Alex Salmond’s bid to return to frontline politics was last night dealt a crushing blow by a devastating poll.
But a Survation poll found that it is on track to win just 3 per cent of the votes on the regional list – which would leave the new party without a single seat.
It also showed that Mr Salmond is the most unpopular of Scotland’s mainstream political leaders, with 71 per cent of Scots viewing him unfavourably.
It came as Nicola Sturgeon launched another attack on her predecessor, accusing him of ‘misleading’ voters and of being a ‘gambler’ who bets on horses ‘on an almost daily basis’.
Mr Salmond, in turn, appeared to criticise her strategy of setting out her intention to hold a second Scexit vote in the first half of a new parliamentary term.
Crushing blow: A new poll revealed Alex Salmond’s Alba Party is on track to win just 3 per cent of the votes on the regional list – which would leave the new party without a single seat
In a further sign he will struggle to achieve his aim of encouraging SNP supporters to back his party in the list vote, the poll found that more than half of Scots held the view that Mr Salmond was ‘hindering the cause for Scottish independence’, compared with only 17 per cent who said his contribution was helping.
More than 1,000 Scottish residents were surveyed for the poll, carried out for DC Thomson on Monday and Tuesday this week, days after Alba’s high-profile launch.
On the constituency vote, the poll put the SNP on 49 per cent, followed by the Tories on 21 per cent, Labour on 20 per cent and the Lib Dems on 9 per cent.
On the regional list, the SNP is on 37 per cent, followed by the Tories on 18 per cent, Labour on 19 per cent, the Greens on 11 per cent, Lib Dems on 8 per cent, with Alba on 3 per cent.
It is estimated the result would mean the SNP would win a majority with 66 seats, followed by Labour on 24, the Tories on 21, the Greens on 11 and Lib Dems on seven.
A Tory spokesman said: ‘Only the Scottish Conservatives have the strength to stop an SNP majority, stop their push for another independence referendum and get all of the focus back on rebuilding Scotland and recovering from this pandemic.
‘Alex Salmond’s new party are trying to game the system.’
The poor ratings are a blow to Mr Salmond’s bid for a place on the next TV leaders’ debate.
Yesterday, he said it is ‘unanswerable’ he should get a place as he wrote to the broadcasters and regulator Ofcom in a bid to ensure ‘fairness’.
He also unveiled 32 regional list candidates and said he is confident membership has exceeded the Lib Dems in Scotland.
The Survation poll also asked about the popularity of each of the main leaders. Some 50 per cent of respondents said they had a favourable view of Miss Sturgeon, followed by 22 per cent for Scottish Labour leader Anas Sarwar, 17 per cent for Scottish Tory leader Douglas Ross and 10 per cent for Mr Salmond.
The proportion who said they had a negative view of Mr Salmond was 71 per cent, with 56 per cent for Boris Johnson.
Polling expert Professor Sir John Curtice told The Courier newspaper: ‘The headline is that it looks as though it’s all over for Salmond, though he might just get a seat in the North-East himself.’
Deputy SNP leader Keith Brown said: ‘To ensure Nicola Sturgeon is the First Minister to lead us out of the pandemic, people need to give both votes to the SNP on May 6.’
An Alba spokesman said: ‘These early indications put Alba within touching distance of representation across Scotland. With five weeks still to go Alba’s support can only grow as we approach polling day.’
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