Scots support holding a second referendum if pro-independence MSPs win a majority at Holyrood by a margin of almost two to one, a new poll has suggested.
Pollsters asked if more than half the MSPs came from independence-supporting parties – such as the SNP and the Scottish Greens – if this would constitute a mandate for another referendum to be held.
Almost half of people were of the view that this would be the case – with 27% saying they agreed strongly and another 22% saying they would “somewhat agree”.
Just over a quarter were opposed, even if Holyrood returns a majority of pro-independence MSPs in the May election – with 17% of those questioned strongly disagreeing with a second referendum in such circumstances, while 10% said they disagreed “somewhat”.
When those who did not know (9%) were removed, the poll found 54% agreed there would be a mandate for a second referendum, while 30% disagreed and 18% neither agreed or disagreed.
The research was part of a poll by Survation, which put support for Scottish independence at 54%.
But it comes as Scottish Secretary Alister Jack dismissed the prospect of having a second vote on whether the country should stay in the UK.
With SNP leaders having previously described the 2014 ballot as a “once in a generation” event, the Scottish Tory MP suggested a generation could be “25 or 40 years”.
Mr Jack insisted: “I don’t think we should keep having referendums until they get their own way, it should respect the outcome of the one we had.”
First Minister Nicola Sturgeon responded to that by tweeting that “politicians who rage against democracy don’t prevail”.
Campaign consultant James Mackenzie, who commissioned the research, said: “Anyone who wants Scotland to get a second chance to vote on independence should vote for SNP or Green MSPs next May.
“By almost two to one, the Scottish public don’t buy the cynical chat from some quarters that only an SNP-only majority would count as a mandate, nor do they accept Boris Johnson’s anti-democratic line that we shouldn’t be allowed to vote again.”
Mr Mackenzie, a former head of media for Scottish Green MSPs, continued: “It’s unclear how anyone will make the case for the Union next time with a straight face, which is presumably why the Prime Minister would rather we don’t get the chance.
“Whether it’s about responding to the pandemic or climate change, the semi-feudal Westminster system has repeatedly proved utterly unfit for the 21st century.”
The SNP’s depute leader Keith Brown said: “A clear and overwhelming majority of voters believe that Scotland should have the right to decide our own future.
“Westminster’s attempts to block the will of the people have been in vain, and the pressure on Boris Johnson to respect the democratic rights of voters in Scotland is now immense.
“We didn’t vote for this Tory Brexit, and we certainly didn’t vote for Boris Johnson.
“They have no right to decide Scotland’s future for us.
“Make no mistake, a referendum on Scotland’s future is coming – and we will win.”