Fewer than one in five people believe independence is one of Scotland’s most important issues, a poll has found.
The survey for Scotland on Sunday also found support and opposition to independence was split 50/50.
Respondents were asked to pick their three “most important issues facing Scotland”, with half stating the economy was one of the key topics.
Health was the second most-selected option, chosen by 45% of Scots, followed by employment and welfare at 35%.
Education was one of the most important issues for 31% of people, then Brexit (25%) and Scottish independence (19%).
According to Scotland on Sunday, independence as a key issue was at the lowest level recorded in its series of polls.
The survey of 1,007 over-16s in Scotland also suggests an SNP majority or an SNP/Green coalition would have the most backing as the “best mandate” for a second independence referendum, rather than involvement from Alex Salmond’s new Alba party.
Results of the opinion poll, carried out for the paper by Savanta ComRes, published earlier in the week suggested the SNP would win 64 seats and narrowly miss out on an outright majority.
It predicted 10 pro-independence Scottish Green MSPs would be elected but Alba, on 3% of the regional list vote, would fail to gain any seats.
The latest results of the poll indicate support for independence is at 50% when “don’t know” responses are excluded – the same as support for Scotland remaining part of the United Kingdom.
More than half (53%) say there should be another referendum on independence in the next five years, with 19% of those believing it should take place within 12 months.
An SNP majority after the Holyrood election in May is backed as the “best mandate” for a second independence referendum by more than a quarter of Scots (27%), followed by an SNP and Scottish Green coalition (14%).
Another 9% believe a minority SNP government would be the best mandate for a referendum, 7% said it would be an Alba/SNP coalition and 6% of Scots think the Greens being included would be the best mandate.
An SNP spokesman said: “The Westminster parties know there is going to be an independence referendum, when the threat posed by Covid has passed, if people in Scotland vote for one.
“Trying to deny that democratic reality is quite simply an unsustainable position.
“A simple majority is all that is ever needed for a democratic mandate to exist – but the only safe way to deliver that referendum is by re-electing Nicola Sturgeon as First Minister and giving both votes to the SNP in May.”
Examining recent opinion polls, political scientist and polling expert Professor John Curtice suggests the fallout from the inquiry into the Scottish Government’s unlawful investigation of Mr Salmond appears to have had no impact on the SNP’s constituency support.
Meanwhile, backing for independence has only dropped by 1% on average since the winter.
He adds that there is “no more than mixed evidence” that the saga surrounding Mr Salmond and First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has affected her personal approval ratings.
Writing for the What Scotland Thinks website, Mr Curtice said: “In truth, it looks as though that not only were the opposition’s hopes of bringing the First Minister down over the Salmond affair not realised, but also that the row has done little if any damage to the popularity of the nationalist movement in general or that of its principal spokesperson in particular.
“It is perhaps not surprising that an issue that some thought might dominate the election campaign now seems to have fallen off the political agenda entirely.”
Mr Curtice added that early polls for Mr Salmond’s return to frontline politics “have not been encouraging”.
“At the moment, even if he does manage to secure election to Holyrood, the former first minister is at risk of finding himself a lone figure in the new chamber,” he wrote.
Explaining Alba’s struggles, Mr Curtice said “relatively few nationalist supporters appear to believe that Mr Salmond’s intervention is helpful to the pursuit of independence”, while the former first minister himself is “deeply unpopular”.