SNP bosses “manipulated” polling figures and tried to “weaponise Brexit” as they claimed majority support for independence, pro-UK campaigners have suggested.
The campaign group Scotland in Union hit out at at the SNP’s interpretation of a survey that showed more than a third of Scots were more likely to back leaving the UK as a result of Brexit .
The SNP said its analysis of the Survation poll showed this could be a narrow majority for independence if there was a second referendum.
Party depute leader Keith Brown claimed the “chaos and despair” of Brexit significant had resulted in a “significant swell in support for Scotland taking all decisions over our future for ourselves”.
SNP strategist Ross Colquhoun tweeted the “figures would mean a majority of 51.39% for independence, with 48.61% against”.
Survation, which questioned 1,725 people in Scotland as part of a much larger survey, made clear afterwards there was “no Scottish Indy Ref voting intention” included in their research.
Pamela Nash, the chief executive of the pro-UK campaign group Scotland in Union, said: “There are red faces all around at SNP HQ following this blunder.”
The former Labour MP added: “This desperate attempt to manipulate a poll has backfired and SNP deputy leader Keith Brown should apologise and set the record straight.
“The SNP is weaponising Brexit to focus on the only thing it cares about – independence.
“This is an important reminder for Remain voters in Scotland that the Nationalists want to use your vote to break up the UK. Whatever your views on Brexit, independence is not the answer.”
Survation asked people in Scotland how Brexit would affect their vote in an independence referendum, with 37.8% saying they were now more likely to back leaving the UK, including just over 26% who were “much more likely” to do so.
Meanwhile, 25.4% said they were more likely to vote to stay in Britain, while 30.6% said they were neither more or less likely and 6.2% did not know.
The SNP said if that was applied to the result of the 2014 referendum – in which Scots voted by 55% to 45% to stay in the union – it could result in a 51.39% vote for independence, with 48.61% against.
An SNP spokesman said: “As the chaos and despair at Westminster’s handling of Brexit continues, more and more people are drawn to the hope for the future that independence offers.
“This poll is extremely encouraging for the SNP, but must make dire reading for Labour and the Tories. No wonder they’re so riled and in complete denial of the fact that support for independence is on the rise.”
The party also said the Survation study showed Scotland as a country was more supportive of immigration than the other nations in the UK.