7 Sep 2014

Ten days left – neck and neck

There are any number of horrors for the no campaign in the gory entrails of the latest YouGov poll. A declining minority of voters are believing the currency threat, repeated by George Osborne this morning. Alex Salmond’s “we’ve got three plan Bs” quip has not been the disaster senior no strategists predicted. Also, the poll suggests faith in a post-no victory dollop of extra devolution has plummeted too.

The no campaign strategists think under-pinning these movements is an anti-politics feeling. Alex Salmond’s attacks on the Westminster elite are not a million miles from Nigel Farage’s, runs the line. So the no camp has to restore faith in the devolution offer, fire up the fear of being economically adrift without a currency and bust through an alienation with Westminster parties … all in 10 days.

Gordon Brown is being deployed to drive home the message to traditional Labour supporters that independence is riddled with risks. But the yes campaign has been having quite a lot of success with “risk” attacks of its own and intends to spend the last 10 days driving them home: the NHS faces privatisation without independence; and you can’t be at all sure that the Tories won’t get back into No. 10 in the 2015 general election.

The no camp’s promise of a cross-party announcement on devolution-plus is already being mocked by the yes camp. No camp sources admit there isn’t anything new in substance – the respective Tory, Lib Dem and Labour positions on what comes next on devolution have been well advertised.

What the parties appear to be getting ready to announce is a “process” that would follow a no vote for hammering out what comes next. It might just give more certainty to someone who was wavering but it’s hard to imagine anything to do with “process” is a game-changer.

Anecdotally, I’ve bumped into a few older voters (the only remaining age cohort where the no camp has supremacy according to the YouGov polling) who talk of coming under pressure from younger relations to vote yes. I now hear the yes campaign is going to try to galvanise Scotland’s youth to monster Scotland’s grannies. Drawing on Obama campaign techniques they’re hoping to get pro-independence youngsters to lobby older relations to switch to yes.

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