EVEN No voters think Scotland would have been to able cope with the coronavirus crisis better if it was an independent country, Professor Sir John Curtice has said. 

Speaking on Times Radio, the polling guru said that while Brexit meant rising support for a Yes vote pre-dated the pandemic, perceptions of Nicola Sturgeon's handling of coronavirus were "frankly close to being sky high".

The Strathclyde University academic said unionists should "have been worried about the opinion polls for quite a while, not waiting till July, which seems to be the position of the UK Government."

He told the show's host, Calum Macdonald, that the covid crisis is "the most important public policy that the devolved Scottish Government has had to deal with" in the last 21 years.

"Perceptions of Nicola Sturgeon's handling of coronavirus are frankly close to being sky high. 

"Her personal standing, more broadly now in terms of how well she's doing as First Minister, is as high as it's been since he became first became First Minister back in the back end of 2014.

"Meanwhile, Boris Johnson is just frankly thought to have handled coronavirus badly. And it looks as though - although this is somewhat more circumstantial - given that also when you ask people whether or not an independent Scotland would have handled coronavirus better, even amongst No voters, there's about 20% who say, 'actually, I think it would have done'.

"It looks as though what's happened in the last three months is that some people say 'well actually you know what, I think maybe an independent Scotland might be able to govern itself a bit better. 

"And that's just added another three or 4% to the 50% that was already there. 

"So it's basically a two part story. Brexit, is the thing that as it were, that created the hole in the damn and coronavirus is what enabled quite a few more voters to rush through the hole that was created."