Support for Scottish independence has dropped to 50% for the first time since June last year, a new poll suggests.
A Survation survey of 1,000 Scots for the Sunday Mail found that support for separation has fallen, losing a lead built in the past nine months that bolstered the confidence of supporters heading into May’s Holyrood elections.
According to the poll, when undecided voters are removed, support evens out at 50% for both sides.
When undecided voters are included, however, the Yes supporting side loses its lead by 44% to 43%, with 13% people saying they do not yet know how they would vote.
A Survation poll done for the Scot Goes Pop blog in January gave independence supporters a 51% to 49% edge.
The poll will bring hope for supporters of the Union, who have watched as support for independence has grown since their referendum win with 55% of the vote in 2014.
Pamela Nash, the chief executive of Scotland in Union, said: “It’s welcome that support for remaining in the UK is on the rise.
“People are recognising that as we navigate out of the Covid crisis with a successful UK-wide vaccination programme, we are stronger together.
“The SNP is obsessed with trying to divide Scotland, but the priority should be working together on a recovery for everyone in the country.”
But SNP depute leader Keith Brown has said polls are tightening as May’s Holyrood elections near.
He said: “The SNP continues to have Scotland’s best interest at heart, and will work hard every day to maintain the trust and confidence of the Scottish people.
“The people of Scotland have shown, in poll after poll and election after election, that they place their trust in Nicola Sturgeon and the SNP to lead Scotland through the coronavirus pandemic and beyond.
“May’s election offers Scotland two choices: more broken promises and austerity measures under Boris Johnson, or the right to decide if Scotland has a progressive future within the European Union as an independent country.
“With both votes SNP, we can deliver a strong, fair and green recovery and put Scotland’s future in Scotland’s hands – not Boris Johnson’s.”
The news comes as the past few days have been dominated by the evidence of former first minister Alex Salmond before the Scottish Parliament Committee on the Scottish Government Handling of Harassment Complaints.
Salmond has previously accused some in the highest echelons of the SNP of engaging in a “malicious and concerted” effort to exclude him from public life, claims he repeated during a six-hour committee appearance.
Fieldwork for the poll was conducted on Thursday, the day before Salmond appeared before the inquiry, but 39% of those asked, according to the Sunday Mail, said they believe there to have been some sort of “cover-up” in the Scottish Government’s handling of harassment complaints against the former first minister.
Some 50% said Sturgeon should resign if she is found to have broken the ministerial code in a separate inquiry led by James Hamilton QC, an independent adviser on the code.