EDINBURGH, Oct 16 (AFP) -- Support for Scottish independence from the United Kingdom has risen to a record high of 58 percent, according to an Ipsos Mori poll released on Wednesday.
The poll of 1,045 adults aged over 16 across Scotland, conducted from October 2-9, saw only 42 percent back staying in the union once undecided voters were stripped out.
"Our latest poll will put a spring in the step of nationalists but makes grim reading for unionists," Emily Gray, the managing director of Ipsos MORI Scotland said.
"The Scottish public have shifted even further towards supporting an independent Scotland, with record numbers now saying they would vote 'yes'."
The poll indicated strong support for the Scottish National Party (SNP) led by First Minister Nicola Sturgeon, who has won widespread public backing for her handling of the Covid-19 pandemic.
Some 72 percent of Scots are satisfied with the job Sturgeon is doing, according to the poll.
Scotland, whose devolved administration in Edinburgh sets policy in areas including education, health, transport and local government, is due to hold parliamentary elections in May next year.
Gray said SNP support, buoyed by Sturgeon's high satisfaction ratings, looks "very strong" and would further bolster calls for another vote on independence.
UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson has repeatedly ruled out transferring the parliament powers from London to hold another referendum.
The last vote, in 2014, saw Scots vote by 55 percent to 45 percent in favour of remaining part of the United Kingdom.
Sturgeon has promised to set out the terms and timing for a new independence referendum -- dubbed "indyref2" -- before May next year.
She took her case to German leader Angela Merkel on Thursday, writing a guest editorial for Die Welt in which she explained her desire for independence and European Union membership.
"Scotland has... contributed much to Europe through our people, our world-class universities, and now in particular the fight against climate change," she wrote.
"The Scottish government believes that the best future for our country is as an independent nation within the EU."
The SNP argues it has a new case for an independence vote because a majority of Scots opted to stay in the EU in the 2016 referendum.
The nationwide result -- to leave -- changed the dynamics of the three-centuries-old union with the rest of the United Kingdom, it said.
Sturgeon said the challenges of coronavirus were being compounded "completely unnecessarily" by Brexit.