FAR more voters recognise Anas Sarwar as leader of the Scottish Labour party than his predecessor, a new poll for the Herald has found. 

According to the exclusive survey conducted by BMG research, around two thirds of people knew that Mr Sarwar was the party’s new leader (63 per cent) compared to just 47% who knew Richard Leonard was the previous Scottish Labour chief. 

HeraldScotland: GLASGOW, SCOTLAND - MARCH 26: Scottish Labour leader, Anas Sarwar poses as he launches Scottish Labour's election bus on March 26, 2021 in Glasgow, Scotland. Campaigning has begun for the Scottish Parliamentary elections being held on May 6, 2021.

Sarwar personally looks likely to secure more votes for his party than his political rivals, with around 14% of voters who plan to support Scottish Labour in the constituency ballot this week saying they would be doing so because of the leader.

Nicola Sturgeon is the reason 12% of SNP voters plan to support her party on May 6, while Douglas Ross’s leadership of the Scottish Conservatives is cited as the reason for 3% of his party’s support at constituency level. 

Of those planning to vote for the Liberal Democrats on Thursday, 7% said they were going to do so due to Willie Rennie’s leadership. 

READ MORE: Majority of Scots think Alex Salmond 'not fit and proper person' for Holyrood seat

BMG Research asked 1023 voters aged 16 and above for their views between April 27 and 30.

Voters were asked if they knew who the new leader of Scottish Labour was, with options including Mr Sarwar, Gordon Brown, Monica Lennon, Richard Leonard and Neil Findlay.

They were also given the same options and asked who the former leader of the party was.

When it came to pointing out Richard Leonard as Scottish Labour's former leader, 47% of people identified him correctly while 41% said they didn't know who it was.

This is in comparison to Mr Sarwar, with 63% of people confirming they knew he was the new leader, and 29% saying they were unsure.

HeraldScotland: Labour hustings at The Royal Concert Hall, Glasgow.  Ants Sarwar and Richard Leonard. Picture Robert Perry for The Herald and  Evening Times 20th Sept 2017

Richard Leonard was criticised for not being visible enough with the electorate before he stepped down as the party's leader in January.

He was the face of the party for more than three years, from November 2017 until the turn of the year.

According to a YouGov survey last June, 60% of Scots did not have an opinion of him.

A Scottish Labour source told The Herald that Mr Sarwar was "clearly" a more popular leader, adding: "To be honest I don't think it would have been hard. Richard is a lovely man, but people didn't know who he was.

"That was really part of the whole problem. If people don't know who you are the how are they going to know what your party stands for?".

READ MORE: Richard Leonard quits: 'Flinching cowards and sneering traitors' blamed 

Ian Murray, Scottish Labour MP for Edinburgh South and the party's shadow Secretary of state for Scorland said: “Anas Sarwar’s National Recovery Plan has defined this election.

“But if you want it, you need to vote for it.

“Otherwise we will get five more years of division and failure.

“For a parliament focused on our national recovery, use both votes, especially the peach ballot paper, to back Scottish Labour.”

It comes after another poll conducted for the Scottish Labour party, published yesterday, found that Mr Sarwar was the voter’s choice for leader of the opposition. 

READ MORE: Voters prefer Anas Sarwar to Douglas Ross as opposition leader, poll finds

Polling by Survation, found 40% of people want Mr Sarwar to lead the opposition if the SNP form the next Scottish Government.

This compares to just 22% for Scottish Conservative leader Douglas Ross, while 38% don’t know.

Despite the findings, polls show Labour are on course for third place at the Holyrood election on Thursday, behind the Tories.