Separating from the UK is now Scotland's "settled will", the SNP has claimed after an opinion poll showed support for independence has increased to a record 58 per cent.
The Ipsos Mori survey for STV said only 42 per cent would reject separation in another referendum, compared to the 55 per cent who voted No in 2014.
Almost two-thirds of Scots said the UK Government should allow another vote to be held within five years if the SNP wins a majority of seats in May's Holyrood election.
The poll also showed Ms Sturgeon is on course for a landslide victory, with support for the Nationalists at 58 per cent in the constituency vote and 47 per cent in the regional vote.
The Scottish Conservatives polled only 19 per cent in each, while support for Labour slumped to a dismal 13 per cent, despite its recent up-tick in fortunes in England under Sir Keir Starmer's leadership.
More than seven out of 10 Scots (72 per cent) of the Scottish public said they were satisfied with the job Ms Sturgeon is doing compared to 76 per cent who are dissatisfied with Boris Johnson.
In another worrying sign for Unionists, 52 per cent of people said they were convinced that Scotland's economy would be "stronger outside the UK than within it."
This is despite more than 60 per cent of Scottish trade being with the rest of the UK and major questions over how a separate Scotland would pay for the tens of billions of pounds required for currency reserves and the annual balance of payments.
The end of the UK? Highest EVER recorded support for independence in Scotland (58%) pic.twitter.com/7Cengc1pfD
— Ben Page, Ipsos MORI (@benatipsosmori) October 14, 2020
The Prime Minister's spokesman said the issue had been settled in "once-in-a-generation" vote, while the Scottish Tories said another vote would damage effort to rebuild the country following the pandemic.
But the poll, the latest in a series of surveys showing majority support for separation, prompted an ecstatic response from the SNP and pro-independence Scottish Greens.
Keith Brown, the SNP's depute leader, said: "This is a landmark poll which shows that independence has now become the settled will of the majority of people in Scotland.
"Already, the Westminster wall of opposition to a referendum has started to crumble, with private acknowledgement that a result like this in next year’s election would have to lead to a referendum, and this poll will only solidify that growing view."
Ms Sturgeon tweeted that she had "never been more certain" that Scotland will leave the UK but warned her supporters this "mustn't be taken for granted."
To my fellow @theSNP members - this level of support is hard earned but mustn’t be taken for granted. Stay focussed & independence will follow - I’ve never been more certain.
But our, my, immediate responsibility is to lead Scotland through COVID - right now, nothing matters more https://t.co/GCVTvzQQIy
— Nicola Sturgeon (@NicolaSturgeon) October 14, 2020
The poll found 64 per cent agreed Scots "want to take the country in a very different political direction to England" and 63 per cent that "Westminster cannot be trusted to act in Scotland's interests."
But 60 per cent said the home nations "still have more in common than divides us" and 55 per cent agreed leaving the UK "would be a major risk for Scotland's economy and jobs."
The Prime Minister’s spokesman said: “The issue of independence was settled when the Scottish people voted decisively to remain part of a strong United Kingdom. This was a once in a generation vote and it must be respected.
“The pandemic response has shown the great benefits of having a strong United Kingdom. It has allowed us to put in place unprecedented levels of support for Scottish jobs and Scottish industry."
A Scottish Tory spokesman said: "Another divisive referendum would only take the focus away from rebuilding Scotland's economy, protecting jobs and restoring our schools and hospitals."