A YOUGOV poll on support for independence with “absurd” options will lead to “absurd interpretations”, according to a top public policy professor.

AN SNP staffer shared a screenshot of the survey which does not use the standard question “should Scotland be an independent country”, with the options Yes and No.

Instead the poll asks: “If there were another referendum on Scottish independence, how do you think you would vote?”

The answers provided include: “I would vote ‘Yes’ (leave the UK)”, “I would vote ‘No’ (stay in the UK)”, “would not vote” and “don’t know”.

In the next question participants are asked to select a statement they agree with out of the following: “Scotland should become independent, separate from the rest of the UK and the European Union”, “Scotland should become independent, separate from the res of the UK but part of the European Union”, “Scotland should remain part of the UK with its own elected parliament which has some taxation powers”, “Scotland should remain part of the UK with its own elected parliament which has no taxation powers”.

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The final question suggests abolishing Holyrood, reading: “Scotland should remain part of the UK without its own elected parliament.”

Online Yessers pointed out that the results of the poll, whenever they emerge, will not be comparable with other polls on independence support due to its unusual questions.

Public policy professor Mitchell asked: “Who dreamt up these options? Either inept or biased. Absurd options can only result in absurd interpretations.”

He added he would like to see a fuller range of options than the standard Yes/No – but said this particular selection was “nonsense”.

Former Labour MP Paul Sweeney told the professor “it’s time” to adjust polling beyond the binary and while Mitchell said he agreed, alternative options “need to be developed”.

He went on: “Calls for federalism designed simply for a press release are no longer acceptable."

Until the study’s results are published it will not be known who commissioned it.