More than half of Scots want the country to remain part of the UK, while just over a third support independence, a new poll has suggested.
The latest study by polling firm YouGov found 53 per cent of those surveyed wanted Scotland to continue as part of the UK.
Meanwhile 35 per cent of people questioned said that Scotland should be an independent country, according to the research for the Scottish Sun newspaper.
More than one in 10 voters were undecided about how to vote in the September 18 referendum. The poll found 56 per cent of women questioned backed the Union, while 27 per cent of females favoured independence, with the remaining 17 per cent undecided.
Among men support for Scotland remaining in the UK was 48 per cent — only four points above support for a Yes vote (44 per cent). The other 8 per cent of men said they did not know how they would cast their vote.
The poll findings were welcomed by those campaigning for independence, as well as those who want Scotland to remain in the UK
Better Together leader and former Chancellor Alistair Darling said the poll showed that First Minister Alex Salmond’s “refusal to tell us what currency we would use if we left the UK is taking its toll” on the Yes campaign.
Mr Darling added: “While it is great that we speak for the majority of people in Scotland, we know that the only poll that matters is the one that takes place in September this year. We will fight for every vote.”
Blair Jenkins, chief executive of the pro-independence campaign group Yes Scotland, said: “All recent polls have shown that Yes support is going up while No is on the way down.”
But the SNP said that when undecided voters were excluded, support for Yes was 40 per cent, with the party adding it was the first time YouGov had recorded backing for independence at this level since the start of the referendum campaign.
SNP business convener Derek Mackay said: “This is a welcome poll, which confirms the progress that is being made towards securing a Yes vote in September.
“This is the first time that YouGov have put support for a Yes vote above 40 per cent since the start of the referendum campaign...the direction of travel is firmly in favour of a Yes vote.”
Meanwhile, veteran actor Sir Sean Connery is urging Scots to vote in favour of independence, saying it is too good an opportunity to miss.
The James Bond star claimed a vote in favour of leaving the UK in September’s referendum would “capture the world’s attention”. He added that he was “particularly excited” about the prospects that independence could offer the film and creative industries, saying these could be boosted by new inward investment, helping to create jobs.
Sir Sean, who does not live in Scotland, accepts the decision over the country’s future should be made by “the people who choose to live and work there”.
But in an article, he said that as a Scot with a love of the arts he believed there was “no more creative an act than creating a new nation”.