SNP support 'double Labour backing'
Support for the SNP is running at twice that of Labour ahead of next May's general election, a poll has suggested.
Research by Survation for the Daily Record found 48% of voters would back the SNP - the highest level of support the polling firm has found for the nationalists in a Westminster election - with Labour trailing on 24%.
The poll of 1,001 people across Scotland was the first since Jim Murphy was elected as Labour's leader north of the border.
Support for the Conservatives was at 16%, 5% backed the Lib Dems, 4% would vote for Ukip and 1% for the Greens.
Survation found that for 14% of those questioned, Mr Murphy's leadership made them more likely to vote Labour, while 18% said they were less likely to do so and 57% said it made no difference.
The SNP also continues to dominate Holyrood voting intentions, with the party's Scottish Parliament constituency vote rising to 51%, more than double Labour's 25%.
Polling expert Professor John Curtice said the research suggested "a ny hopes that Labour might have that the election of Mr Murphy as its Scottish leader would prove to be a magic bullet are dispelled".
Prof Curtice said support for Labour in voting intentions for the Westminster election is "exactly the same" as a month ago, while the SNP is "actually a couple of points up on last month".
Writing on the What Scotland Thinks website, he said: "If the swing since 2010 implied by these figures were to be replicated everywhere, the SNP would sweep the board with 54 of Scotland's 59 seats, while Labour would have just four."
First Minister and SNP leader Nicola Sturgeon said: " This is a great early Christmas present for the SNP - our best ever Survation poll rating for a UK general election, as well as being over 50% for the Scottish Parliament constituency vote for the first time.
" I warmly welcome this poll, but we take absolutely nothing for granted - and the hard work begins in the new year to ensure that we achieve a strong group of SNP MPs to give Scotland the strongest possible voice at Westminster.
"That way, we can use our influence to bring an end to austerity economics, make Scotland free of Trident nuclear weapons and get the powers Scotland needs to build a fairer society and more prosperous economy."
SNP general election campaign director Angus Robertson MP said: " The poll shows that Jim Murphy has had a 'reverse honeymoon' as leader of Labour in Scotland - with the SNP stretching our lead even further since he took up the post. On these figures, Labour would even lose Mr Murphy's seat."
But Mr Murphy insisted his party is changing, saying: " We are one week into a new leadership team and really determined to change.
"We are rewriting the party's constitution so that decisions about Scotland are made here in Scotland. The days of the Scottish Labour leader having to ask the party in London about things are gone and gone for good.
" I want Scotland to not only be the fairest part of the UK but the fairest country in the world. That's why we will increase the taxes of the richest Scots to pay for our NHS and schools."
Mr Murphy continued: " During the referendum Scotland was divided between Yes or No. But in the general election most Scots will be united in wanting to get David Cameron out of Downing Street.
"The choice Scots will face next year is between sending SNP MPs to the House of Commons to protest against the Tories, or Scottish Labour MPs who will remove the Tories. Voting SNP or Green in 2015 could accidentally keep the Tories in power."