A poll conducted in the aftermath of Nicola Sturgeon and Alex Salmond giving evidence to the Holyrood inquiry has shown growing support for staying in the Union. 

The polling conducted by Savanta ComRes for The Scotsman shows 46 percent of respondents backing No, a 43 percent support for Yes and a 10 percent for don't know.

READ MORE: Iain Macwhirter: Salmond blasted a blunderbuss, Sturgeon applied a subtle knife

When the 'don't knows' are excluded the poll of 1,015 people shows support for No at 52 percent with Yes at 48 percent. 

The poll, which isn't comparable to previous polls on the matter as it does not weigh figures such as voter turnout, comes ahead of further independence polling this week. 

Respondents were given choices over what issues were making them less or more likely to back Scottish independence including the Salmond inquiry, the ongoing Covid-19 vaccine rollout,  the performance of other political parties and more.  

The poll carried out in the two days after the current First Minister appeared before the committee featured on the front page of Scotland on Sunday. It found that the issue driving most away from Scottish independence was the Salmond inquiry, with 35 percent stating it was making them “less likely” to vote Yes.

However, 16 percent said the inquiry was making them more likely to vote Yes, with 41 percent saying it had made no difference in their likelihood to support Scottish independence. 8 percent said they did not know. 

43 percent also said that they trust First Minister Nicola Sturgeon less as a result of the Salmond inquiry, with the poll finding 46 percent trust the Scottish Government less. 

The Scottish Government’s handling of Covid-19 and the ongoing vaccine saw 42 percent of voters saying it has made them more likely to back Scottish independence.

26 percent of voters said Brexit was most likely the issue to make them less likely to support Scottish independence.

READ MORE: BBC examine 244 complaints over Sturgeon's 'inappropriate' 11 minute commentary of Salmond affair in Covid briefing

Associate director for Savanta ComRes, Chris Hopkins, told The Scotsman the impact of the inquiry on the First Minister was not yet “catastrophic”.

He said: “Although awareness of the Salmond inquiry has unsurprisingly increased since December, it’s not to say that the story has had a great impact on its protagonists, with those who say that they trust both Nicola Sturgeon and Alex Salmond more and less now increasing by virtually the same proportions.

"With only a fifth of 2014 No voters less likely to support independence because of the saga, it’s impact on the First Minister doesn’t look to be catastrophic – for now.”

Responding to the survey, an SNP spokeswoman said: "With Scotland on Sunday / Savanta Comres themselves stating that this poll is not comparable to previous polls and has not been properly weighted, it should be treated with caution.

"The SNP is looking forward to the election campaign where we will work to win support from across Scotland to continue to protect people from Covid, support Scotland's NHS, create jobs, and make sure that as we recover from the pandemic, Scotland's future is decided by the people who live here, not Boris Johnson's Tory party.

"That is what people across the country are focussed on and that is what we will do."

According to the poll, 43% said their trust in Ms Sturgeon had fallen due to the inquiry.
But trust in Mr Salmond has fallen even more, with 57% stating believing him less than before the inquiry began.

The Committee on the Scottish Government Handling of Harassment Complaints was set up after Mr Salmond successfully challenged the lawfulness of the government's investigation of him.

The former SNP leader, who led the Yes campaign in the 2014 independence referendum, was awarded a £512,250 payout after it emerged the investigating officer was found to have had prior contact with two of the female complainers.