THE SNP is set to win the General Election in Scotland, giving Nicola Sturgeon the “triple lock” mandate she wants to reinforce her case for an independence referendum before the UK has left the EU, the latest opinion poll has suggested.

The same survey brought bad news for the Tories following a disastrous couple of weeks on the campaign trail. Research suggests they are running neck-and-neck with Labour in Scotland.

The latest Ipsos Mori findings for STV put the SNP out in front with backing from 43 per cent of Scots certain to vote – down from its 2015 result of 50 per cent – while Scottish Labour and the Scottish Conser- vatives are tied on 25 per cent each.

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With just one Westminster seat each in Scotland, both parties are targeting gains from the SNP, which secured 56 of the 59 constituencies north of the Border in the last General Election.

The poll is a boost for Labour, with previous surveys suggesting its vote share could drop from the 24.3 per cent it secured in Scotland in 2015 to as low as 13 per cent.

It was published as a series of UK-wide polling indicated Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn was closing the gap on Prime Minister Theresa May ahead of next week’s ballot and after the First Minister published the SNP manifesto on Tuesday, saying if the party win at least 30 of Scotland’s 59 seats, they will “complete a triple lock further reinforcing the democratic mandate” to hold a referendum.

While the Tories’ Scottish vote share is up on its 2015 result of 14 per cent, it is down on recent polls which put support for the party as high as 33 per cent. The LibDems were backed by five per cent of those certain to vote, with two per cent going to other candidates.

Ipsos Mori questioned 1016 people between May 22 and 27. That was after the Tories published their man- ifesto which put forward plans to scrap winter fuel payments for all pensioners south of the Border, were forced to defend unpopular social care plans for England, and ended protections on the value of the state pension across the UK.

Approval ratings for the party leaders indicate May is more unpop- ular in Scotland than Corbyn, with the former scoring a satisfaction rating of -27 and the latter -13.

Voters were split on which of the leaders would make the “most capable prime minister”, with 42 per cent backing May and 40 per cent opting for Corbyn.

Among the Scottish leaders, the First Minister’s satisfaction rating was -4, with 46 per cent stating they are satisfied with the way she is doing her job and 50 per cent saying they are dissatisfied.

Scottish Conservative leader Ruth Davidson received a higher satisfaction rating of 5, while Labour’s Kezia Dugdale recorded a rating of -2. Patrick Harvie, the Scottish Greens co-convener, had the highest approval rating at +12.

The survey also showed support for Scottish independence – if a vote was held tomorrow – stands at 45 per cent among those certain to vote in a referendum.

A majority – 51 per cent – said they would vote No, with three per cent undecided and one per cent refusing to say.

Meanwhile, a UK-wide poll indic-ated the Tories could be in line to lose 20 seats and Labour gain nearly 30.

A report yesterday said YouGov’s first constituency-by-constituency estimate of the election result predicts May’s party would fall short of an overall majority by 16 seats, leading to a hung parliament.

The central projection of the model, which allows for a wide margin of error, would be a catastrophic outcome for the Prime Minister, who called the election when polls pointed to a landslide victory for the Tories.

However, the poll was dismissed, with some journalists suggesting such a forecast would prompt alarm among Tory voters, leading to a big turn among them next Thursday. “If this gets the Tory vote out, it will serve May well,” tweeted David Cameron biographer Isabel Oakeshott.

Former Labour cabinet minister Douglas Alexander, who was ousted as MP for Paisley and Renfrewshire South by the SNP’s Mhairi Black in 2015, urged caution. He said the polls two years ago suggested a Labour minority government which, he said, diverted journalists away from examining the Tory manifesto, in particular its pledge for a EU referendum.

“Polls are the compass by which journalists and party strategists navigate the news agenda during the short campaign,” Alexander tweeted.

“Today’s headlines scream about the possibility of another hung parliament. My best advice is to treat them with extreme caution.”