SCOTS are more confident in the economic prospects of independence than ever before, the latest survey for the National Centre for Social Research has revealed.

Pollsters found that 41% of people viewed independence as a positive for Scotland’s economy, up from 26% in 2014.

In the six years the centre has been asking that question, it’s the first time more people think that Scotland’s economy would be better as a result of independence than believe it would be worse.

The social attitude questionnaire also revealed that there had been “similar improvements... in people’s perceptions of the consequences of independence for how much pride people would have in their country and (especially) for the strength of Scotland’s voice in the world.”

That’s jumped up from 33% in 2014 to 49% in 2017

Although the poll showed little impact on support for a Yes vote as a result of the Brexit vote, independence (48%) was the most popular choice for how Scotland should be governed if the other two choices were devolution or no parliament.

The report’s authors, John Curtice, and Ian Montagu, say while the 2016 referendum on Europe has made little impact on the question of Scotland’s constitution, it has brought “about the emergence of a degree of alignment in Scotland between attitudes towards independence and those towards the European Union, whereas no such alignment existed before.”

The means the independence movement in Scotland is now “more of a pro-European movement at grassroots level than was previously the case.”

That, however, has hampered the SNP, costing the party support from some of those who voted Yes in 2014 and SNP in 2015 but who were sceptical about the EU and may well have voted Leave in 2016.

That was compounded with a “somewhat revived Scottish Labour Party” who won the support of some of the 18-34s who backed independence.

The SNP were also hit by a hike in Tory support from Eurosceptics. Curtice and Montagu said the party attracted the support of more than one in four Eurosceptics, but only around one in ten Europhiles.

Intriguingly, Curtice says while “the coalition that resulted in a 45% vote for independence in 2014 has been unsettled… if it were put back together again, perhaps when the future of Brexit is clearer, it could yet still raise questions about the future integrity of the UK.”

Commenting, SNP Business Convener Derek Mackay said it proved Scotland was within reach.

“More people across Scotland now think that independence will benefit our economy than those who think it will be negative – and more and more people across Scotland believe that independence will give us a stronger voice in the world,” he said.

The Finance Minister added: “Independence is now the most popular constitutional option, with an overall majority for independence within touching distance.”