Scottish Election 2021: Polling expert John Curtice has set out his predictions as the count gets underway

Sir John Curtice, polling expert, has set out his predictions as the count of the Scottish Parliament election gets underway.

Speaking on BBC Good Morning Scotland, Mr Curtice, a professor at the University of Strathclyde, estimated that the SNP will return 64 MSPs over all, which is just one short of the 65 required to secure a majority.

He told the programme that the election result is reliant on the nine marginal seats held currently by Labour, Conservatives and the Liberal Democrats.

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He said: “If you take the five opinion polls that were conducted in the last week or so of the campaign, they suggest that on average the SNP are running at 49 per cent on the constituency vote, although much lower, about 38 per cent, on the list.

“The Conservatives are narrowly ahead of Labour; about 22 per cent conservatives to 21 per cent for Labour on the constituency vote, but the Conservatives enjoy a comfortable four-point lead on the list vote and that’s going to be the crucial one so far as seats are concerned.

“It looks like the Greens are heading for a record performance, they’ve been running at about 10 per cent in the final polls."

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Speaking to listeners, he added: “Liberal Democrats are at around the six to seven points as last time. The Alba Party under Mr Salmond running at around three.”

Polling expert John Curtice has set out his predictions as the count gets underway.

He concluded that by playing the “dangerous game” of weighing up the numbers, he would suggest that the SNP will secure 64 seats, adding that there is a 50/50 chance the party will win a majority.

The question that remains is how many of the opposition-held seats can Nicola Sturgeon’s party pick up.

Mr Curtice continued: “That’s one of the things you really cannot tell from national polls, whether that’s going to happen or not,”

Votes in some 46 of the 73 constituency seats will be counted from about 9am on Friday, with the first results expected from noon.

The results are due to start coming in from noon on Friday.

It is anticipated all 46 should be declared by Friday evening.

Then, from about 9am on Saturday, the remaining 27 constituency seats will be counted, after which the regional seats will be allocated.

The count started just after 9am on Friday and the first results are due in at around noon.

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