The SNP could narrowly miss out on a majority at Holyrood due to voters choosing Alex Salmond’s Alba Party, new polling suggests.
The Savanta ComRes poll for The Scotsman predicts the SNP will return 64 MSPs, one short of a majority, while the Alba Party will return none, but with 3% of the list vote.
This is now the third poll to put Mr Salmond’s party on 3%, including our own polling by Survation which revealed last week that Alba was lagging behind the other major parties.
The latest survey released on Thursday predicts that the election on May 6 would return a pro-independence majority of 74 MSPs with 10 Scottish Green MSPs elected.
It also projects the SNP would return a constituency vote of 49% and a list vote of 40%.
This would lead to a return of 64 MSPs, with two fewer than in 2016 coming from the regional list.
The number of Alba voters questioned in the survey of 1,007 Scottish adults was “extremely small”, however about 6% of people who voted SNP in 2016 said they would vote for Alba in May.
The polling shows that 4% of those who plan to vote SNP next month said they will choose SNP for their constituency vote and Alba on the list.
Further analysis projects that if all Alba voters reverted to choosing First Minister Nicola Sturgeon’s party, the SNP would have a majority of three MSPs.
On Scottish independence, results were on a knife-edge with the poll showing 45% of voters saying they would vote Yes and the same proportion No, with the remainder undecided.
The poll, which was carried out between April 2 and 7, predicts the Scottish Conservatives will lose six seats, returning 25 MSPs.
Scottish Labour would come in third with 23 seats, down one from 2016 and the Scottish Liberal Democrats are predicted to gain one seat and return seven MSPs.
On popularity, the poll shows Mr Salmond returning a net ‘favourability’ rating of -51%, 23 points lower than Prime Minister Boris Johnson (-28%, up 2%), and more than 70 points behind Ms Sturgeon on +20%, up 3% compared to March.
Reacting to the latest poll, SNP depute leader Keith Brown, said it shows the election outcome on a “knife-edge”.
A separate poll by Ipsos Mori for STV predicted the SNP is forecast to win a majority of seats on May 6.
It found that more than half (53%) of the respondents who are registered to vote and are at least 9/10 likely to do so intend to chose an SNP candidate in their consituency next month.