THE latest poll on Scottish independence found a seven-point lead for people wanting to leave the Union.

ITV’s Tonight programme commissioned Savanta ComRes to carry out the survey on attitudes to the Union in England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland.

The study found 53% of Scots support leaving the UK, and the highest level of support for Welsh independence ever recorded. In Scotland, 71% of respondents said the country would fare better as an independent nation.

READ MORE: Survation independence poll: Half of Scots support Yes vote

Meanwhile more than a third of older English adults said they wouldn’t care if Scotland became independent.

Savanta ComRes also revealed that 43% of people in Northern Ireland would vote to reunify with the Republic.

Since last year there have been 21 consecutive polls showing majority support for Scottish independence – on Sunday, a survey putting No and Yes neck and neck interrupted that trend.

READ MORE: Mark McGeoghegan: Latest poll should be a wake-up call but catastrophe is not on the horizon

The Tonight programme spoke to voters about how their views on the Union have changed. 

One woman, Deni Smith, voted No in 2014 but now feels disconnected from Westminster. Meanwhile she described Nicola Sturgeon as the "Mother of Scotland".

"Boris Johnson just doesn’t portray what Scotland portrays. He kind of curls me a little bit," she told the show.

"Whereas Nicola Sturgeon I think is a warm hug. I think she’s got her arms around us and she’s completely cared for us though this whole time."

READ MORE: Greens' Patrick Harvie gives position on no-confidence vote in Nicola Sturgeon

SNP depute leader Keith Brown commented on the poll: "People in Scotland have the right to decide their own future, in a post-pandemic referendum.

"The issue at the very heart of the election in May will be who has the right to decide what sort of country we should be after the pandemic - the people of Scotland or Boris Johnson?

“While recent polls do make for encouraging reading, the SNP is taking absolutely nothing for granted. We will continue to work hard for the people of Scotland, and deliver what’s best for the country as we look to recover from this pandemic.

“As an independent country we will be in a partnership of equals with the rest of the UK instead of having to put up with Westminster governments, led by the likes of Boris Johnson, we don’t vote for."

The National:

In his analysis for National Extra, pollster Mark McGeoghegan said there had been media overreaction to Sunday's Survation poll showing a 50/50 split.

"If you take the Sunday Mail’s front page at face value, the independence movement and the SNP are in crisis, with independence support 'plunging'. But that’s not even close to what the poll shows," he wrote.

"Compared to Survation’s January poll, support for independence is down two percentage points, and support for the Union is up one. Both of those changes are within the "margin of error" – in other words, they are as likely to be random statistical noise as they are to reflect real changes in public opinion. Survation tend to find lower Yes support than other pollsters, and that hasn’t changed," he explained.

However he said it wouldn't be appropriate for Yessers to ignore the polls. Internal SNP splits have started slipping through to the public, he wrote, with a fifth of 2019 SNP voters and the same proportion of Yes voters saying they are less favourable towards the party because of the Salmond inquiry.

This latest survey for ITV was carried out between February 18 and 22. Savanta ComRes interviewed 1008 Scottish adults, 1003 Welsh adults and 510 Northern Irish adults.