SUPPORT for independence is still in the lead at 53% despite a drop in support for the SNP, a new poll has found.

While the SNP remains the dominant party in Scotland, Ipsos Scottish Political Monitor found that their support at a Westminster General Election had fallen by 10 points to 41% since December.

However, while support for Scottish independence has dropped slightly from 56% during the last survey, it is still far in the lead compared to support for the Union.

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Ipsos said: “Among those likely to vote either Yes or No in an immediate referendum, 53% say they would vote Yes and 47% No.

“Yes support is down three percentage points compared with our previous poll in December 2022.”

Scottish independence is also in the top five key priorities for the Scottish public, but healthcare and the NHS topped the list, followed by inflation and education.

Additionally, the survey found that Labour have seen an increase in support, but the SNP were still in the lead.

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It comes after a YouGov poll said that the SNP could lose 23 seats to Labour at the next General Election.

And, Ipsos have said that there are signs more 2014 Yes voters are considering voting for parties other than the SNP, and suggested the relationship between support for independence and the SNP may be “weakening”.

However, the SNP are still clearly ahead in voting intentions, despite the 10 percentage point drop from 51% over the past six months.

The proportion of voters who said they would vote for the SNP at an immediate General Election is now at 41%, down 4 points compared to the 45% who voted for the SNP at the last Westminster election in 2019.

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The poll found that while 69% of Yes voters said they would vote for the SNP at an immediate Westminster election, this is a fall of 12 percentage points compared to polling from a year ago.

“Labour may be well placed to benefit,” Ipsos said.

“Their support among 2014 Yes voters has increased by nine percentage points compared with a year ago, to 15%.”

And, the Labour and Tories have seen a slight increase in support compared to Ipsos’s December 2022 poll.

Labour are in second place with 29%, 10 points higher than the 19% of the vote share they gained in 2019, and the Tories are in third on 17%, with a slight improvement since last December. This is still eight points down on the 25% of the vote share they returned in 2019.

On the top five issues for the Scottish public, 41% said that healthcare and the NHS were their top priority, unchanged from December last year, and 29% mentioned inflation.

Elsewhere, 28% were concerned with education and schools, an increase of five percentage points, 25% on the economy, up four percentage points, and 25% said Scottish independence and devolution, an increase of two percentage points.

Emily Gray, managing director of Ipsos in Scotland, said: “In the wake of Nicola Sturgeon’s unexpected resignation, a divisive leadership contest and controversy over the party’s funding and finances, support for the SNP has fallen back.

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“With First Minister Humza Yousaf’s approval ratings weaker than Nicola Sturgeon’s were, it may be challenging for the party to regain that support.

“Meanwhile, Labour will be hoping that the indication in this poll of a weakening relationship between past independence support and voting for the SNP becomes a trend on which they can capitalise.”

Mhairi Black MP, the SNP's deputy Westminster leader, said that while the poll is "very encouraging" the party takes "nothing for granted". 

"The SNP is working hard to tackle the cost of living, improve public services like our NHS and build a fairer economy – but we are absolutely clear that independence is essential for our long term future," Black added. 

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"Independent countries that are like Scotland are both wealthier and fairer than the UK. With all our talent and resources there is no reason an independent Scotland could not match that success.

"That’s the positive message of hope we’ll be campaigning on relentlessly - in contrast to both Labour and the Tories who both offer a Brexit-based future dragging down living standards and the cash available for public services like the NHS."

Alba said that the lead for independence shows why Unionist parties should "beware with their glee". 

Chris McEleny, Alba's general secretary, said: “It is clear a majority of Scots are now ready to vote for independence if given the opportunity to do so. 

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“However, this poll makes clear that there is now a continued trend in Scotland. Support for the SNP is falling whilst support for independence remains high. Almost a third of those that voted Yes in 2014 would now not back the SNP. 

“Scotland cannot afford for the cause of independence to be set back because of the troubles of one single political party."

McEleny argued that this is why the party have been calling for Yes candidates at the next Westminster election. 

"With this approach, we would ensure that the Unionist parties don’t make gains whilst importantly electing a majority of Scottish independence-supporting MPs giving Scotland a mandate to immediately commence independence negotiations with Westminster," he added. 

Ipsos interviewed 1100 adults aged over 16 across Scotland for the poll, with interviews conducted over the phone from May 15 to 21, 2023.