Belfast Telegraph

Thursday 30 October 2014

Scots 'No' vote lead below 10%

Public making minds up with two months to referendum, say pollsters

SNP leader Alex Salmond

The No campaign's lead in the Scottish independence referendum has narrowed amid signs undecided voters are making up their minds, according to a new poll.

The latest TNS research found that with two months to September's vote, 41% of all adults back No, while 32% support Yes and 27% are yet to decide.

Among those who say they are certain to vote, 46% back the Union, while 37% support independence and 18% "don't know".

It is the first time in several months that the No lead has fallen below double-digits to 9% in a TNS poll.

The research company said the pro-Union lead had dropped by 10 points overall since its polling series began last September.

Tom Costley, head of TNS Scotland, said: "We have consistently found a significant number of undecided voters among those who say that they are certain to vote.

"This month that proportion of the certain-to-votes has fallen from 22% to 18% – evidence that people are now beginning to form an opinion as the polling date nears."

Of those uncertain voters, 13% said they were inclined to vote Yes and 12% to vote No, with the remainder unsure. Mr Costley said: "If we strip out all those who are committed to or at least sympathetic to one side or another, there are now relatively few people who say they are certain to vote but are completely undecided.

"We are finding that only 13% of certain-to-votes are expressing no inclination towards either side of the debate. Of course, that represents around one in 10 of all eligible adults, so their decisions on how to vote could have a strong influence on the final result."

TNS questioned 995 adults aged 16-plus between June 25 and July 9.

Earlier, SNP leader Alex Salmond gave a speech in Liverpool in which he said independence could help boost Scotland's economy and would therefore "create an economic counterweight to London and the south east, changing the economic centre of gravity of these islands".

Mr Salmond said regional political powers in the UK had "collapsed" in the last century, resulting in a widening gap between the poorest and richest parts of the UK.

In Britain he said this was now "wider than the gap in any other country in the European Union.

"Since 2007, London's economy has grown approximately twice as fast as the rest of the United Kingdom's," he added.

"Nothing the UK Government is belatedly proposing even comes close to addressing the scale of this problem."

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