A NEW poll has put the SNP on course for an overall majority, but warned the result remains “hanging in the balance” as up to a fifth of likely voters say they could still change their mind. 

The Ipsos MORI survey for STV forecast Nicola Sturgeon’s party would emerge from tomorrow’s election with 68 MSPs, three more than the 65 required for a majority and five more than she won in 2016.

However it also found that among likely voters 17 per cent said they could still change their mind on their constituency vote and 21% said it of their list vote.

The pro-UK parties have spent weeks focusing on the list vote, arguing it would stop the SNP trying to hold a second independence referendum.

Scotland’s leading pollster, Professor Sir John Curtice of Strathclyde University, has said nine opposition-held marginals are likely to decide if the SNP wins a majority.

Although the national polls would suggest many be gained by the SNP, local tactical voting by Unionists could also keep them in Tory, Labour and Liberal Democrat hands. 

READ MORE: Boris Johnson says independence referendum 'reckless' regardless of Holyrood result

Ipsos Mori calculated the Tories would stay in second place on 27 MSPs (down four from 2016), while Labour would get 19 (-5), and the Liberal Democrats four (-1).

Like many recent polls, Ipsos Mori also showed a surge in support for the Scottish Greens, who were forecast to almost double their MSPs, from six to 11.

With just 2% of the vote, Alex Salmond’s Alba party was forecast to win no MSPs.

Emily Gray, managing director of Ipsos MORI Scotland, said: “Whether there will be a SNP majority or not hangs in the balance.

“The election result may come down to how the parties perform in a small number of key marginal seats, as well as in the regional vote, which is likely to prove particularly important in determining which party is in second place.

“With a relatively high percentage of voters still saying they’ve not definitely decided, all the parties still have something to play for tomorrow.”

READ MORE: Election - John Curtice on the nine key constituencies that decide SNP majority

Ipsos MORI interviewed 1,502 over-16s by telephone between April 30 and May 3.

A Savanta ComRes poll for the Scotsman today suggested the SNP going backwards from their 2016 result, on course for 59 MSPs compared to 63 five years ago.

The poll was the worst for Nicola Sturgeon’s party since Octover 2019, putting the SNP on 42% of the constituency vote and 34% of the regional list.

However the poll still forecast a pro-independence majority at Holyrood thanks to the Scottish Greens, who are forecast to returning nine MSPs with 9% on the list.

SNP Depute Leader Keith Brown said: “If people want an SNP government, with the experienced leadership of Nicola Sturgeon to get the country through and out of the pandemic and into recovery, then it has to be Both Votes SNP.

"Only giving both votes to the SNP on Thursday will ensure that Nicola Sturgeon is re-elected to lead an SNP Government which will keep Scotland moving forward, and put Scotland's future in Scotland's hands - not Boris Johnson's."