AS the day on which Scotland was dragged out of the EU disappears in the rear-view mirror, it gets harder to retain our focus on two important facts. The first – that Brexit remains the principle reason for an independence referendum being on the agenda, prior to the fabled “generation” passing by. The second is that that any referendum that does take place is likely to be dominated by arguments over whether Brexit has harmed the Scottish economy and whether independence is the remedy.

The latest question in the Scot Goes Pop/Panelbase poll provides a timely report card on whether the pro-independence camp is gaining enough traction now that the effect of Brexit is being clearly felt in people’s daily lives.

The verdict is: some good progress has been made, but there’s scope to do even better.

The positive part of the equation is that there is a healthy 3-2 lead for those who believe that the recent shortages of goods and petrol have strengthened the case for Scotland to become independent – in order to restore freedom of movement with the EU – over those who believe the case has been weakened.

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That gap looks even healthier when it’s borne in mind that many, and perhaps most, of the respondents who say the case has been weakened are hardcore Unionists reflexively giving the most anti-independence answer to each and every question, regardless of whether they really believe deep down that what they’re saying is true.

By a margin of 34% to 16%, people who voted No in 2014 would have us believe that the shortages have actually weakened the arguments for freedom of movement to be restored by an independent Scotland.

The National: James Kelly of Scot Goes PopJames Kelly of Scot Goes Pop

Does it seem plausible that so many of them truly think that? Probably not. If a British prime minister introduced slave labour camps in the Gorbals, you’d probably still find a substantial minority of No voters telling Panelbase with a straight face that it had weakened the case for independence.

Of course, the flip side of the coin is that there will also have been a significant number of dedicated independence supporters in the poll sample who reflexively give the most pro-independence response to every question. However, the 16% of No voters who think the case for independence has been strengthened by the shortages are not really close to being offset by the 9% of Yes voters who think the case has been weakened.

This suggests the shortages are genuinely working in favour of any future Yes campaign – as does the fact that 34% of people who didn’t vote in 2014 think the case for independence has been strengthened. Only 16% think it has been weakened.

Also worthy of note is that 35% of respondents who were born in neither Scotland nor England think the case has been strengthened, with 25% thinking it has been weakened. This group contains EU citizens, who are arguably the voters most likely of all to have been driven from No to Yes by Brexit.

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But the main frustration here is the sizeable minority of voters who don’t seem to see the very obvious connection between the shortages and the arguments for independence and for restoring freedom of movement. Thirty-two per cent of the whole sample say that the supply problems make no difference to the case for independence, as do 43% of No voters, 17% of people who didn’t vote in 2014 and 30% of voters who were born outside Scotland or England.

This perhaps raises a question mark over whether the Scottish Government and other independence campaigners have been relentless enough in making the linkage between Brexit and the difficulties people are now facing from day to day – although admittedly it’s harder to do that when the broadcasters, and the BBC in particular, seem determined to portray the shortages as random acts of God with no particular cause.