ONE of Scotland’s leading pollsters has given his assessment of a new survey which found support for independence at 54%, with a significant shift in opinion towards Yes among the middle class and previously undecided voters.

Support for Scottish independence is now the highest it has been since August 2015, when Ipsos Mori recorded 55% of Scots would vote Yes if another referendum was held.

Mark Diffley, who ran both polls, pointed out that 69% of those under 35 were now saying they would vote Yes in addition to 41% of those aged 55 or over. He also noted that social class difference appeared to be less significant in terms of how people were likely to vote in a new referendum than was the case in the 2014 plebiscite, when people on higher incomes tended to back the Union.

“Social class less significant in poll – 49% of ‘middle class’ voters say would vote Yes – pretty significant shift,” he wrote on Twitter.

Diffley pointed out too that in further significant changes from the 2014 referendum, almost a quarter of No voters would now vote Yes, while less than 10% of Yes voters would change their vote to No.

He also noted that among people who didn’t vote almost six years ago, 56% said they would now vote Yes, while 44% would vote No.

“Finally, movement ref 2014 really interesting. 23% of No voters now saying Yes versus 9% moving Yes to No. 56% of those who didn’t vote in 2014 would vote Yes, 44% No,” Diffley added.

The poll was commissioned by the pro-independence organisation Business for Scotland and was conducted by the polling company Panelbase. The polling company carried out an online survey of 1070 Scots from June 15 to 19.

It found that excluding undecideds, 54% of voters would vote for independence, while 46% would back the Union.

It is the highest result since 53% backed independence in September 2015 after the General Election, which returned a Tory majority.

The change comes a fortnight after the Scottish Labour leadership reaffirmed the party’s opposition to a second referendum.

The Scottish Government planned to hold a second independence referendum this year but paused plans for the vote at the outset of the coronavirus pandemic.

A debate over the process of how to achieve independence is also taking place. Ahead of the 2014 referendum – won by the Union side by 55% to 45% – Former First Minister Alex Salmond struck a deal with prime minister David Cameron for powers to be temporarily transferred to Holyrood to hold the legally binding vote.

However, Boris Johnson has repeatedly rejected a demand by Nicola Sturgeon for a Section 30 order, insisting Scotland’s constitutional future was settled in 2014.

His rejection of the First Minister’s demand has prompted some in the SNP – including senior Inverclyde councillor Chris McEleny and MP Angus MacNeil, to suggest the need for an alternative way to achieve independence.

But Plan B has been met by some criticism. The SNP’s Pete Wishart has said it could result in Scotland being stuck in a Catalonian situation, where people voted for independence but were unable to achieve it.