The poll for Channel 4 News gave the Treasury Secretary an eight-point lead over all Scots in the battle to succeed Nicola Sturgeon.
The poll of more than 1,500 Scottish voters, conducted this week on Monday and Tuesday, was released tonight ahead of the second televised husting.
It showed that almost a third of the public (32 percent) ranked Kate Forbes as the best First Minister of the three potential candidates.
24% of respondents named Mr. Yousaf the best First Minister, Ash Regan 8%.
Mr Yousaf was more popular with young voters and Ms Forbes more popular with the over-55s.
Significantly, the over-55s are the largest cohort among SNP members.
Among SNP voters in the 2021 Holyrood election, one in three (33%) said Mr Yousaf would make the best First Minister, while a further 32% said the same of Mr Forbes.
However, one in four members of the public said none of the contestants would be the best FM.
Today’s 30-minute head-to-head on Channel 4, hosted by Krishnan Guru-Murthy, will feature set issues and challenges between the three leaders of the NHS: the cost of living, independence, the economy, gender and sexual identity, and religious freedoms .
A Savanta poll of SNP members released last week put Mr Yousaf just ahead of Ms Forbes, with 31% backing the health minister, 25% the finance minister and 11% backing former community security minister Ms Regan.
MSP Jim Fairlie, who supports Ms Forbes, said: “The latest polls show only Kate can win the public vote. The broader constituency sees Kate as a trustworthy and talented leader with a track record of success.
“It’s no wonder the leaders of the opposition parties are scared – as we’ve seen from the First Minister’s questions.
“It is the members of the SNP who will choose a new party leader – and they will want to choose a winner.
“Kate will not take a single vote for granted and will continue to advocate that she is the strongest candidate for Scottish independence.”
Mr. Yousaf said: “This survey shows that the momentum is solid behind my positive campaign, which is built on the SNP’s progressive values platform.
“Having started the leadership race behind me, it’s great to see more and more members of our SNP family placing their trust in me as the voters’ choice.
“Our party needs a leader who will oppose Westminster’s sleazy power grabs and help build support in our independence movement to sustainable majority levels. I am that leader.
“Today’s poll is another boost to my message of positivity, unity and strength. I am the only candidate who has seen support and momentum growing each day as we move closer to the opening of the ballots on Monday, where I hope SNP
Members will make me their first choice for First Minister.
“I look forward to tonight’s televised debate and the rest of the campaign.”
https://www.heraldscotland.com/politics/23374090.kate-forbes-popular-candidate-snp-leadership-race-public/?ref=rss Kate Forbes Most Popular Contestant In The SNP Leadership Race With The Public