THE SNP are on track for a record result in May's council elections, a new poll has suggested.

The party is reportedly on course to win 44% of first preference votes - a jump from 32% (+12) in 2017.

The figure is double the number of those who said they would back Scottish Labour, who are predicted to sweep up the second-largest share of first preference votes - leaving the Tories in third place.

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The Survation Poll for Ballot Box Scotland found 23% (+3) of respondents would back Labour, 18% (-7) the Conservatives, 6% (-1) the LibDems and 3% (-1) the Greens.

For Alba, the outlook is bleak, with the poll suggesting they will pool only 1% of first preference votes, similar to the number for independent candidates.

A total of 56% of voters said the SNP would feature in their top three picks, compared to 52% for Labour.

SNP Depute leader Keith Brown said it was "hardly surprising" to see the Tories "sinking" in the polls, due to the cost of living crisis, and various Westminster scandals.

Allan Faulds from Ballot Box Scotland said: “If these findings are accurate, the SNP are on track to deliver an astonishing record result in May, and Labour would again become the second-largest party at local government level, giving both parties reason to be cheerful.

The National: The SNP are on track for a record result at the local council electionsThe SNP are on track for a record result at the local council elections

“On the other hand, the Conservatives, LibDems, Greens and Independents would seem to be headed for worse results, and Alba’s support is pretty pitiable. That said, some of these figures are rather eyebrow raising when compared to other electoral evidence.”

Faulds added that it was “particularly difficult” to gauge support levels for independent candidates, who generally receive around 10% of the vote, but in the poll returned 1%.

He added: “Similarly, across the most recent batch of 18 local by-elections they contested, the Greens won 7% of the vote and could thus be underestimated.

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“Meanwhile polling ahead of 2017 was just as rosy for the SNP but support failed to materialise on the day. Collectively, this suggests there may be a particular challenge in capturing local voting intention via national poll – we’ll find out definitively either way in May.”

And on second and third preference votes, Faulds added: “Findings on later preference use nonetheless make for fascinating reading.

"Whilst the SNP and Conservatives have solid first preference support, they were picked relatively rarely for later preferences, whereas the other three Holyrood parties were popular transfer options. This perhaps suggests the parties most rigidly defined by the constitution are putting off voters in the middle.”

The National: The poll showed the Greens are likely to pick up 21% of second preference votesThe poll showed the Greens are likely to pick up 21% of second preference votes

A spokesperson for the Scottish Greens said: “These results show broad support for the Greens in government, topping the second preference votes after six months where we have delivered free bus travel for young people, unprecedented investment in active travel, recycling and nature restoration and a ban on the worst single use plastics.

"However, this poll must also come with a warning, because second preference votes will not elect Green councillors.

"With the IPCC report showing the urgent need for climate action, the only way to think global and act local and carry on our influence in communities at this election is to give the Scottish Greens your first preference vote.”

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Brown, SNP MSP for Clackmannanshire & Dunblane, said:"The Tories are sinking in the polls as the cost-of-living crisis bites. 

“These elections are vital, first to elect SNP councillors who will work tirelessly for local communities. May 5 is also an opportunity to make our voices heard, to send a message to the Tories who are failing families, and cast a verdict on Boris Johnson’s lies, cronyism, and moral failure.

"This latest poll shows that people in Scotland continue to put their trust in the SNP and that positive vision we have for our nation – but there is absolutely no room for complacency as the campaign heats up.

“We already know that turnout will be key in this election, which is why the SNP will continue to take nothing for granted - working for every single vote until polling day.

“Locking the Tories out of power in council chambers across Scotland means getting out to vote - and voting SNP. It’s hardly surprising to see the Tories sinking in the polls - with dodgy PPE contracts going to party donors, failure to act on the cost of living crisis and the scandal of Boris Johnson’s Downing Street parties still very much on the public’s mind.”

The National: Brown said he was not surprised by the fall in Tory support shown in the pollBrown said he was not surprised by the fall in Tory support shown in the poll

Deputy Scottish Labour leader Jackie Baillie, MSP for Dumbarton, tweeted that the news was welcome but there was "a way to go yet".

She added: "Thanks to everyone who has taken another look at our party. We won’t let you down."

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First Preference Vote (changes vs 2017 Election):

SNP: 44% (+12)

Labour: 23% (+3)

Conservative: 18% (-7)

LibDem: 6% (-1)

Green: 3% (-1)

Independent: 1%

Alba: 1% (nc)

Second Preference:

Not Used: 24%

Green: 21%

Labour: 18%

LibDem: 12%

SNP: 8%

Conservative: 5%

Independent: 2%

Alba: 2%

Third Preference:

Not Used: 45%

LibDem: 13%

Green: 12%

Labour: 10%

Conservative: 4%

Independent: 4%

Alba: 4%

SNP: 3%

Total Top 3 Preference (i.e. would give relevant party 1st, 2nd or 3rd pref):

SNP: 56%

Labour: 52%

Green: 37%

LibDem: 31%

Conservative: 27%

Independent: 7%

Alba: 7%