QUESTIONS have been raised over a poll claiming support for Scottish independence has dropped after the death of the Queen.

Deltapoll surveyed 659 adults north of the Border on their views on staying or leaving the UK - but the results were compared to a previous poll with a much larger respondent size.

The poll, which was reported in the Sun on Sunday, claimed that support for Scottish independence had dropped to 42% compared to a Panelbase survey conducted by The Times last month showing 49% support for separation from the UK.

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However, some polling experts have argued the results are skewed – as the Yes figure used was before "don’t know’s" had been excluded.

The Times poll from August spoke to 1133 adults in Scotland, and the results showed that support for staying in the UK fell when respondents were asked about their views on independence if either Liz Truss or Rishi Sunak were made prime minister.

The results were published two weeks before Truss won the Tory leadership contest.

As both surveys were undertaken by different firms and with potentially different methodologies, concerns have been raised over whether they are directly comparable.

The Sun’s report also claimed the poll showed a boost in support for King Charles in Scotland and claimed a third of Scots (28%) believe the Queen’s death has strengthened the Union, while 18% believe it has weakened it.

Richard Fitzwilliams, a royal historian, told the tabloid newspaper: “For the Queen to pass away peacefully in her beloved Balmoral was a fitting end.

"It is a comfort to all of us that she spent her final days in the place that brought her so much happiness. But more significantly, it was a fitting final act of unionism for a monarch who cherished the UK.”

But polling experts raised questions over the legitimacy of the survey and what it suggests.

Top pollster John Curtice, of Strathclyde University, shared the results on Twitter, but added: “Report of first poll of #indyref2 vote intentions since the death of #QueenElizabeth.

“Note though the relatively small sample size (659) and that @DeltapollUK have not previously polled on this subject north of the border.”

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Speaking to The National, Curtice added: “It’s only a sample of 659 people so to be honest I’m not paying it much attention.”

The British Polling Council (BPC) guidance reads: “There is no ‘minimum’ sample size for a poll which is acceptable, but around one thousand has become the established norm for a nationwide opinion poll in Great Britain.”

James Kelly, a pro-independence pollster, said in a blog post that contrary to what the poll appears to show “support for independence has held up remarkably well during the period of mourning for the Queen”.

He added: “They gave the Yes figure from before Don't Know's had been excluded without bothering to mention that's what they were doing and took multiple steps to ensure people would wrongly assume they were doing the opposite.

“They didn't give the No figure, thus allowing people to infer that it must be 58%, even though it was actually much lower than that.

“They suggested that the 42% figure for Yes was directly comparable to 49% for Yes in a recent poll from another firm - but in reality, the latter figure was from after the exclusion of Don't Knows, not before.

“Thus, the comparison was a deliberate distortion intended to leave people wrongly thinking that the Yes vote had dropped 7% after the Queen's death, when in fact the actual drop for Yes from one poll to the other was a statistically insignificant 2%.

“And that's leaving aside the fact that polls from different firms with different methodologies can't be directly compared anyway.”

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Kelly claimed that the final result, including don't knows, was 47% Yes to 53% No, when asked the question, "Should Scotland be an independent country?"

The full figures from the survey are not available on Deltapoll’s website and "Poll Library". The last available is a UK-wide voting intention survey from September 14, where 2096 adults were interviewed.