ONLY the SNP can beat the Tories in Scotland, according to a new opinion poll which found that a second independence referendum would be too close to call.

And while the Ipsos MORI survey for STV News was good news for the party, it also proved a bonus for Nicola Sturgeon, who was the only Scottish party leader not to be given a negative satisfaction rating.

Voters were split on how she’s doing her job as First Minister, with 48% saying they were satisfied and 48% dissatisfied.

But both Boris Johnson and Jeremy Corbyn are unpopular in Scotland. Just over a fifth (22%) of those polled were satisfied with how Johnson is doing his job as Prime Minister, while 74% are dissatisfied (including 23% of Tory supporters) – a net satisfaction rating of -52.

The National: Boris Johnson

Jeremy Corbyn’s rating satisfaction rating as Labour leader was 22%, while 69% were dissatisfied (including 41% of Scottish Labour supporters) – a net rating of -47.

The National: Jeremy Corbyn

LibDem leader Jo Swinson’s personal ratings were higher than either Johnson’s or Corbyn’s, with 27% saying they were satisfied with her performance while 48% were dissatisfied, a net satisfaction rating of -21.

The National: Jo Swinson

Interim leader of the Scottish Tories, Jackson Carlaw, was revealed as the least well known of the Scottish party leaders – 18% were satisfied against 43% who were not, a net satisfaction rating of -25.

The National: Jackson Carlaw

Scottish Labour leader Richard Leonard’s personal ratings were low, with only 17% satisfied against 50% – a net rating of -33.

The National:

Scottish LibDem leader Willie Rennie fared better than his Tory and Labour counterparts, with 31% satisfied against 38% – a net satisfaction rating of -7.

The National: Willie Rennie

The poll said 44% of Scots planned to vote SNP in next month’s General Election, up from the 36.9% it secured in 2017 when it won 35 of the 59 Scottish parliamentary seats – the biggest lead given to the SNP in any Scottish survey since the campaign began in earnest. Among those who would be likely to vote in indyref2, 50% said they would vote Yes, while the other half would vote No. A second independence referendum in the next year was supported by 42%, with 50% against.

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Boris Johnson’s Tories came second overall with 26%, down from the 28.6% support his predecessor Theresa May won in 2017. The 13 Scottish Tory MPs returned as part of that result was crucial to keeping May in Downing Street.

Support for Labour in Scotland has slumped to just 16% of the vote, down from 27.1% of ballots cast in 2017 when it won seven Scottish constituencies. The result will raise fears that Labour will suffer losses in two weeks’ time.

Meanwhile, support for the LibDems, led by Jo Swinson, has risen from 6.8% in 2017 to 11% in the poll, which also put the Greens on 2%, and the Brexit Party less than 1%.

Brexit was seen as the main issue helping voters decide, with 56% mentioning it, followed by the NHS (44%), Scottish independence/devolution (34%), education (24%) and protecting the environment/climate change (8%).

Although SNP supporters are the most likely to say Scottish independence was very important to how they’ll vote, Brexit remained their top issue, with 55% mentioning it, 46% independence and 45% the NHS.

The National: Ian Blackford

Ian Blackford, the SNP candidate for Ross, Skye and Lochaber, said: “It’s increasingly clear that this election is a two-horse race in Scotland.

“Only the SNP can beat the Tories and deprive Boris Johnson of the majority he craves.

“And with support for independence now at 50%, it is completely unsustainable for any Westminster politician to try and block Scotland’s right to choose.

He added: “The SNP will be working every day between now and the election to keep Boris Johnson out of Downing Street.

“Voters have a choice – if they want to escape Brexit and end austerity, they need to vote SNP.”

According to Electoral Calculus, if the poll results were replicated on election day, the SNP could pick up an additional 13 seats, reaching their second-highest total of 48; the Tories would slip from 13 to six; Labour-held seats would fall from seven to one, while the LibDems would stay on four.

Emily Gray, managing director of Ipsos MORI Scotland, said: “The SNP have most reason to be pleased with the findings from our poll. The party looks set to make gains at the General Election and Nicola Sturgeon’s personal ratings remain the highest of any of the party leaders.”

A YouGov poll for The Times, meanwhile, found the SNP on course to secure a 32-seat lead over the Tories in Scotland.

It indicated the SNP would secure 43 seats in Scotland and the Tories 11, two down on 2017. Labour would take two seats, losing five to the SNP, while the LibDems would take three, one down on the last election.

The poll suggested the Tories would hold on to 11 of the 13 seats they took in 2017, losing only Stirling and East Renfrewshire to the SNP.

However, it said the races in many Tory-held seats were tight.

In Gordon, Ochil and South Perthshire, Aberdeen South, Ayr, Carrick and Cumnock, Moray, Angus and East Renfrewshire the margin ranged from a one-point SNP lead to a five-point Tory lead.

The YouGov model suggested Labour would lose five of their seven seats to the SNP and are projected to cling on in Coatbridge, Chryston and Bellshill by one point and comfortably hold Edinburgh South.

STV’s Bernard Ponsonby said: “Our poll will put a spring in the step of some and have others gargling with gin before the witching hour.”