Although I had no idea what to expect from the independence numbers of the new ScotGoesPop and Panelbase poll when I commissioned it, one prediction I did confidently make is that the Conservatives would suffer a significant decline in their Westminster vote share.
The Tory vote has plummeted in UK-wide polls lately, to a large extent due to the fallout from the Cummings scandal, and I could see no reason why the same trend wouldn’t be seen in Scotland.
But what I didn’t anticipate is that the gap between the SNP and the Tories would be large enough that the Electoral Calculus projection model would show the Scottish Tories losing every single one of their six Westminster seats to the SNP. Douglas Ross, Alister Jack, even David Mundell … all gone.
The Davidson era of Conservative success appears to have well and truly come to an end, but it’s important to stress this doesn’t mean that the Scottish Tories have suddenly become a fringe party overnight.
They still have 21% of the vote, which is higher than they secured in all five General Elections held between the 1997 and 2015.
READ MORE: SNP set for huge Holyrood election win and mandate for indyref2
However, the vagaries of the first-past-the post voting system (which the Tories strongly support) mean that if one party is dominant enough, and if its vote is spread evenly enough, it’s extremely difficult for any other party to get a look-in as far as seats are concerned.
It’s not just the Tories who would be wiped out on these numbers – the LibDems would also lose all four of their Scottish seats, including even Orkney & Shetland, which they and their predecessor party have held since Jo Grimond took it in 1950.
Leaving aside uniform swings and projection models, it’s perhaps unlikely in the real world that total wipeouts would occur.
It must be remembered that even at the SNP’s high-water mark of 2015, they narrowly failed to gain Orkney & Shetland, and David Mundell managed to narrowly cling on for the Tories in Dumfriesshire, Clydesdale & Tweeddale.
I wouldn’t even be surprised if the LibDems managed to hold onto more than one seat, given the extent to which they benefit from Unionist tactical voting these days. But it’s clear that if a General Election was held right now, the SNP would probably secure a haul of seats in excess of what they achieved six months ago.
READ MORE: Jackson Carlaw’s reputation ‘completely trashed’ by Cummings scandal
This can be partly explained by the “rally round the flag” effect that governing parties all across the world are currently benefitting from due to the pandemic.
However, in Scotland only the governing party at Holyrood is prospering as a result of that phenomenon, while the governing party at Westminster is seeing its support tank. That’s a savage indictment of Boris Johnson’s mishandling of the crisis.
The one crumb of comfort for the Tories is that their slump doesn’t have anything like as big an impact in terms of seats at the Scottish Parliament – the projection from this poll suggests they would retain 25 seats and would still be comfortably the largest opposition party. Proportional representation, which they’re often so scathing about, would cushion their fall. However, they’d be six seats down on last time, which is a far cry from their confident boasts in the not-too-distant past that Ms Davidson was on the cusp of becoming first minister.
The news isn’t great for Labour either. The Starmer surge seen in England recently has only been partly replicated in Scotland, and it still leaves Labour with less support than they had when they first slipped into third place under Jeremy Corbyn and Kezia Dugdale.