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SNP 'dominates voting intentions'

The SNP continues to dominate voting intentions in Scotland ahead of next May's general election, according to a new poll.

A Guardian/ICM online poll of 1,004 adults puts support for the Nationalists at 43%, up from 19.9% at the last Westminster election.

Support for Labour has fallen to 26%, compared with 42% in 2010, while backing for the Conservatives has also dropped from 16.7% to 13%.

The poll puts the Liberal Democrats on 6%, down from 1 8.9% at the last election, while support for the Greens has risen from 0.7% to 4%.

The findings echo those of recent research by Survation for the Daily Record, which found that 48% of voters would back the SNP with Labour trailing on 24%.

According to the ICM poll, 30% of people do not think that the Smith Commission, set up in the wake of the independence referendum to broker a package of new powers for Holyrood, went far enough in its recommendations, with 26% saying the agreement was about right.

More than half (53%) said Scotland should be able to set its own corporation tax rate, a power sought by the SNP but not recommended for devolution by the commission.

Respondents were also asked for their views on the UK nuclear deterrent at Faslane naval base, which the SNP opposes.

A total of 43% thought that Trident should be scrapped, while 37% wanted it maintained and 20% said they did not know.

Jenny Marra MSP, Scottish Labour's Shadow Health Secretary, said the recent election of new leader Jim Murphy heralded a "fresh start" for the party.

She said: "We will come back in the New Year with passion and energy, setting out our vision for making Scotland the fairest nation on earth.

"We want the wealthiest Scots to pay a little bit more in tax so we can improve our NHS and give the poorest kids being let down by the SNP government in Edinburgh a better start in life.

"The choice facing Scots next May is clear - we can send SNP MPs to the House of Commons to protest against the Tories, or we can send Scottish Labour MPs to replace the Tories.

"The only way to remove David Cameron from Downing Street and return a UK Labour Government is to vote Labour."

Angus Robertson MP, SNP general election campaign director, said: "This is another very encouraging poll for the SNP, on top of the Survation poll showing the party on a record high.

"While these polls are extremely welcome, we take absolutely nothing for granted - and the hard work begins in the New Year to ensure that Scotland's voice is heard at Westminster.

"This is the second poll in a week showing that Jim Murphy has experienced a 'reverse honeymoon' as Scottish Labour leader, with Labour trailing far behind the SNP. It will take more than a change of leader to turn around the fortunes of a party paying the price for a toxic alliance with the Tories.

"More and more people are putting their trust in the SNP to stand up for Scotland's interests, and ensure that Westminster delivers the powers needed to strengthen and grow the Scottish economy and create a fairer society."

Professor John Curtice, of the University of Strathclyde, said the poll suggests there is no reason to believe the swing to the SNP does not extend to what are supposedly the safest Labour seats in Scotland.

He said the estimates are based on relatively small sample sizes and must be treated with caution, but the swing appears to be even greater in the safest Labour seats in Scotland.

Writing on the What Scotland Thinks website he said: " In seats where Labour is defending a majority of more than 25 points the swing in the poll from Labour to the SNP since 2010 is 24 points, rather higher than the 19.5-point swing for Scotland as a whole.

"That means that, if anything, estimates of how many seats the SNP might win that are derived by assuming that the Scotland-wide movement uncovered by a poll would be replicated in each and every constituency in Scotland could actually underestimate the scale of SNP gains."

He said that based on this poll the SNP would secure 45 seats, Labour 10 , Liberal Democrats three and the Conservatives one.

However he said that taking into account the difference in the movement in different types of seats, the estimate becomes SNP 53, Labour three, and Liberal Democrat three, while the Conservatives would emerge empty-handed.

He wrote: " In short, pretty much every Labour seat in Scotland has to be regarded as currently at risk of being lost to the SNP."

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