LEADING polling expert Professor John Curtice has revealed his analysis of the latest survey to put support for Scottish independence ahead of support for the Union.

Curtice appeared on Good Morning Scotland earlier today to give his thoughts on the Lord Ashcroft-commissioned poll, which put Yes support at 52% once undecideds were removed.

The study - the first to put Yes in the lead since March 2017 - has been called "phenomenal" by First Minister Nicola Sturgeon.

Curtice said the results were "encouragement" for the SNP, and equally a "warning to Unionists".

READ MORE: POLL: Scots want independence and they want to vote now

He also explained the results showed a change in views particularly among Remain voters.

He said: "You end up with a figure that’s all become rather familiar, 52% say Yes and 42% say No. Before Boris Johnson became Prime Minister and before it became very clear that he was going to pursue a No-Deal Brexit there were polls out there saying ‘well what you do if Britain leaves without a deal’, etc etc, ‘if Boris Johnson becomes Prime Minister’. And they all tended to find a small lead in favour of Yes.

"Well now we do have Boris Johnson as Prime Minister and yes indeed we have a government that hasn’t yet left without a deal, but certainly seems quite willing to do so, we do now have a poll showing a small – and one has to say a small – lead in favour of independence.

"Now, I think that’s what’s really interesting about this is that actually it looks as though this poll is further evidence that the swing in favour of Yes appears to be occurring particularly amongst Remain voters and, to that extent at least, this movement such as it is does seem to be tied up with attitudes towards Brexit. So if you look at the average of the polls done in the second half of last year amongst Remain voters, basically they split 50/50, 47% said they’d vote Yes, 47% said they’d vote No. Now in Lord Ashcroft’s poll we have 54% of Remain voters saying they would vote Yes and only 37% saying No.

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"If you do the equivalent analysis amongst those who voted Leave you do not find any change in support for independence at all. So there were already signs in the polling game before Boris Johnson became Prime Minister that Remain voters were beginning to swing in the Yes direction. This poll seems to confirm that that indeed is going on and perhaps has gone a little bit further."

Curtice added the poll showed a "very close result" and reminded listeners "it's only one poll", but went on to say that regardless the question of independence is on a knife edge. "The message to London has to be that it is indeed on a knife edge," he continued.

The political scientist also spoke on the timing of indyref2 since the poll revealed 47% of people want to vote in the next two years. Curtice said the Scottish Tory argument that indyref2 is not wanted any time soon "no longer has any clear evidential support".

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He went on: "The honest truth is if indeed the numbers stay at this, and it’s about 52/48, in a sequence of polls, the truth is we just now need more polls to confirm or deny this further movement has occurred. I mean, [Nicola Sturgeon] would be taking one very very substantial gamble in much the same way as those people who are arguing in favour of a People’s Vote on Brexit are taking a very large gamble because the polls on average at the moment, for across the UK as a whole, say 52% for Remain, 48% for Leave.
"When the polls are this close the honest answer is that nobody knows what the outcome of a referendum would be, it would depend on the campaign, it would depend on the circumstances, indeed it will depend on whether the UK does or does not end up leaving without a deal.

"But what one can say is that there is encouragement here for the SNP, that perhaps at last support for independence may be going up a bit in the wake of Brexit – and certainly a warning here to Unionists that they cannot assume that pursuing a No-Deal Brexit would not necessarily have consequences for the integrity of the Union."