Alex Salmond described as “fantastic” a new poll which put support for the SNP on 49 per cent.
The poll in the Sunday Express was conducted by Angus Reid and showed that SNP support has risen since what was supposed to be the high-water mark of 45 per cent that the party achieved in the election.
The poll also shows how far the Liberal Democrats have fallen. The Lib Dems only got 5 per cent in the poll, just above the others on 4 per cent, with Labour on 29 per cent and the Tories on 13 per cent.
“This is a fantastic poll,” the first minister said. “45 per cent of Scottish voters backed the SNP in May and, as we deliver our ambitious programme for government, that support is rising.
“The SNP now has the support of some half the electorate, and there is growing support for Scotland having the full range of job-creating powers we need to boost jobs and recovery, and becoming an equal and independent country with access to the record tax revenues being generated by Scotland’s North Sea oil and gas.
“The people of Scotland spoke in the election, and the Westminster parties all lag far behind the ambitions of the people.”
And he added: “With the Lib Dems relegated to minor party status and leadership contests causing confusion and division, both Labour and the Tories are on the run in Scotland.”
The polls follows two others published last week which show support for independence rising – but not yet to the level which could command a majority in a referendum.
According to last week’s polls, support for independence is up from 35 per cent to about 39 per cent.