Winner in 2017: Chris Stephens (SNP)

THE YouGov projection model contained bad news as well as good news. In addition to estimating that the SNP are suddenly doing better where the Tories are their main opponents, it also reported that they are suddenly doing worse in a few seats where Labour are the main obstacle. That may not be a fair swap because Labour are potentially much more dangerous than the Tories if a real surge gets under way.

Thankfully the Labour recovery appears to be strictly confined to a small number of constituencies, but two of those are in the city of Glasgow. That raises the uncomfortable prospect of a repeat of what happened at the Glasgow count in 2017, when it gradually became apparent that several seats were unexpectedly on a knife-edge. The SNP must be starting to wonder what they have to do to finish Labour off in the city – it sometimes feels as if the impulse to default to a Labour vote at the last minute is almost encoded in people’s DNA.
Glasgow South West is not one of the seats projected to be tight – in fact YouGov says that the SNP are leading Labour there by 45% to 32%, which would transform the constituency from an ultra-marginal to a relatively safe SNP seat.

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But that in itself should perhaps trigger a touch of scepticism because the 2017 result in Glasgow South West was virtually identical to the result in Glasgow East, a constituency which YouGov are now saying is a virtual dead-heat between the SNP and Labour. Both seats witnessed an anti-SNP swing of around 12% and both were decided in the SNP’s favour by a margin of fewer than 100 votes. The two are also similar in that they recorded a relatively high vote share for Leave in the 2016 referendum compared to other parts of Glasgow. It’s not immediately clear, then, why Glasgow South West would be swinging decisively behind the SNP while Glasgow East remains a dogfight.
In conventional polling, Labour are consistently several points lower across Scotland than they were in the closing days of the 2017 campaign. Looked at from that perspective, there’s absolutely no reason why the SNP shouldn’t hold a seat like Glasgow South West with a substantially increased majority. But history suggests that when there’s any hint at all of the Labour vote rallying, nothing can be taken for granted in Glasgow and especially not in a seat that was decided by 60 votes last time. This race is worth keeping a close eye on.