Anas Sarwar could become First Minister at the next Holyrood election and lead Scottish Labour to power for the first time in two decades, according to a new poll. 

The survey predicted that his party is running almost neck and neck with the SNP, and is on course to be the largest party at Holyrood by a single seat.  

Although unable to form a majority, Scottish Labour could govern as a minority with support from the Lib Dems and Conservatives.  

Together the unionist block would command nine more seats than the SNP and Scottish Greens together, which would pave the way for bargaining and probably elevate Sarwar to Bute House. 

The Panelbase poll, for The Sunday Times, said the SNP have slipped a point to 35 per cent in the constituency vote, while Scottish Labour remained on 32 per cent.  

The Conservatives were up three points to 16 per cent, the Lib Dems fell two points to 9 per cent, while the Greens remained on 7 per cent. 

The Herald: The poll presents worrying figures for the SNP

On the more proportional regional list vote, Labour went up two points to 30 per cent, overtaking the SNP, who fell by a point to 29 per cent.  

The Tories went up one point to 18 per cent, while the Greens and Lib Dems remained on 12 per cent and 8 per cent respectively.  

Alex Salmond’s Alba Party remained on 3 per cent, which was not enough for them to claim a seat. 

READ MORE: Humza Yousaf reflects on 'disappointing' result for SNP after by-election defeat

Support for Scottish independence increased by one point to 48 per cent. 

The poll — which was conducted as Labour humbled the SNP in last week’s Rutherglen & Hamilton West by-election — suggested that the growing unpopularity of First Minister Humza Yousaf, with one in six independence supporters now switching to Anas Sarwar’s party. 

Sarwar remains the most popular Scottish party leader, with an unchanged approval rating from three months ago of minus 2, according to the poll. 

Yousaf has had his ratings fall by seven points to minus 19, while Douglas Ross, the Scottish Conservative leader, fell by three points to minus 37. 

In a UK general election, the SNP would remain the largest Scottish party at Westminster, with 26 MPs, while the Tories would retain their six seats and the Lib Dems would win five constituencies. 

The Herald: Officials count votes watched by party monitorsThe poll came after the Rutherglen and Hamilton West byelection 

Sir John Curtice, the polling expert and professor of politics at Strathclyde University, said the polling indicated that the SNP’s dominance of Scottish politics may be waning. 

He said: “The decline in SNP support not only threatens its dominance of Scotland’s representation at Westminster, it could eventually undermine its control of Holyrood.” 

READ MORE: Rutherglen by-election numbers show how the SNP's vote collapsed

In an interview with The Sunday Times, hours before the poll had been finalised, Sarwar suggested he was confident of leading the next Scottish government. 

“I am confident that we can build the resource that we need to deliver a historic general election result and build towards what I hope will be a historic Scottish parliament election result,” he said.