoS)
SNP – 42%/35%
Labour – 34%/33%
Con – 12%/12%
LD – 7%/6%
Green – -/7%

I have run these numbers through the model but, in order to build-in an arbitrary incumbency factor, I have decided to fix the following constituencies as Labour holds: East Kilbride, Dumbarton, Cumbernauld & Kilsyth and Airdrie & Shotts; and keep Orkney, North East Fife and Edinburgh Western as Lib Dem holds and keep Edinburgh Pentlands and Ayr as Tory holds.

This gives a seat breakdown as follows:

SNP – 34/19 = 53
Labour – 32/16 = 48
Conservative – 3/12 = 15
Greens -0/6 = 6
Lib Dems – 4/2 = 6
Margo – 1

(Note that I am keeping the flat assumption that the Socialists and George Galloway will not win any seats, which may not be accurate at all. Note also that it is the SNP who take the 7th regional seat in each of Central, Glasgow and the West so it’d be the Nats who lost out if you were to start adding on seats for the Socialists)

So, this is yet another poll where the balance of power is held strictly by the Conservatives, based on the twin assumption that:

(1) the SNP and Labour will not be able to find a way to work together
(2) the Greens, Lib Dems and Margo will involve too many stakeholders to function sufficiently well as a distinct group (a coalition of the frilly?)

That would leave devolved Scotland as business as usual to all intents and purposes – a minority SNP Government, the Conservatives providing support at budget time and the rest of the parties free to rant and rave as much as they please. A tripling of the Green vote would see Patrick Harvie get more airtime at FMQs and, if there’s any justice, a spot in the leader debates for 2016 (I’m ready to give up on the petition, regrettably!)

So, 5 days to go and not much change from a week ago. Iain Gray has failed to find the chink in the SNP armour, or rather Salmond’s armour, and a new strategy, the strategy that Labour should have started the campaign with, will not be forthcoming in the timescales available. That said, I find it fascinating that Labour are actually up from 2007 on both the constituency and regional vote. I am agog that such a negative campaign, a campaign that really has treated the public with contempt, has in a way been rewarded. Former Tory and Lib Dem voters are clearly rallying around the SNP to push them back into power and the tactical voting considerations that that brings should throw up some shocks in certain constituencies.

Seats with large blocks of Tory/Lib Dems votes that amounted to third place in 2007 include: Aberdeen Central, Carrick, Cumnock & Doon Valley, Clackmanannshire & Dunblane, Clydebank & Milngavie, Cowdenbeath, Cunninghame North, East Lothian (11,800 Tory/LD 3rd/4th votes out of 31,000 in total), Edinburgh Eastern, Edinburgh Northern & Leith, Paisley and Stirling. Tactical voting can work both ways of course but I wouldn’t be too surprised if there were some pro-SNP shocks in the above constituencies, going by what the polls are saying with Lib Dems and Tories breaking for Salmond.

The only outstanding from where I am sitting is the likelihood of an SNP/Green coalition that doesn’t need Lib Dem input. From an SNP perspective, the key question is whether it can win those seats that I fixed as holds and those mentioned above aswell as the real attention-grabbers of Glasgow Cathcart, East Lothian, Clydebank & Milngavie, Cunninghame South, Edinburgh Central, Edinburgh Northern & Leith and Renfrewshire North. The SNP really does need to be knocking on the door of 60 seats if an SNP/Green coalition could work and that is a tall order for a party that looked like it was making up the numbers just several weeks ago.

For the Greens, I would say the maximum it would dare dream of winning is 9 seats: 2 in Lothians and 1 elsewhere. To get to that stage, from the six above, the party would have to beat Labour to a seat in North East (currently 600 votes short), beat the SNP to a seat in the West (currently 200 votes short) and beat both the SNP and Labour to a seat in Central (currently 1,200 votes short). Not easy with the election being sold as a two-horse race.

However, the Greens are only 1,600 votes away from a second MSP in Glasgow so there are reasons for optimism.

All in all, as someone wishing the Greens and the SNP the best from the sidelines, I’m as happy as I could be with a five days and a couple of leader debates to go. Bring it on, as they say.