VOTERS in Scotland overwhelmingly agree that Nicola Sturgeon has a mandate to hold indyref2, a new poll has revealed.

The Panelbase survey, carried out for the ScotGoesPop! blog, and supported by The National, also reveals that a majority of people believe Brexit is a “big enough change” to justify holding that second referendum.

Yesterday we revealed how 52% of Scots would now vote Yes to Scottish independence. The poll sent shockwaves around Westminster. The veteran ITN broadcaster Robert Peston described it as the “first serious setback” for Boris Johnson.

The SNP leader has long argued that she already has an “unarguable” mandate to hold a new vote.

Following December’s election, where pro-independence MPs won most seats in Scotland, Nicola Sturgeon claimed that mandate had been “renewed, refreshed and strengthened”.

READ MORE: Kirsty Strickland: Sturgeon’s speech was anything but cautious

According to our new poll, most Scottish voters agree.

When asked if Brexit was a big enough change of circumstances to “justify holding a second independence referendum,” more than half of all voters – 56% – said yes.

When asked if the SNP winning 48 out of Scotland’s 59 Scottish seats in the House of Commons gives Sturgeon’s party a mandate from the Scottish people to hold a second independence referendum, 53% said yes, while 47% said no.

Writing in The National today, James Kelly of ScotGoesPop! suggests this is in part the fault of the Tories. However, he notes that Tory voters are keeping a distance from the promise emblazoned on most Tory campaigning materials.

“The only reason the result is even close is because of a near-unanimous rejection of the SNP’s mandate by a group of people who, on the face of it, proved most receptive to the argument that the holding of an indyref was on the ballot paper in the General Election.

READ MORE: Survation poll shows Yes support hit 50% for independence

Conservative leaflets told voters in apocalyptic terms that the election was the ‘last chance’ to stop a referendum, so you’d think people who actually voted Tory on that specific basis might now grudgingly feel compelled to acknowledge that Conservative losses and SNP gains meant there had been a popular endorsement of indyref2.

“But the poll shows that 95% of them take the opposite view. It’s hard not to conclude that they’ve been inculcated with a near-Trumpian mindset that will always regard the Tory mandate as stronger and more valid than the SNP mandate, regardless of how many more seats or votes the SNP actually win.”

The Tory leader has already categorically ruled out indyref2, telling the First Minister that he could not “agree to any request for a transfer of power that would lead to further independence referendums”.

Sturgeon has accused him of running scared. “If they had any confidence in the argument for the Westminster union, they would have no problem with the people of Scotland having the right to choose,” she said last Friday.

Yesterday, the UK’s leading pollster said a slew of recent surveys showed that Brexit had clearly put the Union at risk.

Sir John Curtice, of the University of Strathclyde, said our poll confirmed a trend showing a gradual increase in support for leaving the UK.

The Panelbase poll was the third published in the last week, showing support for Yes increasing. Survation put support for Yes at 50%, while YouGov had it at 51%.

READ MORE: Yes takes the lead in latest indyref YouGov poll

“The pursuit of Brexit is putting support for the Union at risk, that’s the very clear lesson,” Curtice said.

“There is no guarantee that the trend will continue but what we do need to understand is that it is being driven by Brexit,” the academic added.

“[The] difficulty for the Unionist position is that they say ‘we don’t think that the people of Scotland have the right to change their minds’.

“That won’t be sustainable if the trends we’re talking about go on much longer.”

SNP depute leader Keith Brown welcomed the poll’s findings. He told The National: “The SNP has a cast-iron democratic mandate to hold an independence referendum – that’s not a matter of opinion, it’s a matter of fact.”

He added: “An independence referendum is coming, and it will be a decision for the people of Scotland – not Boris Johnson or any other Westminster politician."