A MAJORITY of Yes voters think there should be an elected head of state in an independent Scotland instead of the monarchy, according to new polling.

Research by YouGov has found of those who backed independence in the 2014 referendum, 31% think a king or queen should continue to reign after Scotland leaves the UK, while 54% believe there should be an alternative leader and 16% don’t know.

Since the Queen’s death senior figures in the SNP have underlined the party’s long held position of being in favour of retaining the monarchy, as outlined in the independence prospectus published ahead of the 2014 referendum.

The party has been urged to consider adopting a position of neutrality over whether to retain the monarchy in an independent Scotland.

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And the survey suggests that a majority of SNP voters are not positive about keeping the monarchy.

When asked if Britain should continue to have a monarchy in the future, this was backed by 31% of those who voted SNP in the 2019 General Election.

However 51% were in favour of having an elected head of state instead, while 17% said they did not know.

On the position in an independent Scotland, nearly six in 10 SNP voters – 59% - said there should be an elected head of state, with 25% backing the continuation of the monarchy and 16% saying they did not know.

The poll of just more than 1000 people, which was carried out at the end of September following Queen Elizabeth’s death, found overall most Scots believe King Charles should continue in the future, with 50% backing the monarchy.

However just over a third – 34% - said Britain should have an elected head of state in the future, with 17% saying they did not know.

And the survey shows Scots are more divided on the issue of whether to keep the monarchy or not in an independent Scotland – with 41% saying having a king or queen on the throne should continue, while 40% think there should be an alternative when Scotland leaves the UK and 19% don’t know.

The YouGov report noted the royal family’s popularity in Scotland is currently dependent on support among the older generation.

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It said: “Scottish over-65s are far more likely to support a continuing monarchy in an independent Scotland, with 62% preferring a monarchy to an elected head of state – but 63% of those aged 16 to 24 would choose an elected leader.

“Likewise, fewer than one in ten 16 to 24-year-olds (9%) and less than a third of Scots aged 25 to 49 (28%) think the monarchy is good for Scotland.

“That’s in stark contrast to the 47% of 50 to 64-year-olds and the 57% of over-65s who feel the same.”

Younger Scots are also far less likely to think King Charles will perform well as the new monarch.

Just over a third of 16 to 24-year-olds – 34% - say he will do a good job, compared to three-quarters of those aged over 65.

Support for the late Queen was higher across all age groups, with 65% of 16 to 24-year-olds saying she did a good job during her time on the throne and 96% of over-65s agreeing with this statement.