Sir John Curtice claims the SNP are “not being helped” in a key regional seat where around two per cent of votes are thought to have been cast for Alex Salmond’s Alba Party.
The polling expert told BBC Good Morning Scotland that provided they do not lose any seats, there are three “crucial seats” the SNP need in order to get an overall majority, including a list seat in the Highlands and Islands region.
But he said they were “not being helped by the two per cent of the vote that is going to Alba” in the region.
He said: “They need to pick up a list seat in the Highlands and Islands which they might, they might not.”
Professor Curtice identified Aberdeenshire West as another key battleground for the SNP, with Fergus Mutch hoping to take the seat from the Tories.
The polling expert said, from results declared across Scotland, there is evidence of tactical voting in which “it looks as though some unionists have engaged”, suggesting the target seat could be “difficult” for the SNP to get.
He also argued the SNP need to pick up either the Galloway and West Dumfries constituency or one of the list seats in the South of Scotland region.
Professor Curtice said: “If all of those plums come into the SNP pie, they just hit 65 but certainly all three happening looks like a pretty remote possibility.”
However, he said Nicola Sturgeon’s party are “probably going to do a bit better than they did in 2016”, when they won 63 seats, two short of a majority.
He claimed that on the basis of around a dozen list votes from individual constituencies, the Scottish Greens were “probably not doing as well” as the 10 points suggested by some polls.
But Professor Curtice added they “may still put in a record performance and they should certainly be doing well enough to take the pro-independence majority well over the line”.