THE first Holyrood election poll to include Alex Salmond’s Alba party is bad news for both the former First Minister and the Union, according to leading polling expert Sir John Curtice.

Polling from Survation for DC Thomson, the publishers who own the Press and Journal and the Courier, found Salmond is the least well-liked leader of a major party in the UK, behind even Boris Johnson.

It also found that his Alba party, which is aiming to create a pro-independence “supermajority” by attracting SNP constituency voters to support it on the regional lists, will not attract enough votes to return any MSPs to Holyrood.

The Courier also reports that more than half of those polled said Salmond was “hindering the cause for Scottish independence”, while 17% said he was helping the Yes movement.

However, Alba said the poll shows how fast the party has grown in just three days and the figures prove that they are "within touching distance of representation across Scotland".

Pollster Mark McGeoghegan told The National that while Alba were "not dead on arrival", they faced an uphill battle to rapidly improve public perceptions ahead of the election on May 6. 

READ MORE: Scotland's economy can thrive after independence, Downing Street adviser admits

Curtice said the poll results suggest “it’s all over for Salmond”, but added that he “might just get a seat in the north-east himself”.

He also said that Alba would struggle to be allowed onto televised debates as the polling does not indicate they are a major party. 

However, for Salmond to return to Holyrood as an MSP his new party would need to do better than the results of this survey of 1021 voting Scots suggest.

Its figures translate to a slim majority for the SNP, made dominant through a potential coalition with the Greens, and no seats going to anyone outside the five main parties.

The figures predict the SNP will return 66 MSPs, Labour will become the largest party of opposition on 24, the Tories will slip down to 21 MSPs, the Greens will return 11, and the LibDems seven.

Conducted from March 29-30, the poll found that just 3% of Scots said they would support Alba on the list. This is compared to 8% for the LibDems, 11% for the Greens, 18% for the Tories, 19% for Labour, and 37% for the SNP.

READ MORE: Anas Sarwar says Alex Salmond's Alba Party should not be included in TV debates

In terms of the personal popularity of the party leaders, Nicola Sturgeon is by far the most well-liked politician in Scotland. Salmond, by contrast, came bottom of the poll with a net rating of -61.

While 35% of Scots have a negative view of Sturgeon, 71% hold a negative view of Salmond. 50% of adults asked had a favourable view of the First Minister, compared to just 10% who look favourably on her predecessor.

A total of 18% of Scots reported a favourable view of Douglas Ross, 24% a favourable view of Boris Johnson, and 39% had a positive view of Ruth Davidson.

Ross is looked upon unfavourably by 33% of Scots, Johnson by 56%, and Davidson by 42%.

Anas Sarwar is the second most favourably looked upon Scottish political leader, with 23% of adults responding positively in the poll. 22% of respondents said they looked unfavourably on the new Scottish Labour leader.

With a net rating of +1, Sarwar is the only politician other than Sturgeon (+15) to have a net positive favourability score.

READ MORE: UK-wide poll suggests 'significant' rise in SNP support ahead of May elections

Name recognition would look to be a problem for the Unionist opposition, with more than 1 in ten Scots never having heard of either Sarwar, Ross, or LibDem leader Willie Rennie.

Professor Curtice said that other bad news for Unionists was that attempts to “nail Sturgeon over the parliamentary inquiry [into the handling of harassment complaints have] failed”.

He added: “Point one to note is that the immediate fallout from the Hamilton inquiry, the parliamentary inquiry and Salmond’s intervention is basically zero, because support for independence is at 50/50, which is what it’s been at for a while.”

A spokesperson for Salmond's party said the poll showed Alba is "Scotland’s fastest growing party".

They said: “After only three days since the launch of Scotland’s fastest growing party Alba’s scores are on the board. 

“These early indications put Alba within touching distance of representation across Scotland.

“With five weeks still to go Alba’s support can only grow as we approach Polling Day.

“It is worth noting that Alba has already achieved, in three days, approaching half the level of support of the Liberal Democrats, a party which has existed for over a century.”

Responding to the results, Sturgeon said there would be "no complacency" from her party, despite the predicted majority.

She tweeted: "Strong polling but there is no complacency from @theSNP. For experienced leadership to get us through Covid, bold policies to drive recovery and Scotland’s future in Scotland’s hands, #BothVotesSNP is essential."

Pollster Mark McGeoghegan said: "Overall, the first poll post-Alba Party launch makes good reading for the Yes movement, with a 77 seat SNP-Green majority. Alba supporters will be less enthused.

"While 3% nationally isn't a complete disaster, it is well below where Alba need to be to win any meaningful number of seats. On these numbers, they might scrape a seat for Alex Salmond in the north east, but he would cut a lonely figure in the Holyrood chamber.

"Alba will hope that their numbers reflect their relative newness on the political scene, and that they will improve as the party is exposed to voters. But many insurgent parties have hoped the same in the past, and the overwhelming majority have failed to do so.

"Alba face an uphill struggle and, while not dead on arrival, must improve voter perceptions rapidly to stand a chance of having a meaningful impact."