Sturgeon’s independence dream in tatters: Poll predicts Salmond will deny SNP majority

Salmond would be 'more radical than Sturgeon' says expert

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With Scotland’s First Minister on record as saying her party needs to take more than 50 percent of the Scottish Parliament’s 129 seats, failure to do so will undoubtedly deliver a hammer blow to her independence dream. The survey, carried about by Savanta ComRes for The Scotsman, puts the SNP on 64 seats – one short of the 65 which would hand her an overall majority in the assembly.

Former SNP leader Mr Salmond’s party, launched last month, is not tipped to take any on May 6 – but the three percent share of the vote it is predicted to pick up is likely to deny the SNP.

Nevertheless, with the Greens taking 10 MSPs, 74 seats would go to pro-independence candidates.

Voters in Scottish Parliamentary elections cast two ballots, one for one of 73 constituency MSPs, and the second for a party in eight regional constituencies.

Each of these elects seven members, meaning each eligible Scottish voter is represented by eight MSPs – one from the constituency, seven from the regional list – after the election.

The poll also indicates Douglas Ross’s Scottish Conservatives will lose six seats under the leadership of Douglas Ross with a constituency vote of 23 per cent (no change) and a list vote of 21 per cent (down three per cent), consequently picking up 25 MSPs.

Mr Sarwar’s Scottish Labour will pick up 18 percent in the constituency vote (down two), and the same percentage in the regional list vote, delivering 23 MSPs.

The Scottish Greens are likely to take nine percent in the regional list vote, a result which would see them take a record 10 MSPs.

The Scottish Liberal Democrats will win seven seats with six per cent of the constituency vote (down two per cent) and seven per cent of the list vote (up one per cent), the poll suggests.

Simon Cereda, a senior consultant at Savanta ComRes suggested the emergence of the Alba “may prove costly” to the SNP.

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He said: “The latest data from Savanta ComRes for The Scotsman shows how tight it will be for the SNP to achieve their hoped for majority in May.

“Votes lost to Alex Salmond’s Alba Party, even the small numbers we are picking up, may prove costly.”

Mr Cereda warned: “Despite Alex Salmond clocking some of the worst personal ratings in UK politics, his core loyalists may yet deprive Nicola Sturgeon of Holyrood control.

“In addition, a strong showing from the Scottish Greens may also be a blow to the SNP’s ambitions.

“Elsewhere, despite Anas Sarwar’s leadership making a positive start, Scottish Labour look unlikely at present to translate that into electoral gains.

“Positive personal approval ratings will mean nothing to Anas Sarwar unless he can stop his party ceding ground in Holyrood.”

Mrs Sturgeon has been accused of offering a series of election bribes in advance of next’s month’s vote, having pledged a laptop or tablet to every Scottish school pupil, as well as promising to spend £60million on repairs to children’s play areas.

Additionally, she will today announce plans to provide free school breakfasts and lunches to every primary school pupil in the country.

Speaking to last week, Michelle Ballantyne, the former Tory MSP who is now leader of Reform UK Scotland, said: “Announcing freebies to entice voters when you have been the Government for 14 years smacks of seedy desperation.

“Ms Sturgeon can’t make up for the way she has failed our children by bribing them with laptops and play parks.

“Ms Sturgeon has delivered declining standards of education, rising mental health problems, devastating drug and alcohol deaths and a divided Scotland that she intends if given power again to tear apart to regardless of the impact on those who are most vulnerable.

“Her manifesto giveaways using unexplained budgets are just another example of her disdain for the intelligence of the voter.”

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