Scottish Parliament Election 2021: Alex Salmond’s Alba Party polling at just 3 per cent, bombshell survey finds
Alex Salmond’s return to front line politics looked set to falter last night, after bombshell new polling suggested there was little appetite among Scots for his newly-formed Alba Party.
A Survation poll, commissioned The Courier and Press & Journal newspapers, saw Alba trailing behind all five of Scotland’s major parties, with just a three per cent share of the list vote.
Meanwhile, the survey suggested that the SNP enjoys a commanding lead in the list vote, polling at 37 per cent.
Mr Salmond’s former party was followed by Labour on 19 per cent, the Conservatives on 18 per cent, the Greens on 11 per cent, and the LibDems on 9 per cent.
A similar result on May 6 could see Alba struggle to claim a single regional seat at Holyrood.
More than half of respondents also told pollsters that Mr Salmond was “hindering the cause for Scottish independence”, compared with only 17% who thought he was helping the movement.
The polling, conducted from March 29-30, comes after a bruising first week in Scottish politics for the party.
Former boxing world champion Alex Arthur was forced to apologise when comments he made about Romanian beggars came to light after he announced he was standing for Alba on the Lothian list.
And economist Dr Jim Walker, who is standing for the party in Central Scotland, said he was “mortified” after referring to First Minister Nicola Sturgeon as a “cow” on Twitter.
Despite the Survation study predicting a sixth place finish for the party, an Alba spokesperson remained upbeat on Thursday evening.
Reacting to the poll, they said: “After only three days since the launch of Scotland’s fastest growing party Alba’s scores are on the board.
“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.”
They added: “It is worth noting that Alba has already achieved, in three days, approaching half the level of support of the Liberal Democrats, a party which has existed for over a century.”
Polling expert Professor Sir John Curtice was less optimistic, telling the Press & Journal that: “it looks as though it’s all over for Salmond, though he might just get a seat in the north-east himself.
“But this is not what he needs if he is going to get his campaign to take off.”
The University of Strathclyde academic also said the polling could deflate Mr Salmond’s chances of appearing alongside other party leaders in future televised debates.
On Thursday the former First Minister wrote to broadcast regulator Ofcom to demand Alba’s inclusion in televised leaders’ hustings on STV and the BBC in the run-up to May’s vote.
“If other polls come out over the weekend with similar numbers then he ain’t going to get broadcast coverage,” Prof Curtice predicted, “because the broadcasters will be able to say ‘you’re not a significant player in this election’.”
He also said the polling showed the former First Minister’s new party was struggling to draw younger SNP voters.
“Among SNP 2019 voters,” he explained, “Sturgeon has 87 per cent favourability, Salmond has 12 per cent.”
“He’s not convincing them, he’s not getting his argument across to that key constituency,” Prof Curtice added.
The same polling found that almost half (49 per cent) of Scots backed the SNP in the constituency vote, with the Tories on 21 per cent, Labour on 20 per cent, and the Lib Dems on 9 per cent.
Reacting to the poll, the First Minister insisted that there was “no complacency” in the SNP ranks.
She told followers on Twitter that the polling was “strong”, but added that “#BothVotesSNP is essential” to “drive recovery”.
Prof Curtice said the poll was also “bad news for the Union”, pointing to the fact that the fall in support for the SNP in the wake of the Hamilton Inquiry was “statistically insignificant.”
He said: “Point one to note is that the immediate fallout from the Hamilton inquiry, the parliamentary inquiry and Salmond’s intervention is basically zero, because support for independence is at 50/50, which is what it’s been at for a while.
“Support for the SNP is also down by a statistically insignificant amount. On these numbers the SNP would just get a majority.”
He added: “So the attempts to inflict serious damage on the SNP and the independence movement through trying to nail Sturgeon over the parliamentary inquiry has failed.”
Welcoming the survey, SNP Depute Leader Keith Brown said the results showed why independence supporters needed to give both their votes to his party.
“To ensure Nicola Sturgeon is the First Minister to lead us out of the pandemic the people of Scotland need to give both votes to the SNP on May 6.
“These are serious times which need serious leadership and Nicola Sturgeon is the only credible candidate for First Minister.
“Just as she has led the nation through the past 12 months of crisis, she will lead us through recovery to build a happier, fairer, better Scotland and keep our NHS safe.
“In the first week of the campaign the SNP has set out bold new ideas to protect our NHS, create and support jobs, and take on the challenges in our society like child poverty.
"And when the Covid crisis is over people in Scotland deserve the right to decide whether or not they want to become an independent country so decisions about Scotland are made by the people who live here and not Boris Johnson.
“By giving both votes to the SNP we can re-elect Nicola Sturgeon as First Minister and put Scotland’s future in Scotland’s hands.”
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