Forbes most favoured among Scots but Yousaf leads SNP voters, poll suggests

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Kate Forbes is viewed more favourably by the general public but Humza Yousaf is most popular among SNP voters, a new poll has suggested as the two vie for the party’s leadership.

With just days left in the contest to succeed Nicola Sturgeon in Bute House, Ipsos Scotland released a survey of 1,023 Scots carried out between March 17 and 21 – 427 of whom voted for the SNP at the last Holyrood election.

According to the poll, Mr Yousaf is the most popular among SNP voters, with a net favourability of 11%, compared to 6% for his rival.

But Ms Forbes can lay claim to the highest net popularity among the general public with -8%, compared to the Scottish Health Secretary’s -20%.

Former minister Ash Regan polled the worst of the three candidates.

Widely viewed as an outsider for the job, Ms Regan had a net favourability of -24% among the general population and -7% with SNP voters.

The SNP leadership contest will end on Monday, with the election of a new first minister slated for Tuesday.

Meanwhile, the outgoing First Minister’s popularity has increased in the past month.

In the same poll in February, Ms Sturgeon’s favourability was 4% – and that rose to 8% in the most recent survey.

The First Minister continued to be the most popular political leader in the UK, according to the poll, with Scottish Labour leader Anas Sarwar on -4%, UK Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer on -9%, Prime Minister Rishi Sunak on -37% and Scottish Conservative leader Douglas Ross on -39%.

Nicola Sturgeon
Nicola Sturgeon’s popularity has increased in the past month, according to the poll (PA)

The March survey put the SNP’s net favourability at -1%, compared to 0% the month before and 1% in October.

Regardless, the party remains the most popular in Scotland, with Scottish Labour on -4% – a drop from 0% last month – and the Scottish Conservatives on -42%.

Responding to the poll, Mr Yousaf said it proved he had the “momentum” to win the contest.

“It’s great to see that yet another poll has confirmed that I’m SNP voters’ favourite to become the next party leader and first minister of Scotland,” he said.

“Momentum is crucial as we head into the final days of the campaign, and importantly this poll demonstrates that support for my progressive campaign is growing.

“But there will be no complacency – I will be speaking to SNP members every day until voting closes on Monday to outline my vision to unite our movement and party through strong leadership and grow support for independence through radical policies in government.”

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