The Scottish Conservatives have slipped behind Labour in the race for second place in the Holyrood election, according to a new poll.
The Panelbase research for The Sunday Times and Heart FM suggest that the gap between the two parties is widening as Thursday’s vote approaches.
It follows several polls that put them neck and neck, leading to speculation the Tories could overtake Kezia Dugdale’s party as the official opposition in the Scottish Parliament.
The latest survey puts Labour six points clear of their Conservative rivals in the constituency vote, at 23 per cent and 17 per cent respectively.
The SNP retains a clear lead on 49 per cent, with support for the the Lib Dems on 6 per cent and the Greens on 3 per cent.
In the regional vote, backing for the SNP has slipped three points to 44 per cent, with Labour on 22 per cent ahead of the Tories on 19 per cent.
The Liberal Democrats are polling at 4 per cent, Ukip 3 per cent, the Greens 6 per cent and Rise 2 per cent.
John Curtice, professor of politics at Strathclyde University, told the Sunday Times: “While support for the Conservatives has largely held steady, it looks as though Labour may have been able to capture from the SNP some of those who were thinking of voting for Nicola Sturgeon but who are opposed to independence.
“Certainly the poll is a timely reminder to Ruth Davidson that her party’s chances of coming second have always seemed to rest much more on how badly Labour might do rather than how far the Conservatives might advance - and maybe Labour will not do quite so badly after all.”
The poll found a majority (53 per cent) of voters favour remaining in the UK with support for independence on 47 per cent.
However in the event of the UK voting to leave the EU, 52 per cent said they would back independence compared to 48 per cent who would not.
Panelbase interviewed 1,074 adults in Scotland between April 23 and 28.