Labour’s Scottish collapse worsens after Jim Murphy loses debate

Labour's collapse in Scotland has significantly worsened following Jim Murphy's poor performance in the first leaders' debate, a new poll has found.

The YouGov poll for the Times found Labour have slumped four points from last week to 25% with the SNP rising three points to 49%, their highest ever level with the pollster.

Those who watched the leaders' debate on Tuesday judged Murphy to have come a poor third place behind Nicola Sturgeon and Conservative leader Ruth Davidson.

Fifty-six per cent thought Sturgeon had won, compared to 14% for Davidson and 13% for Murphy. Just one per cent of respondents thought the Lib Dem's Willie Rennie had won the debate.

Even Labour voters had a lukewarm response to Murphy. Just 44% thought he had won the debate, compared to 88% of SNP voters who thought Sturgeon had performed best.

If today's poll was repeated at the election, Labour would face losing all but four seats in Scotland.

The findings come as a huge disappointment to Labour, who had hoped Murphy would make inroads into SNP support during the first debate.

They are particularly deflating as they follow a series of national polls yesterday which showed Labour edging ahead of the Conservatives in the rest of the UK.

Three polls showed Labour with a lead of between three and six points, with one poll for Survation showing that Ed Miliband's approval ratings had edged ahead of Cameron for the first time.

Despite this, poll averages remain relatively stable across the UK, meaning that Labour's performance in Scotland is set to be the decisive factor in which party emerges with the largest number of seats on May 8th.

Miliband will today make his first campaign visit north of the border in an attempt to shore up what remains of Labour's support.