TWICE as many British voters are more concerned about keeping Scotland within the UK than those fearing Brexit, a new poll has found.

The BMG poll for The Herald found 68 per cent of UK voters cited Scottish independence as their “least preferred option” when compared with Britain splitting from the EU, which recorded 32 per cent support.

The Herald: Yes campaign supporters in George Square, Glasgow, as ballet papers for the Scottish independence referendum are counted through the night. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Friday September 19, 2014. See PA story REFERENDUM Main. Photo credit should

The figures indicate that UK voters are overwhelmingly more anxious about Scotland remaining within the 300-year-old Union than a Brexit.

And they suggest fears over the possible break-up of the Union could help keep the UK in the European Union.

Read more: David Cameron believes SNP will not call second indyref because 'Scotland-lite' is enough, says former MP

The findings of the poll – which canvassed 1,512 voters UK-wide between April 21 and 26 – came as Nicola Sturgeon faced more questions about the circumstances in which she would seek a second independence referendum. 

The Herald: Nicola Sturgeon: on course to win her own mandate to be first minister

Campaigning in Edinburgh, the first minister insisted her position was “rooted in democracy” and accused her political rivals of being “frightened” of a referendum re-run. 

But the leaders of the three main pro-Union parties have called on her to respect the outcome of the vote on September 18, 2014.

Read more: David Torrance: Scottish nationalists and Brexiteers have much in common. Both are utterly vacuous

The SNP leader has said that another vote could be triggered if Scotland is taken out of the EU against the will of Scots. Polls suggest while most Scots back remaining in the EU, the picture in England, where 85 per cent of the UK population lives, is more mixed. 

Reacting to The Herald poll, a spokesman for the Scottish Conservatives said voters “right across the UK were concerned about the prospect of Scotland being independent”.

Read more: UKIP Scotland leader hits out at SNP's "nonsense" support for the European Union

The Herald: NO supporters celebrate at the Royal Highland Centre, Edinburgh as the final results of the Scottish independence referendum are announced. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Friday September 19, 2014. See PA story REFERENDUM Main. Photo credit should

“That was shown in a number of rallies, and a recognition that the UK needed Scotland as much as Scotland needed the UK,” he said.

A breakdown of the poll results showed pro-European Brits were strongly against Scottish independence with 72 per cent opposed to secession. 
But when asked to choose, 56 per cent of Europhiles said that their “least preferred” option was Brexit. 

Among undecided EU voters most, 71 per cent, were against Scottish independence and a similar proportion, 73 per cent, thought independence would be a worse outcome than Brexit.

The Herald: Kezia Dugdale: Ordinary members to attend Labour Party conference for just £5

The poll also found that younger people were less likely to be concerned by Scottish independence than Brexit than older people. 

Experts said the findings suggested young people’s values had moved more towards the continent than those of their parents or grandparents. 

A Scottish Liberal Democrat spokesman said the SNP would “do well to remember” that debate over the EU referendum “is not a proxy one for Scottish independence”.

“Liberal Democrats stand for Scotland remaining part of the UK and the UK remaining part of the EU,” he added. 

A Scottish Labour spokesman said the “best future” for Scottish jobs was to remain in the UK and EU.

“Scottish Labour is fully committed to the UK remaining in the European Union,” he said.

The SNP reiterated their stance that only by democratic will can Scotland hold a second referendum.

A spokesman said: “As we have made clear, the prospect of Scotland being dragged out of Europe against our will would almost certainly spark strong demands for a second referendum.” 

On the campaign trail yesterday, Labour leader Kezia Dugdale accused the SNP and the Conservatives of being “utterly obsessed with re-running the constitutional arguments of the past”. 

It followed Nicola Sturgeon’s comments at the weekend where the first minister admitted she expected to lead Scotland to independence.

She said opinion polls could trigger another independence referendum but said there would have to be “clear and sustained evidence... over a period of time, that independence had become the preferred option of the majority”.