THE new YouGov poll is, in a sense, the final piece in the jigsaw. Three Panelbase polls in a row showing a clear pro-independence majority, and two in a row putting Yes at an unprecedentedly high level of support, had already left little room for doubt. 

But until those findings were corroborated by another polling firm, there was always just a small chance that there was some sort of "house effect" at play. YouGov putting Yes at 53% amply provides that corroboration, and it's now possible to say with an exceptionally high degree of confidence that a record-breaking percentage of the Scottish population has got behind independence over recent weeks and months.

As far as the Holyrood constituency numbers are concerned, YouGov actually estimate an even higher level of SNP support than the recent Panelbase polls reported. It remains to be seen whether this apparent additional surge, taking the party to the dreamland territory of 57%, is a house effect of YouGov's own. But given that support for both independence and the SNP increased in the early summer due to focus on the Scottish Government's assured handling of the pandemic, it's at least plausible that there has been a further increase as that focus has persisted. 

READ MORE: Yes support soars as SNP set for record Holyrood majority

There's a good reason for the Unionist parties' panic-stricken pleas for the televised government briefings to be ended.

Perhaps the poll's most significant finding of all is the desire for a second independence referendum to be held. For reasons that aren't entirely clear, YouGov have in recent years consistently reported lower support for a second referendum than other firms such as Panelbase. But their long-used question wording about whether there should be a referendum in the next five years has now produced a majority in favour (after Don't Knows are excluded) for a second poll in a row, and indeed that majority has widened. 

A separate question shows a plurality in favour of holding a referendum as early as next year if the SNP win a majority of Holyrood seats in May.

Unionists will perhaps cling to a question that shows narrow opposition to a referendum if a Section 30 order is not granted. But the reality is that the wording of that question is shockingly poor - it misleadingly implies that the Scottish Parliament definitely doesn't have the powers necessary to hold a referendum at the moment. Effectively asking whether a parliament should exceed its legal powers was only ever likely to produce one result - although the fact that the result was so close (44% to 38%) confirms that the appetite for an indyref is exceptionally strong in some quarters.  

The National: The Keir Starmer paradox is more pronounced in ScotlandThe Keir Starmer paradox is more pronounced in Scotland

To get a more meaningful sense of whether the public would want the Scottish Government to push ahead with a consultative referendum in the absence of a Section 30 order, the question needs to make clear that legal opinions differ on whether Holyrood has the power to do that. A Panelbase poll commissioned by my blog at the start of the year posed the question in that way, and got a strikingly different result.

The "Starmer paradox" we've seen in recent Britain-wide polls is even more pronounced in Scotland, if YouGov are to be believed. The new Labour leader is reasonably well regarded north of the Border, with 39% of respondents thinking he has done well, and only 25% thinking he has done badly. But that hasn't helped his party recover to even the lowly level of support secured by Jeremy Corbyn at the General Election. It may be that Labour have simply become an irrelevance for many voters, and are no longer even being considered as a serious option.