Nicola Sturgeon suffered another mortal blow to her separatist dream today as a poll showed support for Scottish independence sliding again.
YouGov research found 53 per cent wanted to stay in the UK and 47 per cent wanted to go it alone, with the lead for the union up four points on last month.
Meanwhile, a separate survey has suggested the SNP faces missing out on a crucial majority at Holyrood in elections next month.
Nicola Sturgeon has made calling a fresh referendum as early as this year the key plank of her manifesto for the ballots on May 6.
She has insisted that a big SNP win will provide a mandate for another contest, even though the last vote in 2014 was billed as ‘once in a generation’.
However, the YouGov poll for the Times suggests that support for breaking away is slipping as the campaign progresses, with Ms Sturgeon embroiled in a bitter civil war with Alex Salmond and his Alba party.
YouGov research found 53 per cent wanted to stay in the UK and 47 per cent wanted to go it alone, with the lead for the union up four points on last month
A Savanta ComRes survey for The Scotsman projected that the SNP is currently on track to return 63 MSPs in total – two short of a majority and the same number as in 2016
Only 1 per cent of voters said they plan to vote for Mr Salmond’s Alba Party, but his campaign appears to be hurting the SNP
A Savanta ComRes survey for The Scotsman projected that the SNP is currently on track to return 63 MSPs in total – two short of a majority and the same number as in 2016.
There would still be a pro-independence majority at Holyrood, as the Scottish Greens are set to return eight MSPs, two more than 2016.
Only 1 per cent of voters said they plan to vote for Mr Salmond’s Alba Party, which would leave it without a single MSP elected.
The SNP is in line for a constituency vote of 46 per cent and a list vote of 38 per cent.
It predicts that the Scottish Conservatives will achieve 25 per cent of the constituency vote and 23 per cent of the regional list, which would see it return 32 MSPs – one more than in 2016.
Scottish Labour is forecast to return 20 per cent on the constituency and 17% on the list vote and is predicted to return 21 MSPs, three fewer than in 2016.
The Scottish Liberal Democrats are predicted to return five MSPs, the same number as in 2016, with 6 per cent of the constituency and 5 per cent of the list vote.
The poll of 1,001 Scottish adults also found that support for Scottish independence is split, though support for No has increased since a survey at the start of April.
Similarly to YouGov, Savanta found that 48 per dent would vote No in an independence referendum, while 45 per cent would vote Yes, with the remainder undecided.
When ‘don’t knows’ are excluded, that left support for the union at 52 per cent compared to 48 per cent who wanted to break away.
An equivalent survey at the start of April found a dead heat between the two camps.
The latest Savanta poll was carried out between April 16 and 20.
Chris Hopkins, political research director at Savanta ComRes, said: ‘These latest figures show the SNP potentially missing out on a majority, but there are still plenty of routes for them to get one.
‘While ‘both votes SNP’ has never made the most of the SNP’s dominance, increasing their vote on the list could top up the seats they need, but they’d require a sizeable shift in their favour from these latest figures.
‘Instead, squeezing the soft Labour constituency vote in seats in South Scotland, for example, could help them overtake the Conservatives and give the SNP the majority they crave.
‘That could be easier said than done, though; with the Conservatives up in this poll, and a healthy proportion of Labour voters more likely to trust the Conservatives than their own party to protect the union, the Conservatives will also be trying to squeeze Labour in an attempt to hold off an SNP challenge.’
Nicola Sturgeon (pictured campaigning in Dumbarton yesterday) has made calling a fresh referendum as early as this year the key plank of her manifesto for the ballots on May 6
Source: Daily Mail UK