Scotland Election: SNP on course for victory, poll suggests, but will it be enough for a second independence referendum?

ITV News Scotland Correspondent Peter Smith explains the different potential outcomes of the election

The Scottish National Party (SNP) is on course for a majority when Scotland heads to voting booths on Thursday, an STV News poll has revealed.

The number 65 is key, with Nicola Sturgeon's party setting that figure as the necessary win to secure what they believe will be a mandate for a second independence referendum.

The final election poll by Ipsos MORI for STV News has given a seat projection of 68 for the SNP.

The IPSOS Mori poll for STV projects a 68 seat win for Nicola Sturgeon's party. Credit: STV/IPSOS MORI

If the figure comes to fruition, it would give the party 79 pro-independence MSPs.

The poll authors have urged caution around interpreting the seat projection, with factors like turnout on the day having the potential to sway results.

Emily Gray, managing director of Ipsos MORI Scotland, said: "Whether there will be a SNP majority or not hangs in the balance."

She added: "The election result may come down to how the parties perform in a small number of key marginal seats, as well as in the regional vote, which is likely to prove particularly important in determining which party is in second place.

"With a relatively high percentage of voters still saying they’ve not definitely decided, all the parties still have something to play for tomorrow."

Based on the poll, former first minister Alex Salmond’s new party Alba would probably fail to win a seat with just 2% of the regional vote.

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Voting takes place across Scotland between 7am and 10pm on Thursday.

The count, however, won't start until Friday morning due to the Covid pandemic.

Final results are not expected to be known until Saturday afternoon at the earliest, with some declarations possibly not coming until Sunday.