A NEW poll suggests that Scotland voting to become independent is contingent on a guarantee of EU membership.

Data compiled by Survation for the Press and Journal showed 51% of voters would say No if asked “should Scotland be an independent country”.

However, when asked the same question but with a guarantee of admission to the European Union, 53% of voters would support Scottish independence.

Scotland voted to stay in the United Kingdom 55% to 45% in the 2014 referendum. 

The poll surveyed more than 2,000 Scottish residents between March 11 and March 18.

READ MORE: Expert says Salmond saga will not shift opinion in 'any significant way' with SNP 'almost certainly' to win election

Undecided voters were removed from the data surrounding Scotland’s constitutional future.

Polling expert Professor Sir John Curtice told the Press and Journal the latest figures suggested the Alex Salmond inquiry had made little difference to the polls.

The survey was taken after Nicola Sturgeon and Alex Salmond provided evidence to the Holyrood inquiry into the government’s handling of sexual harassment complaints, but before the leak from the committee.

Commenting on the result, Professor Curtice said: “All the polls are roughly around 50/50 at the moment and there is increasing evidence the whole row has not made much difference.

“Support for the country is split down the middle of the country and has been split down the middle since February.

“It’s clearly lower than it was last year, but it hasn’t really moved during the course of recent weeks.”

He added: “The support for independence amongst people who voted remain goes up from 54% in the standard question to 59%, whereas the leave voters basically aren’t moved.

“So it basically attracts more remain voters, which is already the case, support for independence is quite heavily structured by whether people voted remain or leave in 2016.”

According to the survey, the SNP are currently on course for an overall majority at Holyrood, with the party expected to win 67 seats.

Meanwhile, Labour would win 24 seats and the Scottish Conservatives slip into third place with 22.

The Scottish Greens would have 11 seats and the Lib Dems are predicted to match 2016's results with five seats.

READ MORE: Parties launch Holyrood election campaigns with focus on trust and experience

The survey also found that the Scottish Conservatives would likely take more constituency votes (21% to Labour’s 20%) but would come second in the regional list vote (20% to the Tories’ 19%).

Survation founder and chief executive Damian Lyons Lowe added: “The first poll in our election series for DC Thomson features a larger-than-usual sample size of more than 2,000 Scots being interviewed, meaning that we can see more clearly differences in opinion by region and past voting intention on key issues.

“Despite recent controversies, these initial results, as the campaign kicks off, indicate the SNP would take a majority of seats were the Scottish parliament election to be held today, receiving 50% of the constituency vote and a 39% share of the regional list second vote.

“Two thirds of Scots believe the Scottish government has handled the coronavirus pandemic ‘well’ vs less than a third who said ‘badly’.

“For the first time since December 2019, using the standard independence question, Survation has a two-point lead for No to independence — 51% to a 49% for Yes when undecided voters were removed.”

Regardless of voting intention, 31% of respondents said they would consider voting Labour in May, while 28% would vote for the Scottish Greens.

Around 22% would consider voting for an “other” party, while only 15% would consider voting for the Conservatives and 20% for the SNP.

Professor Curtice said the race for second place was really close.

He said: “If you take the numbers and put them through the Scottish Parliament calculator it’s SNP on 67 seats, Labour 24, Conservatives 22, Scottish Greens 11, Lib Dems five.

“This just puts the SNP slightly on the side of an overall majority but it’s obviously all still pretty tight.

“The dirty secret of this election is going to be, for the UK government to avoid the embarrassment of the SNP having an overall majority, they are relying on the Labour Party to deliver it.

“The Tories are too tied to the leave vote and are very strongly anti-Sturgeon, anti-SNP in its outlook.”

He added: “So basically 27% of current SNP voters say that they might vote Labour, but only 6% say they’d vote Conservative.

“Equally 23% of Labour voters and 24% of Lib Dem voters say they might vote for the SNP. But, again, hardly any Tories will do so.”