Ulster unionists are bracing themselves for a yes vote when Scotland goes to the polls in the independence referendum on Thursday September 18th.

The latest opinion poll for the Sunday Times newspaper says the majority of voters are now in favor of Scottish independence.

The implications for the union will be seen as a major threat to Northern Ireland’s links with London.

Several Ulster Unionists have already campaigned on behalf of the No vote across Scotland and an Orange march is scheduled for September 13th in Edinburgh.

But their efforts appear to be failing after the latest YouGov research for the Sunday Times indicates 51 per cent of Scots support independence compared to 49 per cent who want to remain in the UK.

Irish state broadcaster RTE has commented that the results are the latest evidence of a dramatic surge for the ‘yes’ campaign led by First Minister Alex Salmond.

RTE’s website notes that the two point gap is within the margin of error for such polls which means a genuine majority will not be known until polling day, September 18th.

But the new YouGov figures show a remarkable change in fortune for the pro-independence side which has recovered from a 22 point deficit in just one month.

However, a second poll, carried out by Panelbase for ‘Yes Scotland’ suggests the no vote is leading with 52 per cent support to 48 per cent when undecided voters are excluded.

The poll found that 47 per cent of women support independence, which ‘Yes Scotland’ says is a 13 point increase in six months.

Former British Prime Minister Gordon Brown has acknowledged that the referendum battle is proving tougher than some had expected.

And Labour leader Ed Miliband has raised the prospect of manned border posts being introduced if Scotland votes to go independent.

He said: “If you don’t want borders, vote to stay in the United Kingdom.”

Deputy First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said: “These are exceptionally positive and encouraging figures - and the Panelbase poll shows record support for independence among women.”