New polls suggest that the Scottish referendum battle remains too close to call as both sides gear up for a frantic last day of campaigning.
The latest research by Opinium, ICM and Survation all gave no the same slender lead of 52 per cent to 48 per cent. But the four-point advantage is close to the margin of error for such surveys – raising the prospect of a nail-biting final push in which every ballot could make the difference.
Yes Scotland chief executive Blair Jenkins said the results showed the gap had been narrowing, by six points over the past month in the case of the ICM poll conducted for The Scotsman.
“These polls – like all the recent polls – show that we are in touching distance of success on Thursday. The referendum is on a knife edge, and this will spur on everybody who wants and is working hard for a yes to redouble their efforts,” he said.
Better Together campaign director Blair McDougall said: “This vote will go right down to the wire. There is no room for a protest vote. If we vote to leave the UK there would be no going back, no matter what it costs us in terms of bigger cuts, higher prices and fewer jobs.”
The online survey by Survation for the Scottish Daily Mail showed a one point drop for the No campaign since last Thursday – with yes up one point.
The online research carried out by Opinium for the Daily Telegraph found 38 per cent thought resentment of Westminster would be the cause if yes did win.
The headline figures in the polls exclude undecideds. The fieldwork was carried over the past few days, and the sample sizes were all around 1,000.
With just hours of referendum campaigning left, First Minister Alex Salmond made a direct appeal to voters to use that power to back independence, urging them "let's do this".
He asked Scots to step back from the political arguments and statistics that have defined the two-year campaign and trust in themselves as they step into the polling booth.
Mr Salmond said: "The talking is nearly done. The campaigns will have had their say. What's left is just us - the people who live and work here. The only people with a vote. The people who matter.
"The people who for a few precious hours during polling day hold sovereignty, power, authority in their hands. It's the greatest most empowering moment any of us will ever have. Scotland's future - our country in our hands."
Alistair Darling, who as leader of Better Together has been spearheading the campaign to keep the UK together, said it would be a "tragedy" if Scotland votes for independence.
Speaking on BBC Radio 4's Today programme, he said no vote would offer "faster, more secure, better change within the United Kingdom than the years of wrangling that would follow if we were to vote to leave the UK tomorrow", he added.
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