THE SNP remains on course for victory at May’s Holyrood election as pro-independence parties are set for a large majority without the contribution of Alex Salmond’s Alba Party, a new poll has found.

A poll by Ipsos Mori’s Scottish political monitor, in partnership with STV News, found that support for the SNP on the constituency vote remains at very high levels at 53%. On the list ballot, the poll found support for the ruling party has dropped by 9% since the middle of February – while support for the Greens on the list has surged by 4%.

READ MORE: Three trends to look out for during Holyrood election campaign

The study found that only 3% of Scots are backing Alba on the party list ballot – suggesting Alex Salmond’s party is unlikely to have any MSPs elected in May.

Seven in 10 SNP constituency voters said they will also cast their regional list vote for the party – while 18% will back the Greens on the party list. Of SNP constituency voters, only 4% said they will vote for Alba on the list ballot – the same proportion as will back Scottish Labour.

Overall for the list ballot, the poll puts support for the SNP on 38%, the Tories on 21%, Labour on 18% and the Greens on 12%. The Lib Dems would see list support at 6% and the Alba Party at just 3%.

READ MORE: Poll says Alex Salmond's Alba Party set for just 3 per cent support

The study found constituency support for the Scottish Conservatives at 20% and Scottish Labour at 18%.

When put through a seat calculator, the poll hands the SNP a majority with 70 seats, the Conservatives would secure 25 MSPs, Labour are on 19 and the Greens will see their politicians rise from six to 11 - all elected on the regional list.

The study suggests the Lib Dems would have four MSPs and Alba would not return any politicians to the Scottish Parliament.

The poll therefore hand pro-independence parties 81 seats, despite Alba projected to miss out on any MSPs being elected.

READ MORE: Alba Party leader Alex Salmond refuses to define what he means by an 'independence supermajority'

The Ipsos Mori poll found a majority of Scots are still in favour of independence compared to a previous study in February. Of those likely to vote in an independence referendum, 52% said they would vote Yes and 48% would vote No. Around one in 10 of those who would be likely to vote in an independence referendum said they could change their mind.

Independence is seen as the top issue helping decide who voters will support – with 49% mentioning the topic without being prompted – a 5% rise since mid-February. Behind independence is education on 28%, the NHS on 27%, the economy on 16% and the pandemic on 15%.

The SNP remains the most trusted party by the Scottish public – after 70% of those asked said they trust the party to stand up for Scotland’s interests, 61% trust the party to deal effectively with tackling inequality and 55% trust the SNP to managing education and schools.

READ MORE: New poll shows independence question not going away as Greens surge forecast

Public trust in Scottish Labour has soared since Anas Sarwar became leader with 42% now believing the party can be trusted to tackle inequality – a 12% rise since November 2020. The party has also seen a 12% increase to 46% of Scots who think Labour can deal effectively with the pandemic, while trust is also up for Labour’s ability to manage education and the NHS.

The study found that 62% are satisfied with Nicola Sturgeon’s job as First Minister. Almost half of Scots (48%) think Ms Sturgeon is more honest than most politicians compared with 33% who say the same about Mr Sarwar and 16% believe that applies to Tory leader Douglas Ross.

READ MORE: Salmond suggests Sturgeon's independence campaign has been too slow

A total of 46% are satisfied with Mr Sarwar, ahead of 25% who are satisfied with Mr Ross.

Mr Salmond is rated lower than Boris Johnson by Scots – with only 9% saying they are satisfied with the Alba Party leader, with the Prime Minister at 27%.

Emily Gray, managing director of Ipsos Mori Scotland, said: “Our latest poll results suggest the SNP are on course to win a majority of seats at Holyrood in May.

“Independence remains the top issue for Scotland’s voters and an independence ‘supermajority’ at Holyrood looks well within the realms of possibility.

“However, our poll indicates that this may come from an uplift in support for the Scottish Greens on the regional vote rather than for the Alba Party.

“The Alba Party’s main impact to date may have been to remind pro-independence voters of how to use their regional vote tactically.”

Greens co-leader Lorna Slater said: "This poll tells us that the Scottish Greens are set to have a record number of MSPs in Holyrood and could yet play a crucial role in securing a pro-independence majority in May.

"I'm also proud that if this poll turns into votes we will have eight women and three men as our Scottish Green MSPs.

"We're asking people to vote like our future depends on it, and it's clear that our plans for a green recovery and to tackle the climate emergency are connecting with voters."