AS one of the first Yes groups to test local opinion with a proper “on the ground” survey of views in its area, Yes Marchmont and Morningside in Edinburgh has been a bit of a trailblazer in the movement.

That’s why we are delighted to report the fairly staggering news that opinion on independence in what is a Unionist area appears to be on the turn, with direction of travel heading towards Yes or at least doubt about Scotland continuing in the UK.

Previous surveys in Morningside and Bruntsfield showed a solid majority for Scotland staying in the UK, but this time the adjacent area of Marchmont is showing strong evidence of opinions changing.

In Bruntsfield the proportion agreeing to the proposition that Scotland should leave the UK was 40% and in Morningside it was 36%.

The group have now completed their third survey of the ward, this time in Marchmont, where they interviewed 520 passers-by and got rather different results.

The group reported exclusively to The National: “We got 55% in favour of Scotland leaving the UK once the unsures – a high proportion at 27% – were taken out.

“We’re interpreting this as a distinct shift away from No, probably towards unsure: in 2014 we canvassed the area thoroughly and were getting around only 40% Yes.”

The surveys were done over four Saturdays in March at two locations, Roseneath Street, and the Marchmont Road/Spottiswoode Road junction between 11am and 1pm.

The group stated: “We found relatively strong support for Scotland leaving the UK, but also a high proportion who remain unsure about this.

“Although caution is needed in interpreting the results, they do suggest a shift of opinion since 2014, support for the Union having weakened towards unsure.

“This shift may well be related to the very strong opposition to Brexit in this area, which the great majority did not agree would bring financial benefits for Scotland.

“There is an overwhelming feeling that Scotland’s interests are not well represented in the Westminster Parliament: 89.5% of those expressing an opinion did not think Westminster was representing Scotland’s interests well.

“There is also very strong agreement with the proposition that Scotland has the resources to thrive as an independent country, with 75.9% in support among those expressing an opinion, though also much uncertainty on this, with 26% unsure.”

Their conclusion? “Arguably, we need to focus much more on the positive opportunities presented by independence, and reframe the argument in those terms.”