14 Sep 2014

Polls show Scotland’s future is on a knife-edge

The latest clutch of polls show no clear prediction of which way Scotland will vote in Thursday’s independence referendum.

Referendum Debate Continues As Campaigns Enter Final Week

Several surveys show a slim lead for the no camp but one gives the pro-independence side a lead of eight points – the exact opposite of the picture suggested by a poll commissioned by Better Together.

No leads by 50.6 per cent to 49.4 per cent according to Panelbase for the Sunday Times and – with undecided voters taken out – by 53 per cent to 47 per cent in research by Opinium for the Observer.

But an ICM poll for the Sunday Telegraph puts the yes camp in front by 54 per cent to 46 per cent, based on a smaller than average sample size of 705.

A Survation poll of more than 1,000 voters commissioned by Better Together had the numbers the other way round, finding that 54 per cent plan to vote No and 46 per cent intend to say yes, factoring out undecided voters.

Darling: we will win

Better Together campaign leader Alistair Darling told the Observer: “We will win, be in no doubt about it. I know, because I see them every day, our returns are good.”

But an equally upbeat Alex Salmond said: “The yes side has the momentum and that’s going to carry us through next Thursday and that’s because we’ve got a positive message, we want to build a more prosperous economy and a fairer society, and there’s no scare story that the no campaign can mobilise which competes with that positive vision for the future of Scotland.”

Leading phone companies are the latest sector to join a chorus of warnings from the business community about the potential negative consequences of a yes vote.

A supporter of the Orange Order holds a Union flag during a pro-Union rally in Edinburgh

The chief executives of BT, TalkTalk, O2, Vodafone, EE and Three published an open letter which suggested their costs could rise and affect plans for improvements such as the roll out of faster broadband.

Banks have revealed contingency plans to relocate south of the border and major retailers have raised the prospect of higher prices in what pro-independence campaigners claim is part of a campaign co-ordinated by Westminster.

A survey of FTSE 100 chairmen for the Sunday Telegraph found nearly 80 per cent believed independence would have a significant negative economic effect on the UK – up from 66 per cent in the same survey in February by headhunter Korn Ferry.

Mr Salmond was forced to distance himself from threats of a “day of reckoning” against firms that spoke out against independence issued by former SNP deputy leader Jim Sillars.

Media tycoon and Scottish Sun owner Rupert Murdoch also spent the day touring parts of Scotland, amid speculation over which side of the battle the newspaper will come out in favour.

Mr Salmond said he had not met with Mr Murdoch.

The SNP leader added: “Mr Murdoch is quite entitled to be in Scotland, I’ve been campaigning today and I’m sure he’s having a great time here in Scotland with the weather like the rest of us.”