9 Sep 2014

No camp throw the kitchen sink at it

The no camp hope flying saltires over English town halls and the like might just enthuse some of the ground troops. They really need re-enthusing.

Long gone is the complacent “it’ll be 70:30” that you heard at the start of this campaign around Downing Street. Gone is the more recent “I think it could be 60:40 plus” you heard as recently as two weeks ago.

In July I found that when I pressed don’t knows about how they’d vote right now if they had to vote immediately, I found the numbers broke about 2 to 1 in favour of no. There was definitely a shy no vote phenomenon and people muttered the word looking embarrassed at  the floor in some cases.

In the last two weeks, I find the don’t knows that I press for an answer break more like 60:40 to no. One of the big questions of the campaign is how many don’t knows are there out there? Is it the higher number,  around 18 per cent or 400,000, identified by some pollsters, or the much smaller 8 per cent identified by others?

There are many unknowns. And still some days to go. But I find some long-standing devolution supporters who, after month and month of staring at the binary choice on offer, have grown used to the risks, or “bumps” as Alex Salmond calls them, of independence. They’ve dug into their new position. Some of them didn’t seem to be tuning into the fast-track devolution timetable offer.

Better Together strategists hope the Bank of England Governor, Mark Carney, might reignite currency fears by re-stating his earlier suggestion that Alex Salmond’s currency union won’t work – though this time in less delphic language.

There’s talk of dark, negative posters that never made it on to billboards. Might that tone be resurrected? The hope for the no camp is that the message of economic risk can be driven home and linked to public services, where the yes camp has made real headway over the summer.

The hope for the yes camp is that the grassroots advocacy can carry on its work and maybe even eat into the last age cohort standing by the union, the over-60s.

One Better Together source said they were “throwing the kitchen sink at it”. Kitchen sinks aren’t famously precision weapons.

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