By a Newsnet reporter
Support for Scottish independence is on the increase according to a survey carried out by pollsters TNS on behalf of the BBC.
The survey, conducted between 26th October – 1st November, showed that nearly two thirds of Scots, 61%, now support either full independence for Scotland or the devolution of all powers with the exception of foreign affairs and defence.
The result of the survey of 1020 adults represents a near ten per cent swing away from the status quo since the last comparable poll carried out last year.
Asked whether they supported full independence, 28 per cent were in agreement, up from 22% in 2010. Those opting for the status quo fell from 32% in 2010 to 29% whilst the number of people choosing devo-max fell from 44% to 33%.
SNP Leader and Scotland's First Minister Alex Salmond welcomed the new poll describing it as an “excellent” start to the referendum campaign.
Commenting, Mr Salmond said:
"This is an excellent poll showing a marked increase in support for independence, and 2 out of 3 Scots backing real economic power for Scotland.
"Independence and ‘more powers for the Scottish Parliament’ are now neck and neck as the debate over Scotland's future gets started. We are only at the start of the referendum campaign but as voters realise the positive benefits of independence, that figure will rise further and faster.
"This is the third poll in a row showing rising support for independence highlighting that the tired arguments of the Westminster-led parties simply aren't working. The people of Scotland are increasingly seeing through these attempts to talk down their own ability to make a success of
themselves, their communities and their country."
The poll will add to the debate over whether devo-max deserves to be included in the referendum ballot paper. There is an increasing reluctance amongst Unionist opponents of independence to endorse devo-max as a legitimate alternative.
Speaking on Sunday’s Politics Show on the BBC, BBC Scotland’s political editor Brian Taylor claimed that the option was unlikely to be on the ballot paper unless the Unionist opposition “agitated” for it.
TNS, Fieldwork: 26th October – 1st November 2011, Sample - 1020
Thinking about the future of Scotland, which of these three options would you support the most?:
IPSOS-Mori, Fieldwork: 18th to 21st November 2010, Sample size - 1,001
Thinking about Scotland's constitutional future, which of the following statements most closely matches your views on this issue?