PUBLISHED: 09:00, Sun, Sep 13, 2020 | UPDATED: 09:54, Sun, Sep 13, 2020
The SNP has been dominant in recent opinion polls, with YouGov's most recent survey for The Times indicating Mrs Sturgeon's party currently enjoys 57 percent support north of the border. Additionally, the survey - based on interviews with 1,142 Scottish adults aged 16 and over - indicated 53 percent backed the idea of independence, with 47 percent saying no - the largest majority in favour YouGov has ever recorded.
Sir John, Professor of Politics at the University of Strathclyde, told Express.co.uk a referendum north of the border was now looking significantly more likely.
He suggested there was a significant risk in the UK Government refusing to accept the need for a referendum, especially if the SNP wins an overall majority in next year's Scottish Parliamentary elections.
He explained: "The nightmare scenario is if indeed they do say no, one possibility is the SNP will go back to what used to be their position, which is if we win a majority of seats, either in Westminster or a Holyrood election, that is a mandate for independence, end of story.
Nicola Sturgeon is currently in a strong position, said Sir John Curtice (Image: GETTY)
UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson (Image: GETTY)
There is a non-trivial risk that in 2024 you will end up in a hung Parliament in which the SNP has the balance of power
Sir John Curtice
"What you have to bear in mind is that if the SNP continues to dominate Scotland's representation in Westminster, there is a non-trivial risk that in 2024 you will end up in a hung Parliament in which the SNP has the balance of power.
"And in those circumstances, if you have denied them a referendum and they have campaigned and they have got a majority of seats in Scotland saying this is a vote for independence, you will find yourself in an even worse pickle, because basically the SNP will just gum up the way the UK Government works.
"They will deny both Tories and Labour the opportunity to form a stable administration unless and until they accept at least probably a referendum.
READ MORE: Brexit gamble - Boris taking massive risk with deadline, warns Curtice
Nicola Sturgeon speaks in Holyrood (Image: GETTY)