YES has taken a narrow lead in the latest poll on Scottish independence.

An Opinium study for Sky News found 51% of Scots would vote Yes, with 49% opposed once undecided voters were removed.

The results are based on research carried out this week.

The survey also put the SNP on track to win a landslide victory in May’s election, though perhaps not enough to secure a majority.

READ MORE: Scotland in Union panned over new Scottish independence poll

Asked about the Holyrood vote, the SNP were backed by 46% of respondents for the constituency ballot. The Tories were on 24%, Labour 20%, LibDems 6% and the Greens 4%.

For the regional list, the poll put the SNP on 42%, Tories on 22%, Labour on 19%, the Greens on 7% and Lib Dems on 5%.

Using a uniform swing calculator, a crude method to predict the number of seats using the percentage share of the vote, Opinium concluded the poll results would mean the SNP gain one seat to reach 64, but would be one short of a majority.

The Tories would be down two to 29 seats, Labour unchanged on 24 seats and the Greens up one seat to seven.

Opinium interviewed 1096 Scottish adults online for Sky News from 11 to 16 March.

READ MORE: Michael Russell doubles down on independence referendum pledge

The research found Scots are split on the question of another independence referendum, with 46% stating there should be a referendum before 2026 but 47% stating there shouldn't be if the SNP win an overall majority in May.

Meanwhile, Nicola Sturgeon’s approval rating remains well above her political rivals.

The National: Nicola Sturgeon in Holyrood

The First Minister scored a 27-point approval rating, compared with Boris Johnson on -35 and Keir Starmer on -11.

Scottish Tory leader Douglas Ross’s score was -15, while Anas Sarwar, who was elected Labour leader this month, has a net approval rating of 0.

Respondents were also asked for their opinions on Brexit.

Just 12% said the current relationship with the EU is right. Some 47% of voters with a view want to rejoin the bloc, while another 14% want a closer relationship that the UK has right now. A further 16% want a more distant relationship.

The Scottish Government's dispute with Alex Salmond was also examined by pollsters.

The National: Alex Salmond speaking at Holyrood

A total of 40% of respondents think Sturgeon was telling the truth in the recent hearings with her and Salmond, compared with 44% who do not. Meanwhile, 15% think Salmond is telling the truth, while 68% think he isn't.

However, if the First Minister was found to have broken the ministerial code, 51% think she should resign, compared with 35% who think she should stay on.

Sturgeon is nevertheless considerably more popular than Salmond, with 58% having a favourable view of her, compared with 14% for her predecessor.

Chris Curtis, senior research manager at Opinium, commented: “The polling shows the future of Scotland rests on a knife edge. Firstly, in terms of whether the SNP can gain a majority alone in May, which would strengthen their mandate to hold a second independence referendum. Secondly, in terms of what might happen in such a referendum, with 'Yes' and 'No' eye wateringly close in our latest poll.

“But it is also important to note Sturgeon’s incredible popularity in Scotland. Despite her recent difficulties over the Salmond affair, she still has the overwhelming support of Scottish voters, driven by the fact that most think her government has done a good job responding to the pandemic.”