Scotland's Justice Minister has warned about "rigged" polls with a cryptic message online after a fresh survey showed support for independence dropping in Scotland.

Humza Yousaf took to Twitter following the release of a Survation poll for pro-union group Scotland in Union, which found that support for leaving the UK had dropped to 43%.

The poll, by pro-union group Scotland in Union, asked a different question to past studies that was more similar to the 'leave vs remain' poser from the Brexit referendum of 2016 - where Scots voted overwhelmingly to 'remain'. 

Most recent polls have mirrored the question from the 2014 referendum, which asked if they believe Scotland should be independent.

READ MORE: Poll finds 57 per cent of Scots would vote to 'remain' in UK

The poll’s change of question drew scorn from Mr Yousaf, who Tweeted: “They will throw more conspiracies and rigged polls at us between now and polling day – we will stay focussed on Covid recovery and ask people who they trust to guide us through it: Nicola or Douglas Ross?

“In whose hands do they trust our Country’s future: Scotland’s or Westminster?”

The SNP depute leader, Keith Brown, also pointed to the change in question, saying: “Voters will see right through this desperate attempt to rig the question in a deliberate bid to confuse independence with Brexit.

“If the people of Scotland back a referendum at the coming election then that is what will happen; inventing fresh barriers to put in the way of voters getting a say simply will not stand.

“Scotland’s future must be firmly in Scotland’s hands – not Boris Johnson’s.”

The poll adds to a trend of the independence camp losing support in previous weeks, with the last seven polls now showing support for independence either equal or less than support for the union.

When undecided voters are removed, support for remaining within the UK was 57%, compared to 43% for leaving.

Respondents were also asked to give the three issues they believe to be the most important to Scotland currently.

The highest proportion said the pandemic was the most important issue (53%), followed by the NHS and social care (48%) and the economy and employment (46%).

Independence was ranked in the top three by just 8% of people.

HeraldScotland:

Pamela Nash, the chief executive of Scotland in Union, said: “This poll shows that a majority of people in Scotland want to remain part of the UK.

“This confirms the recent trend in polls, with the successful UK vaccination programme and UK-wide support for jobs and businesses, reminding us that we are stronger together.

“The SNP should stop prioritising division ahead of the issues that really matter to people."

READ MORE: 'No' takes the lead in two new Scottish Independence polls as support for SNP slips

Scottish Conservative leader Douglas Ross added: “Humza Yousaf, who is apparently the Justice Secretary, went on a Trump-style rant about “rigged polls” on Twitter.

“His bizarre outburst questioning the truthfulness of polls isn’t worthy of anyone in Scottish politics."