ALEX Salmond is nearly as unpopular in Scotland as Boris Johnson, according to a new poll.

The YouGov survey found the former First Minister had a net approval rating of minus 42 among Scots voters, compared to -50 for the Prime Minister.

Almost two-thirds of the electorate, 63 per cent had a negative view of Mr Salmond compared to just 21% who thought positively of him, the Times poll found.

Even among SNP supporters, Mr Salmond had an approval rating of -14, with 49% of the party’s voters having a negative view of him compared to 35% who thought favourably of him.

The figures are a blow to any hopes of a political comeback Mr Salmond, 65, may be nursing in the wake of his criminal trial and fall-out with Nicola Sturgeon.

Mr Salmond was acquitted of 13 counts of sexual assault in March.

However the evidence of his inappropriate behaviour damaged his reputation, with 42% of Scots saying they felt more negatively towards him after the case. 

One of his own defence witnesses, former special adviser Alex Bell, later said Mr Salmond had been exposed as “sleazy” and a “creep”.

It also emerged that Mr Salmond’s own lawyer had described him as a bully.

Gordon Jackson QC was overheard on a train calling his client “quite an objectionable bully to work with. I think he was a nasty person to work for..  a nightmare to work for.”

The former SNP leader’s low levels of popularity are a far cry from the +35 rating he enjoyed immediately after losing the 2014 referendum, or even his -6 rating in July 2018.

Ms Sturgeon, by contrast, has seen her ratings surge in recent months as a result of her performance during the Covid crisis, and her approval is currently +50 among Scots.

The YouGov poll found that when voters were asked to compare her and her predecessor, only 5% preferred Mr Salmond’s record as First Minister compared to 60% for Ms Sturgeon.

A fifth said neither had performed well, while 8% said they were equally good.

Among SNP supporters, just 3% backed Mr Salmond compared to 83% for Ms Sturgeon, 11% rated them as equals, and 1% said both had performed badly.

That finding, in particular, suggests any hopes Mr Salmond's allies might have of taking back the party from Ms Sturgeon and her team are forlorn ones.

Other recent YouGov polling for the Times gave former Scottish Tory leader Ruth Davidson an approval rating of +15 and Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer on +14.

Mr Salmond is currently writing a book about his trial, which his supporters claim was part of a plot by Ms Sturgeon’s inner circle to thwart his return to frontline politics as a rival.

He is also working on his evidence for the Holyrood inquiry into the Scottish Government’s botched in-house investigation of sexual misconduct claims made against him in 2018.

He overturned its findings in a judicial review, forcing ministers to admit the whole exercise had been unfair, unlawful and “tainted by apparent bias”.

The collapse of the Scottish Government’s case left taxpayers with a £512,000 bill for his legal costs, and MSPs are now investigating what happened.

Both Mr Salmond and Mr Sturgeon are due to give evidence under oath on the matter, with the first hearings starting on Tuesday.

The inquiry is seen as a chance for Mr Salmond to settle old scores with his successor, after a bitter falling out between the two.

Mr Salmond was recently approached to stand for the new pro-independence Alliance for Scotland party, which says it will field candidates on the Holyrood list system next year.

He declined out, but has not ruled out a return to frontline politics.