Nearly two-thirds of voters want to see an English parliament set up as a counterweight to increasing autonomy for Scotland and Wales
The poll, commissioned to mark today's 300th anniversary of the former Scottish parliament voting for full political union with Westminster, suggests that 61% of voters in England want their own parliament, with the support of roughly half of all Scottish and Welsh voters.
The Labour leadership is already mounting an increasingly bitter campaign to counter a resurgence by the Scottish National party, which appears on course for a historic victory in May's elections for the devolved parliament. Polls suggest the SNP is likely to be the largest party at Holyrood, and in a position to form a ruling coalition with either the Liberal Democrats or an alliance of Green and leftwing minority parties.
On Sunday Alex Salmond, the SNP leader, confirmed that his party would publish a white paper within 100 days of taking power which would set out its plans for a national referendum on independence within four years.
Yesterday Labour ministers accused Mr Salmond of watering-down his original promise to publish a parliamentary bill for a referendum, saying this "flip flop" was intended to persuade the anti-independence Lib Dems to forge a new alliance.
Strengthening demand for an English parliament - an answer to the conundrum where Scottish Labour MPs vote to pass controversial England-only legislation, complicates Labour's attempts to defend the union. Mr Brown insisted at the weekend that union made all members of the UK far stronger, calling for a debate on reinvigorating "Britishness".
The Tories, only the fourth-largest party in Holyrood with about 14% of the vote, launch their Scottish election campaign in earnest on Thursday when David Cameron will take the entire shadow cabinet to Scotland to rally support.
Today the Royal Mint unveils a new commemorative coin to mark the 300th anniversary of the Union, although the official event is being held on May 1 to mark the tercentenary of the first sitting of the joint parliament at Westminster.
The new survey, carried out for the BBC's Newsnight, gives the government some cause for optimism. While several earlier surveys said that a majority of Scots favour independence, the BBC poll shows most voters are opposed to ending the union. Asked if they would favour seeing both Scotland and Wales breaking away from England, only 32% of Scots favoured independence. It found that 56% of Scots wanted to maintain the union, although voters in all three countries were evenly split about whether it would last for another 100 years.
Labour officials insisted yesterday that support for an English parliament was based on a misunderstanding of Westminster's wider influence on Scottish and Welsh affairs, as spending on English policies directly affected spending for the devolved administrations.
"After a better look at the arrangements, once the union is properly explained, the demand for an English parliament will die away," said one senior Cabinet adviser. "There is not a clamour for independence. We might be unpopular, but the SNP is a bin for protest votes and once people begin to see what they've to offer things will begin to crack."
However, Scilla Cullen, chairman of the Campaign for an English Parliament, said the poll proved their stance was gaining support. "The Act of Union was appropriate for its time 300 years ago. Things have moved on and it seems to us that we've got to go back to basics and renegotiate the union, see what the nations want and what they want out of the union."
The Big Question: What would happen if Scotland achieved its independence?
After 300 years, is there a future for the Union?
Catholics question 'discrimination'
MSP: Irish in Scotland are hidden migrants
Celtic tiger/Celtic kitten