Two established election forecasting services are predicting that the Scottish National Party could win as many as 50 seats at the general election, making them the third biggest party in Westminster.
With significantly more seats than the Lib Dems, UKIP or the Green Party this would put them in a position of significant power should there be a hung parliament. Major opinion polls don’t show this as they are based on UK-wide percentages and don’t allow for support for parties being concentrated in certain areas as is the case with the SNP. The “first past the post” system normally disadvantages smaller parties as they get a lower proportion of MPs than their share of the vote, but this demonstrates that it can also work the other way round as the predicted outcome would give the SNP nearly 8% of MPs with just under 4% of the vote.
The level of support for the SNP has increased significantly since the Scottish independence referendum, with many turning away from the Labour party who backed the “Better Together” campaign against independence.