A NEW poll has put support for independence ahead for the first time since April.

The Opinium survey for Sky News put Yes on 51 per cent and No on 49% among decided voters.

However it said there was “no statistical shift” since the 50/50 finding of its last poll in May.

The pollster found almost one in seven (13%) people who voted No in 2014 would now vote Yes, compared to just 8% making the journey from Yes to No.

No voters were also found to be more likely to be undecided than Yes voters (10% to 6%).

On the economy, 40% think independence would damage the Scottish economy, compared to 35% who think the economy would benefit. One in ten think it would make no difference.

Asked about their own finances, 36% think independence would make them financially worse off, compared to 18% who think it would make them better off, while 22% think it would make no difference whatever the result.

A separate poll commissioned by the Scotland in Union campaign this week reported a very different result, with 57% of decided voters saying they vote No in Indyref2.

On the new SNP-Green joint government, Opinium found 44% of Scots think it is good for Scotland, compared to 33% who think it will be bad for Scotland.

READ MORE: Majority of voters oppose Sturgeon's timetable for Indyref2, new poll suggests

Opinium also surveyed people how they rated the performance of party leaders.

They found that UK Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer was now less popular than Scottish Tory leader Douglas Ross, with a net approval rating of -19 after dropping three points.

Mr Ross, after gaining seven points, is now on a new approval rating of -17.

Nicola Sturgeon’s performance slipped a point to +22, with 53% of people approving of how she does her compared to 30 disapproving, but remains miles ahead of her rivals.

Scottish Labour leader fell four points to a net approval of +9, while Boris Johnsn increased his approval ratings north of the border by nine points, but was still on a dismal -34 overall.

Alex Salmond was the least trusted of all, with 69% of people saying they do not trust him.

Opinium said a majority of Scots voters would vote SNP in a Westminster election tomorrow, up 4 points to 51%, while the Tories were on 21% (-4) and Labour 17% (-3).

On a Scottish Parliament constituency, vote, the SNP ws up +3 points, with 51% of the vote share, while the Conservatives were on 21% (-1) and Labour on 18% (-4).

 Looking at the Holyrood regional vote, the SNP are on 40% (no change), while the Tories are on 21% (-1), and Labour are on 16% (-2).

Chris Curtis, Senior Research Manager at Opinium, said: “While there may not be a burning appetite for another referendum on Scottish independence, the data shows why the nationalists would stand a better chance of winning second time around.

“Firstly, Brexit has muddied the economic arguments that swung the results in 2014. 

“Back then, the median voter thought independence would damage their personal finances and damage the Scottish economy. Now, the median voter thinks that it wouldn’t make much difference to either.

“The next No campaign, if there is one, is also going to find it difficult to find a messenger who can appeal to swing voters. Of the 13 Scottish politicians, we tested Nicola Sturgeon was the only one trusted by voters to talk about the date on Scottish Independence. 55% say they trusted what she had to say, compared to just 25% who trust the Prime Minister.”

SNP MSP Neil Gray said: “The SNP recorded a resounding success in May’s election and was returned to Government with a cast iron mandate to deliver on our promise of a post-pandemic referendum. 

“The Tories cannot continue to deny that democratic reality - if they do, it will prove unsustainable. The people of Scotland delivered a cast-iron mandate for a referendum for recovery, when the Covid crisis has passed - the people of Scotland must have the opportunity to choose their own future.”