VOTERS are being turned off the SNP, Nicola Sturgeon and independence amid the fierce public row about transgender people, new data shows.

The latest poll from YouGov showed the First Minister’s personal approval ratings drop into negative territory, from +7 to -4 since October, The Sunday Times reports.

According to YouGov’s favourability tracker, which is less up-to-date than the poll, showed that Sturgeon’s net favourability was at its lowest recorded level at -32.

The Sunday Times reported the poll showed support for independence fall from 53% to 47% among those expressing a view – the lowest level since last spring.

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John Curtice, professor of politics at Strathclyde University, told the paper: “While the decline in support for independence is likely to be part of the explanation, it looks as though the battering the Scottish government has suffered in recent weeks, and especially on the issue of transgender prisoners, may also have taken its toll on SNP support.”

According to a YouGov poll conducted between January 31 and February 1, 44% of Scots said they would vote SNP at a Westminster General Election.

The Sunday Times reported their poll showing support for the SNP in the Scottish parliament constituency vote falling from 50% to 44% in the space of a month, while support in the regional list vote fell from 40% to 36%.

Writing in the Sunday National, Ruth Wishart warned that the SNP’s attachment to gender recognition reform was harming the case for independence.

She wrote: “I’m fearful that many feminists, for whom independence is not a primary motivation, will now set their face against voting for any party in favour of it.”

Wishart added: “My tribe is often accused of ­intemperance and impatience. Of not pausing to take the temperature of the public before barging on to self -determination.

“Yet it has to be said that the ­Government did not pause to read the public’s temperature before enacting GRR. And that’s OK with me. I don’t want a ­government who governs via focus group read-outs.

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“But if boldness is to be the order of the day, if legislators are determined to have the courage of their convictions, then how about a wee bit more courage on the independence front?”

It comes after the UK Government took the unprecedented step of issuing a Section 35 order to block the Scottish Government’s gender recognition reforms from becoming law.

Then the Scottish Government was dealt the embarrassing blow of revelations that a trans prisoner Isla Bryson, a convicted double rapist, was being housed in a women’s prison.

At First Minister’s Questions last week, Sturgeon said that Bryson was “almost certainly” pretending to be trans and taking advantage of the system.

Her Justice Secretary Keith Brown denied ministers had any involvement in moving Isla Bryson from the female prison estate.

He told the Sunday Times: “While we take nothing for granted, this poll suggests that the SNP remains by far the most popular party in Scotland, and Nicola Sturgeon is by far the most popular leader.

“Scotland is an enormously wealthy, resource-rich country, but under Westminster control we face being part of the worst-performing economy in the developed world . . . Independence will mean a proper partnership of equals between Scotland and the rest of the UK, instead of ever-tightening Westminster control.”