THE majority of Scots believe independence is inevitable in the coming years, new research suggests.

A Panelbase poll for the Sunday Times asked voters for their views on the constitution and another referendum.

It found 38% of Scots believe the country will become independent in five to 10 years. A further 17% expect it within 10 to 15 years and 8% think it will happen in 20 to 30 years – meaning a total of 63% expect Scotland to leave the Union in the coming years.

A total of 28% said they don’t expect independence at any point in the next few decades, while 9% were undecided.

Overall, the survey of 1013 adults found they were split on the question of independence, with 46% in favour and 47% opposed.

When "don't knows" are excluded, this put the weighted support for both Yes and No at 50% each.

READ MORE: Cut the bluster and come clean on indyref plans, Boris Johnson told

Respondents were also asked about the timing of another referendum.

One in four (25) believe one should take place within 12 months, while almost one in three (30%) think a vote should be held within two to five years.

However, 45% said there should not be another vote “in the next few years”.

It comes after Ian Blackford said he wanted a second referendum to take place “as quickly as is practically possible”.

If the SNP win in May’s Scottish Parliament elections, he said a referendum Bill, which will be published “over the coming weeks” could then be enacted.

The SNP Westminster leader added that meant if a Bill was passed in June “it could be the case we could face a referendum as early as late 2021”.

Yet he stressed: “Of course, what I would say is that the first priority of the Government is dealing with the Covid crisis, it’s about keeping people safe, it’s about the acceleration that we’ve seen with the vaccine programme, it’s about taking off the measures of lockdown as and when we can.

“When we’ve got to that position of safety, that would be the right time to have the referendum.”

The Panelbase research put the SNP on track to win a majority in the Holyrood election, but by a margin of just one seat.

The SNP stood at 47% for the constituency vote, with the Conservatives on 23%, Labour on 20%, the Liberal Democrats on 7% and the Greens on 2%.

For the regional list vote, the SNP were on 38%, the Conservatives on 20%, Labour on 17% and both the LibDems and Greens on 6%.

Speaking at the Scottish Tory conference on Saturday, Ruth Davidson accepted that “barring a complete implosion” the SNP would emerge from the ballot as the largest party.

She argued it would be “vital” to prevent a majority government because it was “the only way to be certain that Scotland isn’t dragged back into another independence referendum when we all need to be focusing on building a recovery from the pandemic”.

During his speech to the conference, Boris Johnson is expected to make clear that he will not agree to indyref2, even if the SNP win a majority in May’s election.

That’s despite Jacob Rees-Mogg admitting there is a risk to his party “stubbornly opposing” an independence referendum.

The Leader of the House of Commons also stated no-one has said “there will never ever be another referendum again”.

READ MORE: Jacob Rees-Mogg warns Tories of risk of 'stubbornly opposing' indyref2

Commenting on the Panelbase poll, SNP depute leader Keith Brown said: “If Scottish voters back the SNP’s plan to hold a post-pandemic referendum, then the Tories have no right to block it.

“The Tories are in panic mode and running scared of democracy, but today’s poll shows that Boris Johnson’s Trump-like attempts to block a referendum are completely unsustainable.

“In seven weeks, voters have the chance to decide who should be in charge of Scotland’s COVID recovery – a Scottish Government democratically elected by the people of Scotland, or a Tory government at Westminster that we didn’t vote for led by the likes of Boris Johnson."

Scottish Constitution Secretary Michael Russell has urged the Prime Minister to “cut the bluster” around a second independence referendum and tell voters if he believes another vote should never be allowed.

He said: “I’m challenging Boris Johnson to make his position crystal clear: does he accept that Scotland has the democratic right to choose independence in a post-pandemic referendum – or is his position that the people should never be allowed to choose their own future under any circumstances?

“In true Trump-like fashion, Boris Johnson will address Tory party members today and signal that should they lose the Holyrood election in May – then he simply won’t recognise the result.

“But privately, the Prime Minister and his colleagues know that a Trump-like bid to deny democracy is untenable and unacceptable – which is why they are so busy in the background making plans on how to contest an independence referendum.”