SUPPORT for independence continues to be the majority position in Scotland, according to the latest poll on the issue.

Released today, the Ipsos MORI/STV poll is the twenty-second in a row to show that most Scots want their country to become independent.

It found that 52% of voters would say Yes if the referendum were held tomorrow. This is a slight slip from the 56% the same company found in November 2020.

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With Don't Knows (7%) included, 48% of voters would support Yes while 44% would support staying in the Union.

The results also show that 56% of Scots believe that Westminster should grant a Section 30 order for a referendum should the SNP win a majority at the Holyrood elections in May.

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The polling also contains bad news for the Tory party, who have frequently claimed that voters do not want the issue of independence to be at the fore of the upcoming parliamentary vote.

Ipsos MORI found that independence is seen as the most important issue in helping people decide which party to vote for (44%), followed by education (32%), healthcare/ NHS (25%) and then the coronavirus (20%).

The data set notes that these were "spontaneous, top-of-mind responses", meaning people were not prompted or given options when asked for the key issues in their eyes.

When the results are divided by party, the results show that Conservative voters are the most likely to consider Scottish independence a key factor when choosing which party to support. 

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Respondents were asked: "Looking ahead to the Scottish Parliamentary election, which, if any, issues do you think will be very important to you in helping you decide which party to vote for?"

A total of 51% of Tory voters cited independence or devolution, while 48% of SNP supporters and 39% of Labour ones said the same. It was the most important issue for supporters of all three of the main political parties in Scotland.

On the issue of holding a second referendum, support for the UK Government's refusal to grant a Section 30 order has fallen by eight percentage points since October 2020.

The Ipsos MORI/STV poll found that 41% of Scots now support Westminster's current position. 56% believe an SNP majority would be a mandate for a second referendum within the next parliamentary term.

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A similar number (42%) of people say that, should Westminster refuse a Section 30 order despite an SNP majority, the Scottish Government should just accept that position and move on.

One-third (34%) of Scots think the Edinburgh Government should take the UK Government to court to try and establish a legal basis for holding a referendum, while 18% say the Scottish Government should hold a "wildcat" referendum without the UK Government’s consent.

Emily Gray, managing director of Ipsos MORI Scotland, commented: "This latest poll from Ipsos MORI and STV News shows a fall in support for independence, and a corresponding increase in support for staying in the Union – though Yes still has a four-point lead over No.

"That’s important for Scotland’s political parties, since independence is the top issue voters say will help them make up their minds about which party to vote for in May’s Holyrood elections."

Ipsos MORI interviewed a representative sample of 1031 adults aged over 16 across Scotland with the data weighted to represent the profile of the population. Interviews were conducted by telephone from February 15 to 21, 2020.