SUPPORT for Scottish independence leads support for the Union by four points in the first poll to gauge Scots’ opinions on the topic since the Supreme Court ruled Holyrood cannot hold indyref2 without Westminster’s permission.

Polling conducted by Redfield & Wilton Strategies found that 49% of people in Scotland would vote Yes in a second independence referendum, compared to 45% who would vote No. The remaining 5% of respondents said they did not know how they would vote.

With the people who answered "don't know" removed, 52% of Scots would back independence, against 48% who support remaining in the Union.

Support for Yes was five points higher than the last time the polling firm asked Scots their opinion on independence, in September 2021.

The latest poll – of 1000 Scots adults – was conducted from November 26-27, with the Supreme Court having issued its ruling on indyref2 on November 23.

The Redfield & Wilton survey further asked whether Scots would support or oppose a second vote on independence being held in the next year. It found that slightly more people wanted the vote to be held than opposed it.

A total of 46% of people said they wanted indyref2 "in the next year", while 43% opposed the idea. A total of 9% said they neither supported nor opposed a vote being held, while 2% said they did not know.

Broken down by party, the poll found that 35% of people who voted Labour in 2019 would support indyref2 in the next 12 months, while 54% would oppose it.

Among 2019 Tory voters, 17% back a second independence vote while 83% oppose it. 

The results contradict claims from Unionist politicians that there is no appetite in Scotland for a second vote. 

READ MORE: Choice facing Scotland in indyref2 'much bigger' than in 2014, John Curtice says

Furthermore, speaking at an event on Scotland's constitutional future last week, top pollster Professor John Curtice highlighted how asking if people support indyref2 is largely a proxy question for asking if people support independence.

People who would choose Yes want a vote, while people who would back No do not, he said.

However, the polling contained bad news for the SNP's plan to use the next General Election as a "de facto" referendum. Asked who they would back at the next Westminster vote, 41% of Scots said the SNP, 31% said Labour, 16% said the Tories, and 8% said the LibDems.

Just 2% said they would vote Green, putting votes for pro-independence parties at 43%. 

The survey also found that while independence is in the top three priorities for Scottish voters, on 29% it fell far short of the economy (on 75%) and the NHS (on 61%).

The National:

Elsewhere in the newly released poll, pluralities of Scots said that the United Kingdom leaving the European Union (39%), the energy crisis (38%), and the cost-of-living crisis (37%) have made them more likely to vote Yes.

Contrary to some Unionist declarations, the polling also found that the clear majority of Scots said the death of Queen Elizabeth (64%) and her son Charles taking the throne (65%) had made no difference to their views on independence. 

Half of the people surveyed (50%) also said that the prospect of a Labour government in Westminster made no difference to how they would vote on independence. A total of 20% said it made them more likely to vote Yes, while 23% said it made them more likely to back No.

READ MORE: Treatment of John Nicolson shocked me, even after 21 years at Westminster

The polling also presented grim reading for the UK Government, which was rated as incompetent by 63% of people in Scotland. 

Redfield & Wilton further noted that Scottish voters gave the Tory government negative net approval ratings on every policy issue listed, including on the economy (-48%) and the NHS (-48%).

The Scottish Government fared better, with a plurality (44%) saying that it was competent, against 37% who said it was not. 

It managed to score positive approval ratings in three policy areas: coronavirus (+38%), the environment (+16%), and cultural issues (+9%).

The National: SNP leader and First Minister of Scotland Nicola Sturgeon issues a statement at the Apex Grassmarket Hotel in Edinburgh following the decision by judges at the UK Supreme Court in London that the Scottish Parliament does not have the power to hold a

The polling also asked Scots for their perceptions of political leaders. 

It found that 49% of people approve of Nicola Sturgeon's (above) performance since she became leader of the SNP, while 33% disapprove. Among 2019 Labour voters, 43% think she has done well, while 36% do not.

For Prime Minister Rishi Sunak, 35% of Scots disapprove of the job he has done in his time as Tory leader, while 31% approve. This means he has a net rating of negative four, compared to Sturgeon's positive 16. 

Labour leader Keir Starmer fared comparatively well, receiving a net approval rating of positive 11 (35% approval vs 24% disapproval). This is up a massive 30 points on his score of negative 19 when Redfield & Wilton last polled Scots.

Commenting on the poll, SNP deputy leader Keith Brown said the poll shows growing support for "what the people of Scotland expressed in the 2021 election", adding that: "they want a choice to become an independent nation."

He continued: "The chaos at Westminster in recent months has tanked the UK economy, accelerated inflation and crippled household budgets with soaring mortgages - all from successive Tory governments that Scotland didn't elect.

"Last week's ruling showed clearly that the UK is not a voluntary union. In a democracy, it is right for the people to have their say - and neither the Tories or Labour should be able to deny that.

"The message to Westminster parties now is clear - Scottish democracy cannot be denied." 

Scottish Greens MSP Maggie Chapman said: With soaring interest rates, mortgages and bills, it is clear that Westminster is failing on every level. Things can be so much better.

"Every day that the Tories remain in charge is another day of economic pain, cruelty and a totally reckless Brexit that is costing jobs and hammering businesses.

"They are not just hurting millions of people here and now with their brutal cuts and austerity, they are also holding back our potential and the opportunity to break with the failed policies of the past."

She went on to say that the Supreme Court's judgment had "underlined the huge limitations of the current devolution settlement" and the "urgency of taking our future into our own hands".

She continued: "If the election of the biggest pro-independence majority of MSPs since devolution is not enough, then the onus is on the pro-Union parties to explain what the democratic pathway to independence is.

"Whether it is becoming a force for good in the world, removing nuclear weapons from our waters or harnessing our clean and cheap energy potential, these are the vital changes that we can only make as a normal independent country." 

You can find the full data tables from the poll here.