Support for Scottish independence has increased to 58%, a new poll suggests, continuing an upward trend in recent months.
The new survey of 1,045 people by Ipsos MORI for STV is the latest in a line of polls showing a steady uptick in support for independence over the past six months.
When undecided voters are removed, as has been the case in past polls, 58% were in support of leaving the UK.
Surveys by a number of pollsters over the summer and early autumn have shown a shift to majority support for independence.
Before removing undecided voters, support for independence remained strong at 55%, with 39% against and 6% saying they do not know.
SNP depute leader Keith Brown said the new figures show independence is now the “settled will” of the Scottish people, adding a pro-independence majority in next year’s Holyrood election should lead to another vote on leaving the UK.
He said: “Faced with the chaotic and incompetent government of Boris Johnson and a Westminster system which treats Scotland as an afterthought at best, more and more people are deciding that the best way forward for Scotland is as an equal, independent country.
“And if there is a clear majority for pro-independence, pro-referendum parties in next year’s election – as this poll shows there would be by some considerable margin – then no Tory or any UK Government has the right to stand in the way.
“Quite simply, in those circumstances, the Tories would lack any moral or democratic authority whatsoever to try to block the will of the people and it would not stand.”
First Minister Nicola Sturgeon was found to be the most trusted among the UK’s political leaders, with a net positive of 49% among those asked – compared to Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s net negative of 58%.
When asked about the poll at the Scottish Government coronavirus briefing in Edinburgh on Wednesday, Ms Sturgeon played it down, stressing her focus is on containing the disease.
She said: “Right now, I’d trade away approval ratings to get rid of Covid.”
The First Minister added: “Nothing else matters to me just now than taking the hard necessary decisions that I need to take to get the country through this challenging period as well as I possibly can and that’s what I’ll continue to stay focused on for every minute of every day for as long as it takes.”
A mapping of voting intentions for next year’s Holyrood election continues to put the SNP well in front, with 58% in the constituency vote and 48% in the list vote of all those who declared a voting intention.
Scottish Greens co-leader Patrick Harvie, whose party polled at 9% in the list vote, said: “It’s clear that the Scottish Greens’ constructive approach to opposition is appreciated by the public.
“From Scotland’s fairer tax system, to the reversal of unfair exam grades and free bus travel for young people from next year, we’ve worked constructively to make Scotland a fairer country.
“This poll also shows support for independence at its highest ever point.
“It’s clearer than ever that the UK simply isn’t working for Scotland and that we must take our future into our own hands to build a better Scotland.”
Former Scottish Labour general secretary Brian Roy tweeted: “Scottish Labour’s outright opposition to a second independence referendum is looking increasingly unsustainable.
“You can oppose indy and #indyref2 while still accepting its democratic legitimacy.
“The question now, for me, is how and when another vote should take place.”
A spokesman for the Scottish Tories said: “Another divisive referendum would only take the focus away from rebuilding Scotland’s economy, protecting jobs and restoring our schools and hospitals.
“Only Douglas Ross and the Scottish Conservatives have the strength to stop the SNP and move Scotland on from the divisions of the past.”