WILLIE Rennie has insisted the Lib Dems are on course to win over soft SNP supporters – stressing he is making a “compelling” pitch to floating voters.

The Scottish Lib Dem leader is adamant that polling showing his party's fortunes yet to improve is not giving the full picture and he is hopeful voters will move across to boost his chances at May’s Holyrood election.

Mr Rennie, who insisted his “time’s not up yet” after 10 years as his party's leader, has pointed to “secret polling” showing voters getting behind the Lib Dems.

He said that from internal Lib Dem polling, “the SNP vote is softer than it’s ever been”, insisting that “it’s still game on”.

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Adressing polls consistnetly showing SNP support remaining high, he added: “That poll rating hides a degree of softness that's never really been experienced for some time.”

Mr Rennie said his party is making a “compelling” case in favour of the Union, adding that the message is “reaching out to voters from other parties”.

He added: “I don’t think the Conservatives have got any intention of attracting any person who has previously voted for the SNP.

“We’ve got a broader, and to be fair Labour have got a broader, pitch.”

The Lib Dem leader said his party’s stance was striking a chord with those “who were SNP in previous elections - perhaps like the way that Nicola communicates, but when you put the issue about the recovery and the priority that it gets, they move and they say, ‘yes, that’s right’”.

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He said: “Those are the people that are coming, they are not moving yet but they are thinking seriously about it.

“They are looking at the prospect of arguments between Alex Salmond and Nicola Sturgeon and the various factions of the nationalist movement in the parliament next time and thinking maybe we need to put that to one side for now and focus on making our life better now.

“That’s where I think our message is more powerful than the Conservatives’ which is quite dark and it’s certainly not reaching out. That's why I think we’re going to improve in this election – because we’ve got a broad appeal that can gain more votes.”

When asked about polling consistently indicating the Lib Dems are not making gains with voters, Mr Rennie said: “Our secret polling shows us increasing every day.”

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He added: “We’re at the start of the campaign – to be frank, not much has moved in the opinion polls, everything is pretty static.

“It’s all to play for in this campaign – we're quite optimistic.”

Mr Rennie said he would “fully accept” that his claims soft SNP supporters are now backing his party is “not showing up in the opinion polls yet”, but added “it’s still early days in the election campaign”.

He said: “I’m fully confident that will change within time.”

Mr Rennie added: “We’ve had to put up with years of the SNP vote will be very solid and if anything, people moving away from us and other parties towards the SNP – that has changed.

“I just know for the first time for years, we are getting people moving into the other direction – contemplating it seriously."