Majority of Scots 'would vote against independence', new poll suggests

Scottish voters would reject independence if a referendum was held tomorrow, a new poll has suggested.

The snapshot survey showed 46% of people would vote to leave the UK, while 54% would vote to stay.

It is the first poll on independence of the year and comes after a number of polls towards the end of 2022 suggested a spike in support for Scotland leaving the UK in the wake of the Supreme Court judgement on 'Indyref2'.

However, the new poll took place before the UK Government used its Section 35 powers to block Holyrood's gender recognition reform legislation, triggering another constitutional dispute.

The latest poll was carried out by Survation for advisory company True North, with 1,002 Scots being surveyed between 10 January and 12 January.

It also asked respondents how they would vote if the next Westminster election was a "de facto referendum on Scottish independence".

Nicola Sturgeon, the first minister, has suggested using the next general election in this way.

Under this scenario, the SNP were on 45% of the vote when undecideds and those who would refuse to vote are removed - far below the 50% mark Ms Sturgeon would hope to reach.

Polling expert Professor Sir John Curtice said: "There is no evidence in the poll that fighting the next election as a de facto referendum would reduce the level of SNP support.

"Rather, slightly more voters (45%) say that they would vote for the SNP in that circumstance."

However, Mr Curtice said Friday's poll "suggests that the spike in support for independence registered after the Supreme Court judgement on indyref2 has proven to be temporary".

"In truth, if the SNP are going to win over 50% of the vote in either kind of election, the party will need first to persuade more people of the case for independence."

Ms Sturgeon's hopes of holding a second vote on independence were put on hold in November last year when the Supreme Court ruled Holyrood does not have the power to hold a referendum without the UK Government's permission.

The SNP leader said in the wake of the ruling that she intended to use the next general election as a de facto referendum on independence.

In a keynote address at the Business for Scotland annual dinner on Thursday evening, Ms Sturgeon said a recent move by Westminster to block gender reforms are a "full-frontal assault" on devolution and strengthens the case for Scottish independence.