Scottish election comes 'down to the wire'

Results of Scottish election 'too close to call'
Results of Scottish election 'too close to call'

The Scottish election has become too close to follow, as politicians embark on the final day of campaigning.

Two opinion polls show Labour have narrowed their lag behind the Scottish Nationalist Party, although Alex Salmond's nationalist party are still tipped to emerge with the largest share of the vote on Friday.

Labour have downplayed the SNP's persistent poll lead, insisting voters would return to Labour on election day and the latest opinion polls suggest this could be the case.

The final Scotsman/ICM poll shows the campaign as too close to call, with the SNP's advantage narrowed to just two percentage points.

In the regional seats, the SNP are polling 34 per cent of the vote but Labour have gained five to reach 32 per cent. Similarly, in the regional poll Labour have climbed to 29 per cent while the SNP slipped to 30 per cent.

The Tories and Lib Dems are static on 13 and 16 per cent respectively.

Translated into votes, the poll would leave just one seat between the two dominant parties in Holyrood. The SNP would take 43 seats, Labour 42, the Lib Dems 23, Conservatives 11, Greens one and others three.

Liberal Democrat leader Nicol Stephens increasingly emerges as crucial in shaping the next Scottish executive. He has previously indicated the party with the largest majority has the "moral authority" to seek to form a government, but with a one seat majority, could be moved to continue the Lib-Lab coalition.

A Times/Populus poll confirms Labour is narrowing the SNP's lead but still tips Mr Salmond as the next first minister.

The SNP are on 33 in the constituency vote with Labour on 29. Translated into seats, the SNP would have a majority of two, taking 45 seats to Labour's 43.

Labour leader Jack McConnell agreed the vote is becoming too close to call. "It is now clear this election will go right to the wire and every single vote will count," he said.

In a last ditch attempt to retain power, Mr McConnell urged Scots to "come home to Labour". The Labour party estimates 20 per cent of likely voters have still not decided how to vote tomorrow and are targeting floating voters for last minute gains.

The SNP's campaign director Angus Robertson admitted the nationalists could no longer take an election victory for granted, but insisted the party was optimistic going into the polls.

"The SNP has maintained a clear lead throughout this campaign, and so we are delighted that for the first time ever the SNP have gone into election day ahead in the polls," he said.

"These polls show that we remain on course to become the largest party at Holyrood. The country needs new leadership and fresh thinking in government and only the SNP is in a position to replace Labour," Mr Robertson added.

Mr Salmond has spent the day targeting marginal seats in a helicopter while Mr McConnell has been meeting campaigners in Glasgow. Conservative leader Annabel Goldie is in Edinburgh and Mr Stephen is in Dunfermline, recalling the Lib Dem's Westminster by-election win last year. The smaller parties have also been targeting voters for the regional poll.


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