Support for independence could increase if voters think the UK is likely to withdraw from the EU, a new poll has found.

The Yes campaign was equal with the No campaign when those surveyed were asked to consider the prospect of leaving Europe when deciding how to vote in the 2014 referendum.

The Panelbase poll for the Sunday Times and Real Radio Scotland had support for independence at 36% when it asked "should Scotland be an independent country?". Meanwhile, 44% answered no and 20% said they did not know.

But when asked "how would you be likely to vote in next year's Scottish independence referendum if the UK was looking likely to vote to withdraw from the EU?", 44% said they would be likely to vote yes, matched by 44% likely to vote no, while 12% said they did not know.

Ivor Knox, of Panelbase, said: "The prospect of the UK leaving the EU has little impact on those Scots who have formed a view on independence, but among undecided voters three times as many tend to support independence as oppose it under those circumstances."

The poll, conducted between May 10 and 16, comes after the Conservatives published a draft bill paving the way for a referendum on Britain's EU membership next parliament.

Prime Minister David Cameron wants Britain to remain in the EU under renegotiated terms, which he wants to put to the public in an in-out referendum to be held by the end of 2017.

Meanwhile, a ComRes poll showed 46% of Britons would vote to leave the EU in a referendum now, compared with 24% who would stay in. But if some powers were returned to the UK from Brussels, 43% would vote to remain in the EU, with just 24% determined to see Britain leave.

A spokesman for the pro-independence Yes Scotland campaign said: "It's clear that an ever increasing number of people are coming to the conclusion that Westminster is simply not working for Scotland.

"The results of the Sunday Times poll also reveals that more and more people in Scotland are realising that the best way to ensure we stay in Europe is to vote yes, as the Tories and Ukip strive to pull the UK out."