THE SNP remains on course to win a second historic landslide in next May's Holyrood election as Labour's new leadership struggles to attract support, the results of a new poll show.

The survey, for TNS, show that 58 per cent of voters are planning to back the nationalists in the constituency section of the vote, up two points on last month. Labour is on course to pick up 24 per cent of votes, up three, with the Tories on 12 per cent and Liberal Democrats on just four.


On the regional list, more than half of voters, 52 per cent, plan to back the SNP. Labour is on 25 per cent and the Tories 11 per cent. The Greens and LibDems are both on five per cent.

If the results of the poll were repeated on election day, it would see the SNP pick up 77 of the Scottish Parliament's 129 seats and all but one constituency giving the party a clear majority.

Labour would be left on 33 seats, down four on its current number, with the Tories losing four of the 15 seats it currently has. The LibDems would retain five MSPs, with the Greens picking up one leaving three in total, according to PR agency Weber Shandwick's Scotland Votes seat predictor.

The poll, of 1034 people aged 16 and over, was carried out between October 16 and November 4. The timing means it may reflect a traditional post conference bounce for the SNP, with the party's conference ending on October 17 and the First Minister unveiling pledges over housing and the NHS.

Labour's conference, which saw Kezia Dudgale reveal her plans to top-up tax credits lost as a result of Westminster welfare cuts and was seen as boosting party morale, ended on November 1.


In the poll, TNS also asked people to rate five party leaders – Ms Sturgeon, Scottish Labour leader Kezia Dugdale, Scottish Tory Leader Ruth Davidson, Prime Minister David Cameron and UK Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn – on a scale of 1-10, where 10 was “like a lot” and 1 was “do not like at all”.

SNP leader Ms Sturgeon emerged as the favourite, with 44 per cent saying they like her, meaning she scored between seven and ten, while a quarter disliked her, meaning she scored between one and four.

The SNP leader is held in high regard by SNP supporters, liked by more than 80 per cent, and is the most popular party leader among undecided voters.

The First Minister is also liked by more Labour supporters - 32 per cent - than Dugdale on 25 per cent. Almost half of all voters said they did not know who the Scottish Labour leader was, including 39 per cent of those who plan to vote for her party. Ms Dugdale was liked by only 7 per cent overall, with 23 per cent disliking her.


Tom Costley, Head of TNS Scotland, said: "It’s worth bearing in mind that the Scottish Labour Conference took place towards the end of the survey period.

"Perhaps more surprising than Dugdale’s low recognition is that 30 per cent of respondents said they have not heard of Ruth Davidson, despite her achieving some prominence in the media, especially during last year’s referendum campaign and over her recent disagreement with the UK Conservative leadership on tax credits."

He added: "Sturgeon has established herself as a popular figure across the political spectrum. When we asked the same question about political figures two years ago, during the referendum campaign, her predecessor Alex Salmond was liked by 28 per cent of respondents. She herself was liked by 22 per cent, though she was still emerging from Salmond’s shadow at that time.

"Labour has a mountain to climb in terms of party support, and clearly its leadership is so far failing to achieve recognition and appeal among Scottish voters. Dugdale has only six months to establish herself with voters before the Holyrood election.

"One crumb of comfort for Labour may be that, asked the same question two years ago, the then Labour leader Johann Lamont was liked by 7 per cent of electors and 41 per cent did not know who she was – these are similar figures to Dugdale’s but Lamont had been Scottish Labour leader for about two years by then, while Dugdale is just starting out."