MORE than half of all Scottish voters want independence, according to a “phenomenal” new poll.

The survey, the first since Boris Johnson moved into Number 10, puts support for Yes at 46% against 43% for remaining in the Union.

When the don’t knows are removed, support for independence rises to 52%.

And in a blow to Unionist politicians who have long claimed there is no appetite for a second vote, 47% of voters told pollsters they want indyref2 in the next two years. Just 45% said there should be no independence referendum.

READ MORE: BBC Scotland under fire over failure to report Ashcroft indy poll

The poll, commissioned by former Tory donor Lord Ashcroft and published by Holyrood magazine, is the first to show a lead for independence since a March 2017 Ipsos-Mori poll.

Much of the shift from No to Yes has come from Labour voters and Remain supporters. Around 18% of those who voted No in 2014, said they would now vote Yes.

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon described the poll as “phenomenal”.

The Scottish Government, she said, had “a very clear mandate from the people of Scotland – to give them the choice of a better future with independence.”

Sturgeon added: “It would be a democratic outrage for any Tory government to deny that, and this poll shows such an anti-democratic position is completely unsustainable.”

The findings of the Ashcroft poll echoed a Panelbase poll taken during the Tory leadership campaign that suggested 53% of Scottish voters would back independence if Johnson became Prime Minister.

Last week, during his trip to Scotland, Johnson refused to rule out a new vote but said it would “be wrong to go back on the promise to the people of the United Kingdom but above all to the people of Scotland – that when they went out to the polls in 2014 it was a once in a generation consultation.”

The National: Boris Johnson visit to Scotland

Ashcroft’s poll revealed that most Scots now believe independence is inevitable. Some 52% of those asked said Yes would win, while 30% think voters would opt to stay in the Union.

Incredibly, even 38% of Tory voters believe that Brexit makes it more likely that Scotland will become independent in the foreseeable future – and 66% of Labour voters agree.

Only 9% of voters believe Brexit strengthens the case for Scotland remaining part of the UK.

READ MORE: Landmark poll for Yes campaign is a breakthrough that has been on the cards

In his analysis, professor Sir John Curtice said that the next few months “look set to be challenging times for those who believe that Scotland should remain part of the Union.”

The psephologist said that as well as the Ashcroft survey, four polls conducted between April and June on average put Yes on 48% and No on 52%, but he added, more polling would need to be done.

“Of course, what is just a relatively small swing could simply reflect no more than the chance variation to which all polling is subject.

“If Scotland is indeed more or less evenly divided in its attitudes towards independence we can anticipate that some polls will put Yes ahead while others indicate the opposite.

“We will certainly need the apparent swing registered by Lord Ashcroft’s poll confirmed by other polls before we can draw very firm conclusions. However, in the meantime one key feature of this poll should be noted, that is, that it adds to the already existing evidence that opposition to Brexit is fuelling increased support for independence.”

READ MORE: First Minister: Indyref2 will be sooner rather than later

The Ashcroft poll also revealed that, unsurprisingly, Johnson is popular among those who voted Leave, but is deeply unpopular among those who voted Remain.

Asked to say what they thought of the Prime Minister by giving him a score of between 0 and 100, Leave voters on average gave him a score of 50, while Remain voters awarded him a mark of just 13.

Asked whether Johnson or Jeremy Corbyn would make the best prime minister, 29% named Johnson, while 23% said Corbyn would be better suited. Damningly, 48% said they weren’t sure.