MORE than half of voters in Scotland believe a fresh referendum on independence should go ahead in five years or less, according to a new poll.

The latest survey from Savanta ComRes also found only 16% think a new vote on leaving the UK should never be held.

The most popular options for holding indyref2 were in the next year or two years, at 18% and 19% respectively.

Another 15% said they believed in the next five years would be a suitable timescale.

The poll for The Scotsman, which was published last week, was also the 18th in a row to show majority support for independence, with backing for Yes at 57% excluding don’t knows.

SNP depute leader Keith Brown welcomed the findings, saying: “The growing momentum behind independence, and a fresh referendum on our future, is unstoppable.

“Scotland has been dragged out of the EU against our will by a right-wing Tory government we didn’t vote for.

“People in Scotland want the chance to choose a better future, inside the EU. Boris Johnson’s Trump-style attempts to deny democracy simply won’t stand.

“The longer the Tories run scared of democracy, the more support for independence will grow.”

The survey of 1016 people aged over 16, carried out between January 8 and 13, found 7% believed a referendum should take place in the next ten years, while 16% wanted it to be longer than a decade. Another 10% said they did not know.

The poll also found the SNP is on course for a majority at the next Holyrood election, with the party predicted to have the support of 53% of constituency votes and 44% of list votes.

That compares to 19% and 16% respectively for the Tories, and 18% for Labour in both the constituency and list votes.

If replicated in May, it would give the SNP a 13-seat majority.

Support for the Scottish Conservatives has fallen to the lowest level for almost five years, it suggested.

Overall, 59% of Scots have a more positive view of Sturgeon now than before the pandemic, including 46% of Scottish Labour voters and 36% of Scottish Tory supporters.

Chris Hopkins, the political research director at Savanta ComRes, said: “Our data shows that Sturgeon’s management of the pandemic has improved her reputation among significant chunks of 2019 Labour and Conservative voters, and the SNP’s response to the crisis has led recent Labour voters to consider the SNP in May.”