The Alba Party looks set to take just 3% of the regional vote, a new poll suggests, as respondents say leader Alex Salmond hinders the cause of Scottish independence.
A new study by Survation – the first since the launch of the Alba Party last week – for newspaper publisher DC Thomson has the newly-formed party struggling to make up ground on the other established parties, although its launch was just one week ago.
The SNP retains its runaway lead in the poll, which spoke to more than 1,000 people, with 49% in constituencies and 38% on the regional list.
The Scottish Tories appear locked in a tight battle with Labour for second place, with Douglas Ross’ party on 21% and 18%, compared to 20% and 19% for Labour.
The Lib Dems are at 9% in constituency votes and 8% in the regions, while the Scottish Greens sit on 11% regionally.
The poll also found that 52% of respondents believe Mr Salmond actually hinders the cause of independence while 17% said he helped to further the cause and 32% said they did not know.
Uncertainty on the independence question also continued in the Survation poll, which when undecided voters were removed put support at 50% for yes and 50% for no.
Support for separation enjoyed a solid lead throughout the latter part of 2020, peaking at 58% in October.
But figures began to slump in the early part of this year.
Nicola Sturgeon retained her convincing position as the most popular leader in Scotland, with 50% of people having a favourable view of her, compared to just 17% for Tory leader Douglas Ross and 10% for Mr Salmond – for whom 71% of respondents said they had a negative view.
SNP depute leader Keith Brown said: “To ensure Nicola Sturgeon is the First Minister to lead us out of the pandemic the people of Scotland need to give both votes to the SNP on May 6.
“These are serious times which need serious leadership and Nicola Sturgeon is the only credible candidate for First Minister.
“Just as she has led the nation through the past 12 months of crisis, she will lead us through recovery to build a happier, fairer, better Scotland, and keep our NHS safe.”
Despite the low figures, Scottish Tory leader Douglas Ross said there is still time for the former first minister and his party to make up ground.
Speaking to journalists on Friday, Mr Ross said: “I would never underestimate the threat from the nationalists and Alex Salmond still has three weeks to garner enough support to elect more nationalist MSPs who will see our Parliament 100% focused on another referendum rather than our recovery.
“I am not treating this first opinion poll as anything of a signal that we can negate the threat posed by his new party and what he would seek to do should he be elected to Holyrood.”
Scottish Greens co-leader Lorna Slater said her party were on course for a record number of MSPs and would “play a crucial role in securing a pro-independence majority in May”.
She added: “I’m also proud that if this poll turns into votes we will have eight women and three men as our Scottish Green MSPs.
“We’re asking people to vote like our future depends on it and it’s clear that our plans for a green recovery and to tackle the climate emergency are connecting with voters.”