Every day until the election we will profile all 59 of Scotland’s contests. Can the SNP hold what they have or win any new seats? James Kelly of ScotGoesPop has the answers


Winner in 2017: Stewart Hosie (SNP)

Is there any constituency where the SNP can confidently look forward to a relaxing evening on December 12? Where they would be bound to win comfortably even if the wheels came off the national campaign completely? Look no further than Dundee East – the only mainland seat they managed to hold on to in the dark days of 1979 and 1983 when their national vote share stood at just 17% and 12% respectively.

Labour took the seat back by a narrow margin in 1987 and held it for 18 years, but the SNP continued to nip at their heels throughout that period (with the exception of the Blair landslide year of 1997). A significant boundary revision in 2005 helped Stewart Hosie, pictured, to finally reclaim the constituency for the SNP, at which point it was one of only six seats the party held throughout Scotland on just 18% of the national vote. The transformation in SNP fortunes since then has changed Dundee East’s status from being a competitive SNP-Labour marginal to being a rock-solid SNP stronghold.

In spite of a massive downturn in SNP support in the constituency in 2017, it currently ranks as the safest of the party’s 35 seats by any measure. The majority is 6645, which constitutes a percentage advantage over the second-placed party of more than 15%. And, remarkably, that runner-up is the Conservative Party, which managed to leapfrog Labour in the unlikeliest of locations courtesy of the Ruth Davidson surge. But there’s no real danger of the Tories using that as a springboard to seriously challenge the SNP this time around because the swing required for them to take the seat is 7.7%. To give a rough idea of what a tall order that is, the Tories would need to have a Scotland-wide lead over the SNP of around seven or eight percentage points before Dundee East would fall – if the swing is uniform across the country, that is. It won’t be uniform, but if the Tories are going to significantly outperform national trends anywhere, it’s highly unlikely to be in the Yes city of Dundee, which voted for Scotland to become an independent country by a margin of 57% to 43%.

And what of Labour? If they can somehow convince voters that 2017 was a blip and that they remain the SNP’s leading local rival, the swing they would require to win is well over 8% – which, assuming a uniform trend, means they would need to have a national lead over the SNP of around six or seven percentage points. That plainly isn’t at all likely to happen, even allowing for opinion poll error or the chance of another dramatic Corbyn advance. So if you’re going to bet your house (don’t!) on the SNP winning somewhere, Dundee East would undoubtedly be the place to choose.