2 Sep 2014

Poll shows rise in support for Scottish independence

Support for Scottish independence rises two weeks ahead of an historic referendum on leaving the UK, according to a new poll.

The YouGov poll suggests that support for the union with England, Wales and Northern Ireland has fallen to 53 per cent, with 47 per cent in favour of independence (excluding undecided voters).

Backing for the pro-union no campaign has dropped from 14 points in mid-August and 22 points early last month, again excluding “don’t knows”.

‘Close finish likely’

Looking ahead to the 18 September referendum, YouGov President Peter Kellner said: “A close finish looks likely, and a ‘yes’ victory is now a real possibility.”

In October 2012, Mr Kellner said Scotland’s First Minister and SNP leader, Alex Salmond, “must know that his mission is impossible, that in two years time his country will vote to remain part of the United Kingdom, and that far from being achieved, independence will be deferred for at least a generation”.

The latest poll, for the Sun and the Times, shows that the pro-independence yes campaign has had more success in courting previously undecided voters than the no camp, by a margin of two to one.

A month ago, 18 per cent of people who voted Labour in the 2011 Holyrood elections said they would vote yes.

This has now risen to 30 per cent, while Liberal Democrat voters’ support for independence has doubled to 20 per cent. There has been a fall from 29 to 22 per cent among SNP voters intending to vote no.

Conservative voters are strongly anti-independence – with 97 per cent in favour of the union – but they only represent one in 10 Scots.

The economy, stupid

Mr Kellner said yes support has been boosted by changing attitudes to the economy. In late June, 49 per cent of people said they thought they would be worse off in an independent Scotland, with 27 per cent saying they would be better off. This gap has now narrowed to 44-35 per cent.

The poll also found that more people believe the NHS would improve in an independent Scotland than if it remained in the UK.

Following their second TV debate, Mr Salmond has reclaimed his lead over Alistair Darling, the leader of the no campaign.

Support for Scottish independence rises two weeks ahead of an historic referendum on leaving the UK, according to a new poll.

Blair Jenkins, chief executive of Yes Scotland, said: “This breakthrough poll shows that yes has the big momentum – it’s an all-time high for yes support in a YouGov survey so far, and an eight-point swing from no to yes in just three weeks.

“We only need another three-point swing to achieve a yes for Scotland on September 18.”

‘Silent majority’

Blair McDougall, campaign director of Better Together, said: “We need the silent majority who back a no vote to do their bit. Whether it’s voting on the day, knocking on doors, making phone calls or speaking to friends and family, the silent majority should feel confident in speaking up.

“The nationalists talk as if they are winning, but the truth is this is yet another poll showing the campaign for Scotland to stay in the UK in the lead.”

The YouGov findings mirror a Survation poll for the Daily Mail last week, the first major opinion poll since the second televised debate.