NICOLA Sturgeon would be flying in the face of public opinion if she tried to hold a second independence referendum within a decade, according to a new poll.

The Survation survey for the Scottish Daily Mail found three-fifths of Scots were opposed to a re-run of the 2014 vote for at least five years.

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A fifth were against holding one for at least 10 years and a third were opposed at any time.

However, the poll also found relatively strong support for the SNP at Holyrood and predicted the Nationalist and Greens could hold on to their pro-independence majority at the 2021 election.

Voting intention for the SNP was 43 per cent in constituencies (down from 46% in 2016) and 32% on the list (down from 42%), giving a seat projection of 59, down four.

The poll put the Greens on 11% on the list, giving a seat prediction of 11 (up five on 2016).

That would give the two parties 70 MSPs in total, one more than they won in 2016, although previous predictions of a record surge in Green MSPs have failed to materialise.

The prediction is more positive than one generated by a Panelbase poll for the Wings Over Scotland website last week, which pointed to a pro-Union majority after 2021.

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After months of delays caused by uncertainty over Brexit, the First Minister is due to update Holyrood on her plans for a second referendum within weeks.

She first called a second referendum in March 2016 because of Brexit, but “reset” her plans after the SNP lost a third of its MPs and half a million votes in the 2017 general election.

Ms Sturgeon says she has a “triple lock mandate” to hold a referendum, but the UK government has said it would refuse to grant Holyrood the requisite powers.

Only last week, Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt said in Glasgow that “of course” Theresa May would reject any request for a Section 30 order transferring such powers.

With sections of the Yes movement agitating for a vote in the current Scottish parliament, before Ms Sturgeon’s mandate expires, the First Minister is under pressure to act.

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She could press for a second vote in the expectation Mrs May would refuse, then use that refusal as a campaign tool in the next election.

However the Survation poll suggests the public would not welcome a fresh push for a vote, and even a tactical request for one could backfire.

Opposition parties said the public were “sick and tired” of talk of a second referendum.

It found only 21.9% of Scotland wanted a referendum within two years of Brexit taking place; 9.9% wanted another vote within two to five years; 7.4% in five to ten years; 20.7% after 10 years; 32% never wanted another referendum; and 8.1% were undecided.

Overall, 60% did not want an independence referendum before 2024.

On a more optimistic note for the SNP, around 60% were open to a second referendum in the longer-term, after 10 years.

The pol also gave the SNP a healthy lead over its rivals at Holyrood, putting them 19 points ahead of the Tories in constituencies and 10 points ahead of them on the list.

Constituency voting intention for the 2021 Holyrood election was SNP 43%, Tory 24%, Labour 22%, LibDem 9% and other 2%.

List voting intention was SNP 32%, Tory 22%, Labour 19%, LibDem 11%, Green 11%, Ukip 3% and other 1%.

Seat predictions were SNP 59 (down 4 compared to 2016), Tory 26 (-5), Labour 21 (-3), LibDem 12 (+7), Green 11 (+5).

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Scottish Tory MSP Maurice Golden said: “This shows a clear majority do not want another referendum any time soon. Scots are sick and tired of Nicola Sturgeon’s obsession with a referendum. They deserve a Scottish Government focused on their priorities of health and education.”

LibDem MSP Alex Cole-Hamilton said: “The public are sick and tired of the SNP banging on about another independence referendum when they should be fixing the problems in our schools and hospitals.”

Pamela Nash, chief executive of the anti-independence Scotland in Union group, added: “It’s clear that the Nationalists’ attempt to weaponise Brexit in the hope of boosting support for separatism is failing.

“The First minister should take the irresponsible threat of an unwanted second referendum off the table.”

SNP Depute Leader Keith Brown welcomed the SNP’s continued poll lead

He said: “People in Scotland are better off with the SNP, which explains this strong poll showing. By contrast, the poll makes dismal reading for the Tories and other Westminster parties who are out of touch and in chaos over Brexit.

“Support for independence is now higher than backing for any kind of Brexit – which is why the Tories are running scared of giving people a say on their future because they fear they would lose.

“This poll shows a big majority of people support an independence referendum and no wonder, when the Westminster system is clearly broken.”

Survation polled 1011 Scottish adults between March 1 and 4.