The Panelbase survey recorded an increase of three points in the Yes vote, up from 46 per cent to 49 per cent, and a fall in the No vote, down three points from 48 per cent to 45 per cent, since August, with six per cent undecided in both cases. When “don’t knows” were excluded, support for independence was at 52 per cent compared with 48 per cent to remain within the UK.
The poll follows four others indicating a lead for independence after last month’s Supreme Court ruling that the Scottish Parliament cannot legislate for a referendum without the consent of Westminster.
The survey found voters are sceptical about First Minister Nicola Sturgeon’s strategy of treating the next general election as a “de facto” referendum, with just 26 per cent of respondents wanting the SNP to press ahead with the plan. The strategy has been questioned by some SNP politicians, particularly wihtin the Westminster group of MPs under the new leadership of Stephen Flynn. The SNP has said it will hold a special conference in March to set out its routemap towards independence.
Kirsten Oswald, the party’s business convener, said: “More and more people recognise independence not just as desirable but necessary.”
Donald Cameron, the Scottish Conservatives’ shadow constitution secretary, said: “The SNP aren’t a party of government but are more obsessed with campaigning for independence.”