Former first minister Alex Salmond has welcomed a poll showing that half of Scots support his bid to return to Westminster.

Mr Salmond has announced he is a candidate for the SNP nomination for the Gordon constituency in Aberdeenshire.

A YouGov poll across Scotland found that 50% of people think his decision to stand is a good idea while 36% think it is a bad idea. The remaining 14% of people said they did not know.

Mr Salmond hopes to steal the seat from the Liberal Democrats, with current Lib Dem MP Sir Malcolm Bruce retiring in May.

The poll of 1,081 people found that 46% of those who voted Lib Dem in the last general election backed Mr Salmond's decision, 41% said they think it is a bad idea while 13% do not know.

Meanwhile, 45% of those who voted Labour in 2010 support the move.

But 49% of those who intend to vote Lib Dem in the coming general election think Mr Salmond's decision is a bad idea while 59% who intend to vote Labour agree.

Mr Salmond said: "These are great indications which give an early boost to the campaign in Gordon.

"However I know that it is on the ground and on the doorstep that we have to build our campaign, and I take absolutely nothing for granted."

The poll found that 22% of No voters in the independence referendum think his return is a good idea.

He added: "I find it particularly heartening that many people who voted No in the referendum are prepared to back my candidacy, as are people from across the political spectrum.

"The dramatic finding that most 2010-voting Liberal voters are right behind me in Gordon shows how dramatically out of touch the Lib Dem leadership now are with their former supporters."

A Liberal Democrat spokesman said: "Instead of talking about what is best for Gordon, the SNP still think it is all about Mr Salmond.

"While the SNP are speculating over online polls our campaign team are knocking doors, delivering leaflets and meeting voters across Gordon to talk about the things which really matter to them, like the roads and hospitals that Alex Salmond neglected over seven years as first minister.

"People in Gordon said no to Alex Salmond at the referendum. They will say no to him again in May."