Majority back Scottish independence
Scottish independence now has majority backing north of the border and in the UK as a whole, according to a new poll.
Research by ComRes for the Independent on Sunday and Sunday Mirror found that support for the move has risen sharply over recent months.
The results are a boost for First Minister Alex Salmond as his governing Scottish National Party prepares to hold its autumn conference in Inverness.
In the UK overall, 39% of those surveyed agreed that Scotland should be an independent country - an increase of six points since May. The number disagreeing with the statement had fallen four points to 38%.
In Scotland, the proportion supporting independence was up 11 points over the period at 49%. Some 37% disagreed - down by nine points.
The SNP, which won an unprecedented overall majority in the Scottish elections in May, has promised to hold a referendum on independence towards the end of its five-year term.
ComRes surveyed 2,004 adults online on October 12 and 13. Data were weighted to be demographically representative of the population and by past vote recall.
SNP campaigns director and MP Angus Robertson said: "This is an excellent poll that shows support, in both Scotland and England, for our nations having a new relationship of equality as two independent countries, sharing a head of state and working together as partners in Europe."
The Scotland Office pointed out that the sample for Scotland was small at just 176 people this month, and 183 in May.
"This poll is based on a very small sample of less than 200 Scots and we simply don't believe it reflects the wider picture accurately," a spokesman said. "The Scottish Government has yet to put any detail on its plans for independence to the people of Scotland and we will continue to demand they do so, while at the same time making the strong and positive case for remaining part of the United Kingdom."