THERE was a lot of chatter on the BBC election show suggesting the first batch of results weren’t in line with the opinion polls, and that the SNP appeared to be underperforming against expectations. I’m not sure that’s really true. The final polls had the SNP anywhere between 42% and 52% on the constituency ballot, with a median result of 49%.

It looks like the actual figure may end up being a little above the 46.5% achieved five years ago, which will certainly put it in the same ball park as the polls.

Indeed, pretty much everything about the result so far looks uncannily similar to 2016, which could mean that Labour will once again slightly outpoll the Tories on the constituency vote.

That would be a minor surprise rather than a major shock – in fact two of the final seven polls had Labour in outright second place in the constituencies, a third had them level with the Tories, and the other four didn’t have them too far behind. Any little triumph for Labour is likely to be fairly hollow anyway, because actual seat gains seem to be eluding them, and all the mood music points to them ending up in overall third place after the list seats are allocated.

The big relief for both the SNP and the broader independence movement is that the outlier Savanta ComRes poll, which suggested the SNP would suffer significant losses and that even the pro-independence majority might be a little shaky, has proved wrong.

However, doubts must have been creeping in after the first mainland result – Aberdeen Donside showed a big swing from SNP to the Tories, hinting at a nightmare outcome reminiscent of the 2017 Westminster General Election. But subsequent pro-Tory swings of any significance have been fairly localised, and in many cases are clearly related to Brexit. Despite the BBC’s breathless excitement, the enormous swing in the nominally safe SNP seat of Banffshire and Buchan Coast was utterly predictable given that it’s an area with an unusually strong Leave vote and the Tories have won the equivalent Westminster seat in the last two General Elections.

What really mattered was who came out on top in the constituency – and that, perhaps surprisingly, was the SNP.

In other Tory-SNP battleground areas that are less sympathetic towards Brexit, the SNP have seen small swings in their favour – for example in John Swinney’s seat of Perthshire North, and most spectacularly in Ayr, which the Tories have lost after more than two decades.

However, the irony will not have been lost on SNP activists that the two constituency breakthroughs they made over the course of the afternoon were both in the South Scotland region, which just happens to be the region in which extra constituency seats will do them the least good.

The likelihood is that every constituency seat they gain in South Scotland will simply be cancelled out by one fewer seat on the list. To inch closer to an overall majority, what they really need to do is gain constituency seats in the regions where they didn’t win any list seats in 2016.

The first indication of numbers on the list from Aberdeen Donside put the Alba Party on 2%, which again is in line with the 2-6% range suggested by the opinion polls, albeit at the lower end of it.

The figure will doubtless vary from location to location, meaning that Alba could still potentially pick up a list seat here or there – but the concern is that Donside is in the north-east region, which was assumed to be the party’s best shot at a seat due to Alex Salmond being the lead candidate.