As events over the last eight months have shown us, opinion polls should be treated with caution; as we all know, pollsters failed to predict Brexit or a victory for Donald Trump in the US presidential election.

But that doesn’t mean to say the latest Herald poll measuring support for independence in the wake of Brexit does not make for extremely interesting reading.

Prime Minister Theresa May’s keynote speech last month, where she outlined plans for a “hard” Brexit with the UK outside the European Single Market and Customs Union, and strict controls on immigration, appears to have had an impact on the thinking of Scots, who overwhelmingly voted in favour of remaining in the European Union last June. Support for independence is up three points since December - excluding don’t knows, the poll puts it at 49 per cent, with opposition at 51 per cent. Among those who voted to Remain in the EU, 51 per cent support independence, a jump of six points.

Those surveyed were also asked about their appetite for another independence poll before Brexit negotiations with the EU are concluded and on this opposition outweighs support by a bigger margin - 56 per cent to 44 percent.

There is little doubt, however, that the poll is good news for Nicola Sturgeon following months of stasis in surveys on the question of independence. The First Minister has favoured a gradualist approach since the Brexit vote in June and perhaps this is the first evidence that it is paying off. There are many within the general membership of party who would happily hold a second independence vote tomorrow, but Ms Sturgeon has argued that every possible avenue for Scotland to remain in the Single Market and the UK should be explored. Options are running out, of course, and Mrs May and Scottish Secretary David Mundell have made it pretty clear there will be no special deal for Scotland. Tory rhetoric appeared happy to call Ms Sturgeon’s bluff on another independence referendum with unmoving polls suggesting a similar outcome to the first; whether they will be so cavalier now, with evidence of movement towards support for independence remains to be seen.

The poll also only highlights the disconnect between the Scottish public and the Westminster process that has so far offered little useful debate about or opposition to the damaging economic and social consequences of a hard Brexit. This was further hammered home yesterday by the overwhelming vote of the Scottish Parliament to oppose the triggering of Article 50, which will formally allow negotiations with the EU to begin.

With this in mind, Mrs May would be foolish to ignore this poll. She has promised on a number of occasions to deliver a Brexit that “works for the whole of the UK”, but we are yet to see any real evidence of this approach. A willingness to consider compromise for Scotland on issues such as immigration and trade would be a good start.

If she does not, the willingness of her Government to simply ride roughshod over the will of the Scottish people risks breaking up the UK. Ms Sturgeon has been telling the Prime Minister this for months – perhaps this latest Herald poll will encourage Mrs May to take the matter more seriously.