ONE third of audiences believe the BBC's news reporting is biased against Scottish Independence, a new poll has revealed.

A survey for The Herald shows that only one quarter of those polled believed the BBC was impartial in its coverage of the issues surrounding independence.

The poll appears to confirm BBC Trust findings published last year in which Scottish viewers tended to have a “lower opinion” of the broadcaster than elsewhere in the UK.

And it suggests a significant proportion of Scottish nationalists have failed to forgive the BBC after blaming its coverage for skewing the news agenda during the 2014 independence referendum.

Nationalist anger boiled over in the days ahead of the vote as 4,000 Yes supporters campaigned outside the BBC's Glasgow HQ at Pacific Quay, waving placards branding the BBC the “British Brainwashing Corporation” and claiming the licence fee was a “licence to lie” amid claims it was favouring Unionist arguments in its coverage.

Former political editor Nick Robinson was branded corrupt and a liar following a spat with then SNP leader Alex Salmond over the economic case for independence.

The BBC has always rejected any claims of prejudice and said its extensive news programming was produced in line with strict editorial guidelines "on fairness, accuracy and impartiality".

Today's poll asked Scots if they agreed or disagreed with the statement: "The BBC tends to report news that is biased against the cause for Scottish independence."

The results show that 36 per cent said they agreed, 23 per cent disagreed and 41 per cent neither agreed nor disagreed.

Robert Struthers, senior researcher at BMG Research, which carried out the survey said the findings painted a “striking” picture of opinion divided along constitutional - and generational - lines.

"Almost two thirds, 64 per cent, of those who voted for independence in 2014 agreeing that the BBC is biased in its reporting, compared with just seven per cent who disagreed," he said.

The poll also showed that those aged between 18 and 44 were the most likely to feel the BBC is biased against independence, with 39 per cent agreeing and just 18 per cent disagreeing.

Among those aged 65 and over, 27 per cent believed there was bias while 30 per cent disagreed.

Mr Struthers said the polling gave "an indication that the BBC, one of Britain's most popular and trusted media organisations, may be facing both a political and a generational divide in Scotland".

He added: "In the eyes of younger and pro-independence Scots the BBC's reputation for unbiased and objective reporting may be called into question.

"With the prospect of another independence referendum still looming, the debates surrounding the BBC's impartiality, are unlikely to be resolved anytime soon.”

Following the independence referendum Mr Salmond called for control over the BBC in Scotland to be transferred to Holyrood.

There have been frequent complaints that the BBC's main Six O'Clock News bulletin features stories on devolved areas such as education and health which are not relevant to Scottish audiences.

This has led to calls for a 'Scottish Six' to replace the current format of UK news followed by Reporting Scotland. A decision has yet to be made on any changes.

Donalda MacKinnon, the new director of BBC Scotland, admitted last December that the corporation had lost the trust of a "significant number" of people but rejected the suggestion that its coverage of the referendum had been biased.

An SNP spokesman called for more decisions on news output to be taken in Scotland.

He said: "The SNP recognises both the value and the independence of the BBC and the important tradition of public service broadcasting in this country. However, we are firmly of the view that more of the licence fee collected in Scotland should be invested here – delivering relevant, high quality content for Scottish audiences."

However pro-Union parties suggested the poll was the manifestation of a politically-motivated campaign against the state broadcaster.

Scottish Labour said the survey demonstrated the success of repeated attacks on the BBC.

A source said: "The BBC is known and respected worldwide for it's impartial, and ground-breaking reporting. This poll shows how effective the repeated attacks on the BBC from nationalists have been. It is a tactic Donald Trump is attempting to replicate across the Atlantic."

?Scottish Conservative shadow culture secretary Jackson Carlaw said: "The BBC seems to cause upset to both sides of the constitutional divide. That tends to suggest, as a journalistic outlet, it's doing a good job."

Scottish Liberal Democrat leader Willie Rennie called on supporters of Scottish independence to "end the sniping about the BBC and start celebrating the BBC".

A BBC spokesman said: "We reject any claims of bias in our news coverage. Our extensive news programming is produced in line with our editorial guidelines on fairness, accuracy and impartiality."

BMG polled 1,067 Scots between January 26 and 31.