SCOTLAND would vote for independence if a referendum was held tomorrow, according to a new poll.

Nearly a year on from the independence referendum, now 53 per cent of Scots would vote to leave the UK, according to the Ipsos-Mori poll commissioned for STV.

It would be a decisive victory with No on 44 per cent and don’t knows on 3 per cent.

It is the first time a pollster has put support for independence over 50 per cent.

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said the poll was “sensational”.

The poll also asked voters for their opinions on the state of the parties. After eight years in government, the SNP are on an approval rating of 50 per cen, some 35 points ahead of Labour. There was little happy reading for Labour in the poll at all. Those polled suggested Kezia Dugdale’s election and the likely election of Jeremy Corbyn will make little impact on the party’s fortunes.

Mark Diffley, from Ipsos MORI Scotland said: “This poll represents excellent news for the SNP, both in terms of support ahead of next year’s Holyrood vote and because support for independence has moved over 50 per cent for the first time.

“The poll highlights the significant challenges facing new Scottish Labour leader Kezia Dugdale; Labour is far behind the SNP on the key battleground policies for next year and there is no sign yet that they are making up any ground. As the election gets closer she will hope to see Labour gain ground on policies and on public support.”

If accurate, the polling suggests the SNP are on course for a majority government next May with 74 out of 129 MSPs.

Scottish Labour would lose 11 MSPs and be returned with just 26. The Liberal Democrats would gain an MSP to win six, and the Conservatives would remain the same at 15.

There was good news for the Greens who, according to the poll, would likely return eight MSPs.

There was strong support for the SNP on policy as well, with the party ranked as having the best policies on NHS and health, on education the rating was 49 per cent, and on crime and anti-social behaviour the rating was 40 per cent.

Sturgeon’s personal approval rating is at an astonishing 71 per cent.

David Cameron’s disapproval rating is at 68 per cent.

Ipsos Mori polled 1002 participants between Monday and Sunday last week.

Pro-independence blogger and psephologist James Kelly sounded a cautionary note: “This poll is not evidence of a recent massive surge in support for independence. The sharp difference with other polls showing a No lead is probably due to different methodology. However, it considerably complicates our understanding of the current state of play - previously it seemed more likely that No had a very slender lead, but now we simply don’t know which side has the edge.”

SNP business convener Derek Mackay said: “This is a sensational poll for the SNP – it shows not only that people across Scotland support us in huge and growing numbers eight years into government, but that they believe we have a strong record on key issues like health and education.

“It is welcome to see support for independence now stands at over 50 per cent as people see the SNP in government and at Westminster stand up for Scotland while the Tories press on with relentless cuts that hit the poorest hardest while proposing to spend billions on a new generation of nuclear weapons on the Clyde.”

Green MSP Alison Johnstone said: “This consistent polling underlines the huge opportunity Scottish Greens have to become a stronger voice at Holyrood, holding the SNP to account and putting forward bold and constructive ideas.”

A Scottish Labour spokesman said: “We are changing and we are determined to offer a positive Labour vision for the future of Scotland.

“We want people to take another look at Scottish Labour under the new leadership of Kezia Dugdale.

“But we know it’s too early to be asking people for their votes. Over the coming months, we will put Labour’s values first.”

A spokesman for the Scottish Conservatives said: “Nearly a year on from last year’s referendum, this poll shows we must continue to make the positive case for Scotland staying part of the United Kingdom.

“The Scottish Conservatives will always stand up for the two million Scots who voted No last year. For its part, rather than revelling in this poll, the SNP needs to focus on the day job.”