Support for independence among the under-25s has more than doubled in the space of four months, a poll has suggested.
Overall, the latest Ipsos MORI survey for The Times found that among those who are certain to vote in next year's independence referendum, 34% backed Scotland leaving the UK - up from 30% in October.
Support for Scotland staying in the union fell slightly, going from 58% to 55% over the same period. But the poll showed a large rise in support for independence amongst voters aged 18 to 24. This stood at 27% last October but in the new survey - which was carried out between February 4 and 9 - this had increased to 58%.
The latest figures showed 43% of people in deprived areas backed independence while 65% of those living in more affluent parts wanted Scotland to stay part of the UK. Support for the union was also stronger among females, with 61% of women favouring this while 41% of men supported independence.
A total of 1,003 people in Scotland were questioned for the research, which also gave Deputy First Minister Nicola Sturgeon a higher approval rating than the man leading the campaign to keep Scotland in the UK.
Ms Sturgeon, who is spearheading the campaign for independence, came out with a net approval rating of +17, with 50% of those surveyed satisfied with her performance compared to 33% who were dissatisfied.
Meanwhile 33% of people said they were satisfied with the job former chancellor Alistair Darling is doing as chair of the Better Together campaign, with 32% dissatisfied, giving him a net approval rating of +1.
Blair Jenkins, chief executive of the pro-independence Yes Scotland campaign, said: "The support for an independent Scotland among 18-24-year-olds has more than doubled in the last four months, showing very clearly that our positive and optimistic campaign is resonating with younger people who have the greatest stake in securing a fairer and more prosperous future for our country.
"This poll is also very good news for Yes because support for a Yes vote in 2014 is on the way up while those intending to vote No is on the way down, and this is consistent with other recent surveys."
Mr Darling said: "Being ahead in the polls is always better than being behind. However, there is no doubt that the only poll that matters - and the poll that we are absolutely focused on is the one that will be taking place in autumn next year. We will be doing everything we can between now and then to win the arguments, and win the votes of people in every part of Scotland."