SUPPORT for Scottish independence has risen to its highest level for a year, according to a new poll. 

Backing for Yes is now at 55% – up five points compared to the last Ipsos MORI poll just before the Holyrood election in May, the survey for STV finds.

Excluding undecideds, it suggests the result of the 2014 referendum may be reversed if another was held now.

The poll's result comes just days after First Minister Nicola Sturgeon told the SNP conference that the independence campaign would begin "in earnest" in Spring next year with a vote in 2023.

It was carried out from November 22-29, as one million pro-independence newspapers by the The National, SNP and Believe in Scotland were delivered to homes across Scotland.

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Meanwhile, approval ratings for Prime Minister Boris Johnson have hit a record low in Scotland, where four in five said they were "dissatisfied" with his performance.

Sturgeon remains the highest-rated party leader, but while Scots are overwhelmingly positive about the Scottish Government’s handling of the Covid vaccine rollout, they are less pleased with its performance in health and education.

On the Scottish Government's performance, the poll found: Vaccine rollout: 84% believe the Scottish Government has done a good job Health: 48% say the government has done a bad job of improving the NHS; 40% think it has done a good job Education: Bad job – 46%; Good job – 35% Handling Brexit implications: Bad job – 43%; Good job – 37%.

In the wake of the COP26 summit, the Scottish Government is also seen to have performed well at maximising Scotland’s influence on global issues (51% think it has done a good job at this, while 30% say it has done a bad job) and at taking action to address the climate crisis (50% say it has done a good job at this, while 31% say it has done a bad job).

Emily Gray, managing director of Ipsos MORI Scotland, said: “This latest poll from Ipsos MORI and STV News indicates that the argument for Scottish independence is far from over, with a slight improvement for the Yes side. 

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“Given the margins of error around polling estimates, however, neither the Yes or No camps should be confident of victory at this point. 

“The Yes camp may be benefiting from what has been a very bad week for Boris Johnson and the Conservatives at Westminster, with fieldwork taking place after heated debate about MPs’ second jobs. 

“This is certainly reflected in Johnson’s own ratings, which have fallen to a new low.”

Ipsos MORI interviewed a representative sample of 1107 adults aged 16 and over across Scotland by phone.

Responding to the results, SNP Depute Leader Keith Brown MSP said: “I welcome this extremely encouraging poll that shows the majority of people in Scotland would back Scotland choosing a better future as an independent country.

“However, we do not take anything for granted and will continue to make the case to the people of Scotland of how we can build a fairer, greener and more prosperous nation as an independent country.

“The people of Scotland - not a Tory government they didn’t elect – have the right to decide their own future and following the election in May there is a clear, substantial majority in the Scottish Parliament for a fresh referendum once the Covid crisis has passed.

“More and more people in Scotland are becoming sick of Tory governments, led by the likes of Boris Johnson, taking Scotland in the wrong direction with their disastrous hard Brexit and policies which will plunge children into poverty.  

“The evidence shows that for countries of Scotland’s size independence works. By placing Scotland’s future in Scotland’s hands, we can build a better future as an equal partner with our friends in the rest of the UK and Europe.”

A survey carried out by the Ipsos MORI in February this year found support for independence had slipped, although Yes retained a narrow lead. 

Among those who would be likely to vote in an independence referendum, 52% said they would vote Yes while 48% would vote No.

That was lower than in November 2020, when Ipsos MORI/STV polling showed a larger Yes lead (56% Yes/ 44% No). 

The same polling company reported a record high in support for independence in October 2020.

Among those who would be likely to vote in an independence referendum, it found that 58% said they would vote Yes while 42% would vote No.

The SNP won a record fourth term in government following the elections in May and after signing a co-operation deal with the Scottish Greens form a majority in Holyrood.

In the pact both parties agreed to a second referendum by the end of 2023 so long as Covid had passed.

However, the UK Government has insisted it will not give its consent to a new vote.