NICOLA Sturgeon has welcomed the results of a new poll which suggests the SNP are on track to win a landslide Holyrood election victory.

The Survation survey, for the Sunday Post, found the First Minister’s party is on course to secure a majority with 67 seats, with the pro-independence Greens also set to almost double their seats from six to 11.

Meanwhile, it was bad news for the Tories, who were projected to lose second place to Labour. Douglas Ross’s party is forecast to lose nine seats for a total of 22, with Labour predicted to win 24, no change from 2016.

The results suggest Alex Salmond’s Alba Party will win just 3% of the regional list vote, which wouldn’t be sufficient to return any MSPs to Parliament.

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Sturgeon welcome the poll as “very good news”, but added “it also shows how important it is to cast #BothVotesSNP if you want to see a re-elected SNP government able to lead Scotland forward”.

The research found the SNP have a healthy lead in both constituency and list votes, on 50% and 35% respectively. Labour sit on 21% and 22%, the Tories are on 21% and 20%, and the LibDems are on 7% for both votes. The Greens are on 10% in the list and Alba are on 3%.

Projections conducted by polling expert Professor Sir John Curtice suggest the SNP would win a majority with 67 seats. Labour would be second with 24, the Tories 22, the Greens 11 and the Lib Dems 5.

Curtice commented: “At the beginning of the campaign Nicola Sturgeon was concerned that Salmond’s Alba Party would eat into her party’s list vote. There is not much sign of that happening. Just 5% of SNP constituency voters are backing Salmond. Rather, it is the Greens who are doing much of the damage with as many as 15% of SNP constituency voters saying they will back the Greens on the list.”

Scots remain split on independence, according to the survey, with 51% of respondents backing Yes and 49% backing No – once undecided voters were removed.

It suggests 46% of men and 52% of women would now vote for independence, along with 71% of under-25s.

The NHS and economy are twice as important to voters as the constitution, according to the poll, when they were asked to name the three most important issues other than the pandemic.

A total of 48% of respondents cited the NHS as a key issue, followed by 41% who said the economy, 27% who picked education and 21% who chose employment. The cost of living and mental health were both picked by 19%.

In contrast, 18% said Scottish independence was one of the most important issues, followed by 16% who said Brexit was.

The First Minister remains Scotland’s most popular leader, with a net favourability rating of +16.

Sarwar is the only other leader to have a positive rating, on +7. Patrick Harvie is on -9 and Willie Rennie is on -12.

Both Ross (-26) and Salmond (-64) are less popular than Boris Johnson (-42), the study suggests.

The National:

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Former SNP MP Stephen Gethins, who is now a professor in international relations at St Andrews University, told the Sunday Post:  “It is extraordinary to see a party which is seeking a fourth term of government to still have this level of popular support and be looking at a majority in a parliament where the system was designed not to have that. That being said, we still have another 10 days of election campaigning and I know better than anyone that every single vote will count.

“If people want to see an SNP government, and it is up to them, the ‘both votes SNP’ strategy will be crucial to delivering that.”

He added: “If the Greens are doing well, then that’s good for independence because the Greens are a strong pro-independence party. But in order to deliver a SNP government, voting for the SNP with both votes will be incredibly important.”

Former Better Together chief Blair McDougall reflected on positive poll ratings for Sarwar.

He commented: “What Anas Sarwar has managed to do through force of personality is what previous Labour leaders have tried but failed to do, which is tell a more positive story about what Scotland can do as opposed to a return to divisive arguments.

“The important thing for Anas in what remains of the election and after is to continue to tell that story. It took the SNP years of very hard and disciplined work, telling the same story over and over again, for them to shape Scottish politics into what they wanted it to be.

“I think Anas and the Labour Party need to realise it will take that kind of attitude and determination to turn things around.”