YET another major poll has recorded soaring support for Scottish independence.

A new Panelbase survey for the Sunday Times found 54% of Scots now back a Yes vote, with 46% opposed.

That represents a five-point surge in support for independence, and a five-point drop in support for the Union since the paper’s last poll in March.

Nicola Sturgeon’s handling of the coronavirus crisis has been credited with helping to convert Unionists, with triple the amount of people believing that she has handled the pandemic well compared to Boris Johnson.

The First Minister has an approval rating of +60 for her management of the crisis, while the PM’s rating in Scotland is -39.

Results from the poll of 1026 voters in Scotland, conducted between Tuesday and Friday, also suggest the SNP are on course for a landslide victory in next May’s Holyrood elections.

In the constituency vote the SNP are set to win 55%, four points higher since March, with the Tories on 20% (-6), Labour 15% (+1), the LibDems unmoved on 6% and Greens still at 3%.

In the regional proportional representation vote, the SNP are on 50% (+2), the Tories on 18% (-8%), Labour 15% (+2), the LibDems 6% (unchanged) and the Greens on 8% (+2).

READ MORE: Support for Scottish independence soars to 54 per cent

Polling expert John Curtice, professor of politics at Strathclyde university, predicts those results would see the SNP win a comfortable majority with 74 of 129 seats – 11 more than in 2016. The pro-independence Greens would also enjoy gains, increasing their share of seats to nine (+3).

Meanwhile, the Tories would drop to 24 (-7), Labour to 17 (-7) and the LibDems would be unchanged on five.

Curtice says the First Minister’s handling of the coronavirus pandemic is likely to have played a significant part in rising support for independence.

He added that the Scottish Government’s opposition to Brexit and Labour’s stance on indyref2 could also be contributing.

READ MORE: Independence is now 'established position of the people of Scotland'

He told the Sunday Times: “Never before have the foundations of public support for the Union looked so weak.

“Unsurprisingly, for many nationalists, the past three months have exemplified how Scotland could govern itself better as an independent, small country.

“More importantly, it may have persuaded some former Unionists of the merits of that claim, too.”

A Panelbase poll published two weeks ago, carried out on behalf of Business for Scotland, also put support for independence at 54%. Another survey by the firm  three weeks earlier recorded support for Yes at 52%.

SNP MP Pete Wishart commented: “Simply an amazing poll. Support for independence at 54%, support for the SNP at 55% (even 50% on the list). We have reached sustained majority independence support. This is becoming the settled will of the Scottish people.”