The SNP would take almost half of the Scottish vote in the general election, according to the latest opinion poll.

Support for the nationalists stands at 48%, with Labour trailing on just 27%, the YouGov poll for The Times newspaper shows.

The Conservatives recorded 15% of the vote, with the Liberal Democrats on 4% and the remaining support going to other parties.

Such a result in May's election could see the SNP secure up to 48 seats, leaving Labour with around 11, according to the Electoral Calculus website.

The poll also showed that new Scottish Labour leader Jim Murphy is lagging behind First Minister Nicola Sturgeon in popularity.

A total of 64% of voters said Ms Sturgeon is doing well as First Minister, while only 33% said Mr Murphy is performing well as the new leader.

Only 14% said Ms Sturgeon is doing badly, compared with 43% who said Mr Murphy is doing badly.

While the opinion polls suggest Scottish Labour faces a huge challenge to retain its 40 seats, Mr Murphy has claimed that his party will enjoy a late surge in support in the final weeks of the election campaign.

He said: ''We wouldn't have expected people to become overnight converts, but I have just got a sense that people are on a journey back towards us.''

In a hung Parliament, 53% of people think Ms Sturgeon should be prepared to do a deal with Labour.

Ms Sturgeon has indicated she would lean towards a confidence and supply agreement, while both Ed Miliband and Mr Murphy have refused to rule out striking a deal with the nationalists.

The poll questioned 1,001 people between January 29 and February 2.

SNP Westminster leader Angus Robertson said: "This poll will also be a blow for Jim Murphy as his 'reverse honeymoon' shows no signs of ending.

"On Trident, austerity and fracking, Jim Murphy has failed every major test of his leadership so far - and this poll shows that the people of Scotland simply aren't impressed. In contrast, Nicola Sturgeon is considered to be doing a good job by a vast majority of people in Scotland."

He added: "The Westminster establishment are scared stiff, because a strong team of SNP MPs holding the balance of power means that Scotland's interests can't be ignored.

"The Tories have been rejected in election after election in Scotland, and the SNP would never help them into power.

"By electing SNP MPs, the people of Scotland can vote to get rid of the Tories, and have a powerful, progressive voice to protect and promote Scottish interests - a message we will be hammering home from now until May."