A TORY MSP has been called out by an expert after claiming that they may beat the SNP at the next General Election in Scotland, pointing to small sub-sample of a poll.

The survey by Focaldata and carried out for the pro-EU group Best for Britain surveyed 724 people north of the Border, only 610 of whom expressed an intention to vote, between November 22 and 29, 2023.

The results were described as “major” by some newspapers when first reported, on Hogmanay.

The subsample suggested Scottish Labour was polling at 37%, double its share of the vote at the 2019 General Election, and significantly ahead of the SNP, which was on 31%.

The Times reported that those results would see Labour take a clear majority of Scotland’s seats – 35 out of 59 – while the SNP would return 15 MPs.

READ MORE: HMRC doesn't know how many Scotland Office staff work in Edinburgh hub

Tory MSP Murdo Fraser cited the poll on Twitter/X and suggested the SNP could end up third in seats at the General Election, insinuating his party could take another six off them with “modest swings”.

But polling expert Mark McGeoghegan called him out online, suggesting the poll cannot be relied upon.

Fraser said: “Latest polling saying the SNP could fall to just 15 seats in the General Election.

“There’s another six seats they hold that with modest swings could be taken by @ScotTories, with the right effort and some tactical voting.

“SNP could well end up third in seats after [a General Election]."

But McGeoghegan shot down Fraser, saying no poll shows the Tories coming close to the SNP in the election expected this year.

Sharing Fraser’s comments, the polling expert posted: “It's too early in the year to start arguing about unweighted subsamples, even if they're part of a 'mega-poll' (terminology which should be taken outside and shot).

“But neither this poll nor any other suggests the Tories coming anywhere near overtaking the SNP."

READ MORE: Reform UK to stand candidates in each Scottish General Election seat

He added: "It would have to be unprecedentedly extreme based on current polling, and isn't indicated in any research conducted to date.

"There's also the subsample and, more importantly, the fact it isn't weighted to a Scottish population profile."

Writing for The National, pollster James Kelly said reporting on the poll was “highly misleading” in suggesting Labour have pulled ahead of the SNP recently.

He noted that it was carried out in late November and actually coincided with an Ipsos poll that put the SNP ahead of Labour by 10 percentage points.