9 Sep 2014

#Indyref: yes and no campaigns neck and neck in new poll

The pro-union coalition is to set out when new powers will be transferred if Scotland rejects independence. But a new poll shows support for both sides is tied with the result now “too close to call”.

The leaders of Labour, the Conservatives and Liberal Democrats in Scotland are coming together on Tuesday morning to announce a set timetable of measures to give more powers to Holyrood.

The move comes as another poll released on Tuesday by TNS shows that support for independence and staying in the UK is tied at 41 per cent among decided voters, with 18 per cent remaining uncertain.

That means backing for yes is up from 38 per cent last month while support for the union is down from 46 per cent. The poll follows a YouGov poll from Sunday which put decided yes voters slightly ahead of decided no voters at 51 per cent for the first time.

Take the quiz! #Indyref: so you think you're a YES/NO voter?

Tom Costley, head of TNS Scotland, said:”This poll reveals a remarkable shift in voting intentions but the signs were evident in our last couple of polls which indicated a narrowing of the no lead, especially amongst those who told us that they were certain to vote.

“It is too close to call and both sides will now be energised to make the most of the last few days of the campaign and try and persuade the undecided voters of the merits of their respective campaigns.”

Former prime minister Gordon Brown set out his proposed schedule for new powers to be transferred north at an address on Monday night, saying work on this would start immediately after the referendum. There are just nine days to go before voters head to the polls, and the pro-union Better Together campaign has denied the move is a panic measure to shore up support.

Mr Brown said a “command paper” would be published by the UK government setting out all the proposals for change no later than the end of October. A white paper would be drawn up in November after a period of consultation with draft clauses for legislation expected in January.

He said a no vote would be the “starting gun for action” adding: “On September 19 we will start bringing into law the new, stronger Scottish Parliament, and to secure the change we want we will work with the other parties.”

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But Scottish First Minister Alex Salmond has already dismissed the timetable for more powers from the Westminister parties as a “bribe” that has been made “because the yes side is winning on the ground”.

He is campaigning in Edinburgh and will insist that an independent Scotland will continue to be a member of the European Union as he meets supporters from other countries who will declare “we are all European citizens”.

Video: Gordon Brown tells Channel 4 News that rising support for independence shows that people want change