SUPPORT for Scottish independence is at its second-highest level EVER reached, according to an exclusive new polling series commissioned for The National. 

The new poll put support for Yes at 54% - of those likely to vote and once don’t knows were excluded. 

No was on 46%, after "don’t knows" were taken out, nearly a complete reversal of the 2014 result.

It means Yes has been in the lead in six polls since the Supreme Court ruled Scotland could not hold an independence referendum without the permission of the UK Government.

The poll is the first in a series of polls for this paper in which we explore what Scotland really thinks about the de facto referendum strategy, Brexit, the BBC and more. 

OUR POLL SERIES: Independence, Brexit, the monarchy: New poll series starts TODAY
READ THE EXPERT ANALYSIS: Support for independence at 54%: what the latest polling tells us

The National:

Pro-Yes parties have said the UK Government’s approach to Scotland – in denying a second referendum and trampling on key areas of the devolution settlement – is turning more and more voters to the Scottish independence cause.

Writing in The National today, Glasgow University researcher Mark McGeoghegan said: “It is … the joint second-highest level of support for independence ever recorded.”

When asked how likely they would be to vote in a legally binding 2014-style referendum, 78% of voters said they would “definitely” vote.

The National:

The polling comes amid a row after the UK Government took the unprecendented step of blocking Scotland's transgender law reforms. 

Polling expert Professor John Curtice, of Strathclyde University, said it was "too soon" to tell whether the UK Government's intervention had any impact on Scots' voting intentions. 

But he suggested that the results suggested that a reported drop-off in Yes support which followed the Supreme Court ruling may not be the case. 

He said: "There isn't any evidence here that this is any clear indication that the GRR row has pushed support for independence up any higher.

"What it does do is suggest that maybe we can doubt whether or not the impact of the Supreme Court judgment has dissapated in the way that some other polls have suggested."

'Westminster is turning voters away from the Union'  

Rona Mackay, the SNP MSP for Bearsden and Strathkelvin, said Westminster’s handling of the economy and its “Trump-like denial of Scottish democracy” was pushing voters to Yes.

She told The National: “It’s clear people in Scotland have had enough of opposition parties’ Trump-like denial of Scottish democracy and the damage caused by ever-tightening Westminster control.

“Both Labour and the Tories are now hard Brexit parties – committed to keeping Scotland out of both the EU and the huge single market which means the economy and living standards are being hit hard.

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“Westminster is undermining both the Scottish Parliament and our economy which is why more and more people believe it is right that decisions about Scotland should be made by the people who live here so that we can build a fairer and more prosperous independent country.”

Scottish Greens MSP Ross Greer said it was “no surprise” more Scots than ever were backing independence.

He said: “Westminster is running roughshod over the Scottish Parliament, overturning legislation passed by a supermajority of MSPs and openly boasting about the contempt they hold for Scottish democracy.

“So it’s no surprise to see a growing number of people saying that Scotland’s future needs to be in Scotland’s hands.

“While Scotland seeks to build a fairer, greener, welcoming country, we’re constantly held back by the Tories and Labour at Westminster who are doubling down on the damage of Brexit, implementing deeper austerity, new coal mines, and attacks on the basic rights of workers, refugees and LGBT+ people.

“The case for independence has never been stronger and never been clearer.”

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East Lothian MP Kenny MacAskill, Alba’s deputy leader, said: “This hugely welcome poll not only shows support for independence gaining ground overall but a clear majority across the central belt and in the Highlands, as well as strong support among young people and those socio-economic sections of society who have most to gain from independence.

“This poll underlines the need for the Yes movement to campaign for independence as an urgent necessity, but also if Westminster will not transfer the power to allow a referendum to take place, for the Scottish Parliament to be dissolved to allow a plebiscite election on October 19 this year.”

The polling was carried out by Find Out Now for Electoral Calculus on behalf of The National.

Between January 11 to 18 this year, 1098 Scottish adults were interviewed for the survey.

The next poll in our series will be released on Saturday evening.

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