Only two in five Scots think Holyrood has served them well and barely half regard devolution as a positive, according to a new poll described as a “wake-up call for all 129 MSPs”.

The survey also suggested the constitutional rows of the last quarter century could be put to bed if Holyrood had substantial new powers as an alternative to independence.

Only one in five people backed the status quo.

The Diffley Partnership poll was commissioned for a live audience edition of the Holyrood Sources podcast being recorded in Edinburgh tomorrow.

Guests include former first ministers Henry McLeish, Lord McConnell and Alex Salmond, former Scottish Labour leader Wendy Alexander and the SNP MSP Kate Forbes. 

The poll findings suggest most Scots remain supportive of the Scottish Parliament, which was established in 1999, but large numbers are unconvinced or hostile.

In the 1997 Scottish devolution referendum, 74% of those who voted backed the Parliament’s creation and 63% said it should have tax-raising powers. Turnout was 60%.

But in the Diffley poll, only 56% of the people surveyed said devolution and Holyrood had been positive overall, with 26% saying negative, 13% in the middle and 6% unsure.

Asked if the Scottish Parliament had served them well over the years, 40% agreed, 32% disagreed and 24% neither agreed or disagreed, with 4% undecided.

Asked if their local MSPs had served the area well, only 37% agreed, 30% agreed, 27% neither agreed or disagreed and 6% were undecided.

Asked if MSPs generally did a good job of representing citizens. 42% agreed, 31% disagreed, 23% were in the middle and 4% were undecided.

However only 26% agreed devolution had been “a mistake 25 years ago and should not have happened”, compared to 44% who disagreed with that proposition, with 22% in the middle and 8% don’t knows.

Asked which powers should be controlled by Holyrood and which by Westminster, most Scots said welfare benefits, health and social services, taxation, energy, education and housing should be devolved, with Westminster doing foreign affairs, defence and security.

Given four options and asked what they thought should happen in the next 10 years, 20% said they thought devolution should be scrapped and 20% said it should be unchanged.

However only 38% said Scotland should be fully independent - far lower than recent polls putting it around 50% - if the option of Holyrood having more powers was offered, which was backed by 22% of respondents, meaning static or enhanced devolution was backed by 44%.  

The Diffley Partnership surveyed 1,046 adults in Scotland online between March 11 and 15.

Mark Diffley, founder and director of The Diffley Partnership, said:  “As we mark 25 years of devolution, our poll breaks new ground in understanding the public view of its impact. 

“In a time of significant distrust of the political class, it is notable that positivity about devolution outweighs negativity by more than 2-to-1 and that only 1-in-5 of us want to reverse the devolution process. 

“However, decision-makers and politicians must note the more negative findings from the poll, including significant numbers who do not consider Holyrood or MSPs to be serving them well, and use this evidence to consider how better to connect devolution to the public.”

Andy Maciver, Holyrood Sources co-host and founder director of Message Matters, said: “This polling should be a wake-up call for all 129 MSPs, and the political parties. Devolution is tolerated, but it is not loved. 

“Those who believe in the concept of devolution need to accept that Holyrood has not delivered in the way people hoped it would. 

“This 25 year anniversary is a good time to hit the reset button so that, when devolution reaches 50, it can be the institution we all hoped it would.

“Many of us have felt for some time that the pro-UK parties are failing to offer people the option that would settle the constitutional matter for good: a more powerful Scottish Parliament. The Tory/Labour status quo commands only 20% support, but when more options are included, 62% of people oppose independence. For Anas Sarwar and Labour, that should light the way for their 2026 Holyrood manifesto.”

Geoff Aberdein, Holyrood Sources co-host and Managing Partner of True North, added: “It is welcome that a majority of Scots have a positive view of the Scottish Parliament but clearly many of our fellow citizens are yet to be convinced of the benefits it provides. 

“Yet the most interesting results are those that show that, apart from defence and security and foreign affairs, the public are supportive of  Holyrood having control over all other key issues that impact our daily lives.  

“All of this tells us there is support for the Scottish Parliament as an institution but there is certainly work to be done in terms of improving public policy delivery.”