A THIRD poll in two days has predicted a sizeable pro-independence majority will be returned in the upcoming Holyrood election.

Today's Opinium research, which follows separate polling from Savanta ComRes and Ipsos MORI, found that Nicola Sturgeon’s party would win 53% of the constituency vote and 44% on the regional list.

This, the firm estimates, would lead to the SNP having a majority of around 13.

The SNP constituency results are a rise of seven points on Opinium’s last poll, while the Tories and Labour have both taken a hit.

Douglas Ross’s party is estimated to win 21% (down three points) of the vote share, with Anas Sarwar’s Labour winning 18% (down two).

In the regional vote, the SNP are predicted to win 44% (+2), while the Tories are on 22% (no change), and Labour are on 17% (-2).

READ MORE: Douglas Ross quizzed on Brexit, indyref2 and Ruth Davidson on BBC phone-in

Alex Salmond’s Alba Party is polling at 2% nationally, but this does not take into account regional differences.

Using a uniform swing calculator, a crude method to predict the number of seats using the percentage share of the vote, this would mean that the SNP would have a majority of 13, with 71 seats, while the Tories would have 27 seats. Labour would have 21, the Greens would have 6, and the LibDems would have 4 seats. The Alba Party would be unlikely to gain a single seat.

A Savanta ComRes poll, published today by The Scotsman, predicted an overall pro-independence majority of 74. However, it also suggested Alba support would cost the SNP a potential three seat majority without returning any MSPs itself.

An Ipsos MORI poll published yesterday predicted the SNP would win 70 of the 129 MSPs in Holyrood, while the Scottish Greens would take 11 seats – putting 81 pro-independence MSPs in the Chamber. Nationally, Alba was found to have around 3% support on the list in that poll.

The Opinium poll published today also found that Scotland remains divided on independence, with the pro-independence camp maintaining a slight lead.

The research, which involved an online survey of 1023 Scottish adults from April 1 to 6, found that 51% of Scots would vote Yes in indyref2, and 49% No.

When it comes to favourability of the candidates, Nicola Sturgeon maintains popularity with a net approval rating of +23, while Anas Sarwar has also seen a significant boost to his personal ratings, from a score of -3 to +10.

The National:

On the other hand, Douglas Ross has a net of -31, Ruth Davidson (above) has a net of -22, and Alex Salmond a net of -60. 

Sturgeon was also deemed to have performed best in the first TV debate, with 67% of those who saw at least some of it thinking she performed well against 27% who thought she performed badly.

Sarwar is also perceived to have done a good job, with 62% thinking he did well, compared to 28% thinking he did badly.

READ MORE: WATCH: Anas Sarwar tells Douglas Ross to 'grow up' at BBC leaders' debate

Sarwar scored perhaps the most memorable hit of the night, telling Ross to “grow up” after he turned a question on abusive behaviour into an attack on Sarwar’s stance on independence.

In the Opinium poll, Ross’s score mirrors the Labour leader’s exactly, with just 28% of the public thinking he did well, compared to 62% who think the Tory leader did badly.

The National: Scottish leaders' debate 2021 BBC Holyrood election

According to the research, Salmond still faces an uphill battle to improve his perception among the electorate, with 11% of Scots saying they believe he has the nation’s best interests at heart, compared to 65% who think he has his own.

Scottish voters are also divided as to whether the Alba leader should be invited to take part in future televised debates, with 43% thinking he should, and 47% thinking he shouldn’t.

When asked about the possibility of a coalition between the SNP and the Alba Party, only 15% think this would be good for Scotland, while 63% think it would be bad. Meanwhile 41% think a coalition between the SNP and the Greens would be good, although 41% also think it would be bad.

Chris Curtis, senior research manager at Opinium, commented: “If Scottish Unionists had been hoping that the fallout between Salmond and Sturgeon would hurt the SNP, then our latest polling is going to be a disappointment.

READ MORE: Greens in election pledge for Scotland to take on global role in indy push

“It looks like being on the campaign trail has further boosted the First Minister’s ratings, while the unpopularity of Alex Salmond has meant he is struggling to make a dent.

“Perhaps the most disappointing results in the poll are for the Labour party. Their new leader’s surging popularity is currently failing to translate into any more votes, as Labour ends up in the unenviable position of being everyone’s second choice.”

Opinium also noted that all polls are subject to a wide range of potential sources of error.

On the basis of the historical record of the polls at recent General Elections, the firm said there is a nine in 10 chance that the true value of a party’s support lies within 4 points of the estimates provided by this poll, and a 2 in 3 chance that they lie within 2 points.