THERE are many messages contained in the details of the two contrasting polls published this week.

The main takeaway for independence supporters is that their preferred constitutional future is supported by 53% of polled voters, which shows that there is hope for a better future.

But both polls suggest falling support for the main independence party, resulting in a projected loss of 23 SNP Westminster seats by YouGov to just a handful in the Ipsos poll published later.

In yesterday’s National, polling expert Mark McGeoghegan explained the different polling methodologies which led to the different results – but what they have in common is a warning bell for the SNP.

There are different interpretations of the scale of the problems facing the party and important caveats in the worst-case scenario presented by the YouGov poll. But there is certainly some disillusionment among SNP supporters which poses big questions for the Yes movement.

The contrasting levels of support for independence (53% in the Ipsos poll) and for the SNP suggest that a growing number of those who previously voted for the SNP no longer have faith in the party to deliver it.

The fact that they seem more likely to vote for Labour than for another independence-supporting party isn’t particularly hard to understand. In the absence of a clear route to independence, many people are focusing instead on the urgent need to kick the Tories out of Westminster.

In a sense, who can blame them?

The present Tory government is the worst in living memory. Its policies have brought about a catastrophic cost of living crisis as its ministers look to line their own pockets and those of their friends in big business.

The SNP MPs may have a role to play in putting a Labour in place but a vote for the SNP won’t in itself unseat Rishi Sunak’s government.

Nevertheless, the prospect of waking up on the morning after the next UK General Election to find that Scottish voters had kicked out a significant number of SNP MPs in a surge of support for Labour is more than depressing. It is catastrophic.

It would push the prospect of moving any closer to independence back for years and shatter the authority of the Scottish Government to argue that it has a powerful mandate for a second independence referendum.

It would reduce the power of pro-independence voices at Westminster and aid Keir Starmer in his refusal to wind back Brexit and other key Tory projects.

READ MORE: Labour Party in England will not deliver what Scotland needs or wants

Yet are those within the Yes movement who argue that the SNP need to be given a bloody nose because they have no intention of pursuing independence in any real way. In other words, they suggest that to reinvigorate the Yes movement, it is necessary to make its main political proponents a laughing stock within the corridors of UK power.

Those who believe that a significant drop in the number of SNP MPs at Westminster will somehow bring new focus, vigour and vision to the campaign for independence need to be very careful.

These are early days for First Minister Humza Yousaf – and most of those days have been spent desperately fighting the fall-out from a police investigation into the SNP finances which has been carried out in the full glare of the public eye while simultaneously the chance to respond is restricted under the contempt of court rule.

But even so, there have been developments which suggest that there is a new focus within the Scottish Government to navigate a way out of the current impasse.

One is the appointment of Jamie Hepburn to the new and potentially vital role of Independence Minister. The other is the announcement that the special democrayc conference on the route to independence announced by Nicola Sturgeon will take place in some form on June 24, albeit rebranded as an“independence convention”.

READ MORE: Pink Floyd's Roger Waters gig should be cancelled, says MP

Both of these are steps in the right direction but each needs a change of focus to achieve their aim. The independence convention has come under fire for a number of reasons.

Some are furious that it has been scheduled for the same day as the next All Under One Banner (AUOB) march, some object to the restriction on attendance at the event to SNP members only. Both of these arguments highlight fissures within the Yes movement that show no sign of being resolved.

Marches have been a contentious issue for some time now. Supporters say they are a visible sign of significant support for independence – but detractors describe them as alienating to those not so far convinced of the independence case.

When the Independence Minister was attacked for not attending the most recent AUOB march in Glasgow, he countered – correctly – that independence will not be won by marches alone.

That does not mean they serve no purpose

A good-natured, well-behaved and celebratory march can give the impression of a movement with momentum. If an event can somehow attract non-converts, it’s surely worth holding. Rather than sniffily dismiss indy marches, it would surely be better to devise a way of making mass events welcoming and broader.

They don’t need to be an alternative to the hard work of knocking on doors and convincing voters, but a different tactic to complement it. We should be seeking a way to work together rather than indulging in a very public barrage of criticism every time an SNP minister fails to attend a march.

And while we are at it, is it too much to expect organisers to avoid a clash of dates where possible?

The SNP independence convention at Dundee on June 24 is also problematic – but not because only SNP members can attend. There’s nothing wrong with a party limiting discussion on future strategy to its own members. It makes sense.

The problem here is not that the SNP are excluding “outsiders” from this event. It is a perception that this is typical behaviour from a party that continually refuses to invite the wider movement to take a role in its discussions on the route to independence. The main problem here is the lack of an organisation encompassing the wider movement which could pull all its component parts together in discussion. In the absence of such an organisation, all eyes turn to the SNP to fulfil that function, which is unrealistic.

There have been vague suggestions that such a Yes organisation should be formed and it seems to me that the need for positive action to make it a reality is urgent. The other problem with the SNP independence convention is its remit. Limiting the discussions on the best way to hold a legally binding independence referendum seems too narrow.

Personally, I’ve always had time for the much-derided option of using the next General Election as a de facto referendum. It seems a reasonable response to Westminster’s refusal to even countenance sanctioning indyef2 to take that power away from them.

Having said that, the YouGov poll starkly lays out the risks involved in that strategy. Factors other than independence – not least the clear and urgent need to kick the Tories out of power – can’t be entirely ruled out. If that takes enough votes away from the SNP, the whole idea of a de facto referendum would be in tatters.

READ MORE: SNP Independence Convention: Grassroots figures weigh in on event

It’s also true that there could be ways of achieving independence other than through a referendum. Shouldn’t they be discussed at the independence convention too?

The problem with the current remit is that problematic phrase “legally binding”, which the Supreme Court has defined as “needing Westminster’s consent”.

The Labour Party have, in the short term at least, set themselves against an independence referendum just as staunchly as the Tories. An independence convention surely needs to grapple with finding a way to challenge that restriction rather than trying to square a circle.

While we need to be honest about the divisions in the Yes movement and the challenges facing the SNP, we still need to keep a sense of perspective. The YouGov poll is just one poll. It’s not a prediction. Its findings do not yet represent a trend.

And even if it is reflected in the actual result – and that’s a HUGE if – the SNP would still “win” the General Election in Scotland if you define “win” as returning more MPs than any other party.

And, of course, there is still time to change the picture significantly, particularly by working out why the risk to sitting SNP MPs seems so significant in Glasgow and countering that.

So a lot can change before the next election. The real message to take from this week’s poll is that if independence voters are disillusioned and SNP voters switch support to Labour, they will make independence less rather than more likely and reduce any pressure on Starmer to reduce the impact of Brexit and properly reverse the UK’s lurch to the right.

Is that really the result they want?