The SNP is set to miss out on a majority in the Scottish parliament by a single seat, according to the last Holyrood election poll.
The Savanta ComRes survey puts Nicola Sturgeon’s party on 64 seats, one short of gaining control, after 49 per cent of Scots said they would back the SNP with their constituency vote.
Simon Cereda, senior consultant at Savanta ComRes, said the emergence of Mr Salmond’s rival pro-independence party “may prove costly” to Ms Sturgeon’s hopes of getting a majority.
“Despite Alex Salmond clocking some of the worst personal ratings in UK politics, his core loyalists may yet deprive Nicola Sturgeon of Holyrood control,” said Mr Cereda. “In addition, a strong showing from the Scottish Greens may also be a blow to the SNP’s ambitions.”
The latest survey shows a clear majority of pro-independence MSPs would make up the parliament, thanks to the Scottish Greens – predicted to win 10 seats.
Ms Sturgeon has said any kind of majority of pro-independence MSPs would be a mandate to start the process of organising a second referendum on Scottish independence.
The Savanta ComRes poll for The Scotsman also shows the Scottish Conservatives on course to lose six seats in the Edinburgh parliament.
It comes as Scottish Conservative leader Douglas Ross admitted he was “not sure” if Boris Johnson would travel north to help campaign for the party ahead of the 6 May poll.
Speaking on BBC Radio Scotland, he said: “I had previously expected him to come up. Clearly as we continue to tackle the Covid-19 pandemic this whole election is very different … we will have to see what happens.”
Meanwhile, Mr Salmond has come under fire from both the pro-union parties and the SNP over his recent comments on Russia.
The Alba leader was accused of “spinning” for the Kremlin after he refused to say whether Vladimir Putin’s regime was responsible for the Salisbury novichok poisonings of 2018.
The Lib Dem MP Alistair Carmichael said Mr Salmond had become “an apologist for the Putin regime”, while the Scottish Tory candidate Annie Wells said the remarks showed why he was “not fit to hold public office”.
Dismissing the claims, an Alba spokesperson told The Independent: “This is complete campaign rubbish from the Tories and Lib Dems, who are panicked that Alba is going after their seats on the regional list.”
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