The SNP could miss out on a majority at the Holyrood election, and support for independence is at its lowest level in over a year, according to the latest polls.

The Savanta ComRes survey for The Scotsman predicted that the party will return 63 MSPs in total – two short of a majority – the same number as in 2016.

However there would still be a pro-independence majority at Holyrood, with the Scottish Greens forecast to return eight MSPs, two more than 2016, and the party predicted to secure 7% of the list vote in 2021.

Only 1% of voters said they plan to vote for Alex Salmond’s Alba Party, which would leave it without a single MSP elected.

The poll projects that the SNP will return a constituency vote of 46% and a list vote of 38% in the May 6 election.

It predicts that the Scottish Conservatives will achieve 25% of the constituency vote and 23% of the regional list, which would see it return 32 MSPs – one more than in 2016.

Scottish Labour is forecast to return 20% on the constituency and 17% on the list vote and is predicted to return 21 MSPs, three fewer than in 2016.

The Scottish Liberal Democrats are predicted to return five MSPs, the same number as in 2016, with 6% of the constituency and 5% of the list vote.

The Herald:

The poll of 1,001 Scottish adults also found that support for Scottish independence is split, though support for No has increased since a survey at the start of April.

The latest poll found that 48% would vote No in an independence referendum, while 45% would vote Yes, with the remainder undecided.

When “don’t knows” are excluded, 52% support No and 48% said they would vote Yes.

A survey at the start of April found that if an independence referendum was to be held tomorrow, 45% would vote Yes and the same proportion No, with the remainder undecided.

The Herald:

The latest poll was carried out between April 16 and 20.

Meanwhile, support for Scottish independence is at its lowest level since over a year, according to YouGov research for The Times.

The poll found that 47 per cent of voters want Scotland to be an independent country, not including undecided voters.

In early March, when YouGov last asked the questions, support was two percentage points higher.

Support of 47% represents the least support for independence since December 2019.

When all voters are included, 45 per cent said they would vote “no” and 39 per cent “yes” in a referendum asking if Scotland should become an independent country.

Meanwhile, ten per cent of voters were undecided, four per cent would not vote and two per cent refused to disclose their intentions.

The research also reported "pushback" against the plans from Nicola Sturgeon and Alex Salmond to focus on independence soon after the Holyrood election next month.

Only 34 per cent of voters said they thought there should be another ballot on Sturgeon’s timetable, with 49 per cent opposed.

The Herald:

However, there was more support for a referendum being held in the next five years, with 44 per cent in favour, 40 per cent opposed and 16 per cent unsure.

Ms Sturgeon has previously confirmed she will be seeking another referendum before the end of 2023.

Mr Salmond has said he would demand that independence negotiations with Whitehall begin immediately.

He has repeatedly criticised the SNP's lack of action on the matter of independence. 

It comes as The Scottish Trades Union Congress (STUC) voted yesterday to back another independence referendum if a majority of MSPs are in favour of the move after May 6 – but it stressed the immediate priority is recovering from the pandemic.

The announcement is the result of a vote at the body’s annual meeting, which concluded it is for the Scottish Parliament to decide when or if another referendum should be held.

But the union bosses rejected attempts to gain a supermajority of MSPs in favour of independence by the Alba Party by using what it calls “tactical manoeuvring”, fearing it may undermine the sovereignty of voters as Scotland remains broadly split on the question of independence.

STUC general secretary Roz Foyer said: “Our vote today has reaffirmed the right of the Scottish people to self-determination and recognised that as the central democratic institution in Scotland, our Parliament should have the power to determine whether and when to hold a second referendum.

“But we have also asserted that economic and social recovery is our priority, and that radical policy is needed to achieve that in a way that redresses current imbalances of power and wealth. We will hold to account all parties of all political colours who take their eye off that ball.”

Ms Foyer also said any second vote would not have to be a straight choice between independence and remaining in the UK if a “meaningful third option is developed”.

Since before the 2014 referendum, some have said the possibility of “devolution max” should be explored, where Scotland remains part of the UK but is given substantially more powers than are currently held at Holyrood, with only major portfolios such as defence reserved to Westminster.