THE race to take over as SNP leader is on a knife edge, new polling has suggested, with only a hair between Kate Forbes and Humza Yousaf among the party’s voters.

However, the Finance Secretary has an edge over her Cabinet colleague when it comes to wider public perceptions, according to the Ipsos poll of Scottish voters.

The survey of 1023 Scots adults, run from March 17-21, found that 38% of 2019 SNP voters have a favourable view of Yousaf, while 37% have a favourable view of Forbes.

The National:

However, slightly more SNP voters have negative perceptions of Forbes, and slightly more have a neutral perception of Yousaf, meaning their net ratings among the party’s 2019 voters are +6 and +11 respectively.

Ash Regan, the underdog in the race, is viewed positively by 22% of SNP voters and negatively by 29%, giving her a net favorability rating of -7.

Among the general public, Forbes is out in front while Yousaf and Regan trail, but none of the three have the positive net perception which Nicola Sturgeon enjoys.

The poll found that among all voters, Forbes has a rating of -8, compared to Yousaf on -20 and Regan on -24.

The National:

Sturgeon, who will face her final First Minister’s Questions on Thursday, is still the most popular politician in Scotland with a rating of +8 – and a massive +67 among SNP voters.

Douglas Ross, the Scottish Conservative leader, has a net rating of -39 among the public but +31 among Tory voters. Anas Sarwar, the Scots Labour leader, has a net rating of -4- among the public but +36 among Labour voters.

Prime Minister Rishi Sunak has a net approval rating of -37 among the Scottish public.

The National:

The polling also asked Scots how closely they were following key news stories such as the cost of living crisis and the SNP leadership election.

The most followed story is the cost of living crisis, which 87% of people said they were following very or fairly closely. A total of 71% of Scots said the same for the situation in the NHS, while 58% said they were very or fairly closely following the SNP leadership vote.

The gender recognition reform bill, which is currently blocked after a Section 35 from the UK Government, is being very or fairly closely followed by 49% of Scots, while 47% said they are not following it closely or at all.