Scottish independence prospects dwindle as polls slam Salmond

The number of people prepared to support Scottish independence is falling substantially, new polling suggests.

A Mori Scotland poll found just 35% said they would vote 'yes' to independence north of the border, compared to 55% saying 'no'.

That was a significant decrease on results from January which showed a 39%-50% split. The 'no' vote has increased its lead by nine points in that time.

Even worse for advocates of independence, the polling results were reached by offering respondents the question promoted by the Scottish National party (SNP).

The form of the question – "Do you agree that Scotland should be an independent country?" – has been criticised for encouraging a 'yes' response, but even under this formulation support for independence appears to be dwindling.

Also, SNP members themselves seemed lukewarm towards independence, with just 71% saying they would back it.

First minister Alex Salmond appeared to be losing popularity, with a 21% fall in net support since August and nine per cent since January.

The decline comes amid continues criticism around his relationship with Rupert Murdoch.

Witness testimony from the Leveson inquiry has revealed the Scottish first minister to have even more servile relationship with the Australian media mogul than many of his opponents in Westminster.

The Mori Scotland firm has an impressive track record north of the border, with the top polling results for the May 2011 Holyrood election.

However, the referendum date is still two years off according to the SNP's preferred timing and support is liable to change.