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SNP on course to win Holyrood majority despite dip in Yes support, poll shows

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THE SNP are still on course to win a majority at Holyrood in the May elections, despite an apparent dip in support for independence.

That would be enough to give the party a slim majority in Holyrood, which houses 129 MSPs. It would only be the second time since devolution that a single party has managed to form a majority government, following on from Alex Salmond’s SNP’s victory in 2011.

If the SNP is unable to win a majority it is likely that Boris Johnson will use the result to refuse to grant a Section 30 for an independence referendum.

However, the Survation poll of 1000 adults in Scotland found that the pro-independence majority in Holyrood would be significant, even if the SNP’s were only slight.

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It predicted that the Greens are on course for a record number of seats, estimating that the party would return 11 MSPs from the regional lists across the country.

The Tories would see a marked decline in their representation, becoming Holyrood’s third party. The Conservatives were predicted to take 21 seats, three fewer than the 24 for Scottish Labour.

The LibDems would gain one seat if the poll’s predictions played out. This would mean a total of 51 seats were shared by these three Unionist parties, down seven from today.

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Professor John Curtice (below) told the Daily Record that the SNP’s prospects are “on a knife-edge”.

He added: “If today’s poll figures were to be replicated in the ballot box, the SNP would emerge with a slim overall majority.

“However, a drop of just two points could see the party fall short. The margin between success and failure is now a very narrow one.”

The SNP’s depute leader Keith Brown said the polling underlined “the importance of both votes SNP at the election so that the Scottish people can determine Scotland’s future”.

Fieldwork for the poll was conducted the day before Salmond appeared before the Scottish Parliament committee on the government handling of harassment complaints.

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People were divided on whether the SNP has been in government too long, with 43% saying the 14-year tenure has been too much, while 41% say it has not. 16% of people answered that they did not know.

The poll also found that 60% of respondents think Nicola Sturgeon would make a better First Minister than Alex Salmond, with 12% of people saying the opposite.

The findings come from the same Sunday Mail poll which found a 50/50 split in support for independence, the lowest for Yes since May 2020.

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It also found that, when don’t knows are included, No has a one per cent lead over Yes.

Pollster Mark McGeoghegan said that the results should be a wake-up call for the independence movement, but that they were far from catastrophic.

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