Battle for undecided voters key as new poll shows gap between Yes and No just nine points

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  By a Newsnet reporter
 
Undecided voters hold the destiny of Scotland in their hands according to a newly released poll which shows the gap between Yes and No is less than ten points.
 
Carried out by Panelbase on behalf of the Sunday Times and Real Radio, the poll gives the No campaign a lead of nine per cent over their Yes rivals, the two sides on 46% and 37% respectively.

Both sides have increased their support since the last poll, with No up by two points and Yes up by one.  The poll shows that those yet to decide account for 17 per cent of the electorate.  According to the survey, those intending to vote Yes in the 2014 referendum are more likely to vote than their No counterparts – 94% against 87%.

The result of the survey was welcomed by both camps with Scottish National Party Business Convener Derek Mackay MSP describing it as “encouraging”:

“This is an extremely encouraging poll for Yes and for the SNP.  With just a single-digit gap between Yes and No, a swing of less than 5 per cent is enough to put independence ahead.  There is everything to play for – Yes supporters are more likely to vote than people currently on the No side, which may very well be down to the negative Project Fear campaign failing to motivate even their own supporters.”

A spokesman for Yes Scotland said: “The No campaign has used every scare story imaginable, but people are getting wise to their tactics now.

“As we move into a new phase of the campaign and people consider the two different futures on offer in the referendum, we are confident that more and more will see that only a Yes vote will deliver the more prosperous and fairer country that they want to see.”

Blair McDougall, campaign director of Better Together, said: “It is hugely encouraging that, in a poll that is normally more favourable to the independence campaign, Better Together have extended our lead.  More and more undecided voters are deciding independence is too big a gamble.”

The survey also indicated rising support for the SNP for the Holyrood election with Alex Salmond’s party commanding more support than all three Unionist parties put together and higher than 2011 which saw the party achieve a historic majority.

The poll gave the SNP 48% of the constituency vote, up three since 2011.  Labour were down two on 30% with the Conservatives down one to 13% and the Lib Dems down four points to just 4%.  Other parties were up three to 5% relegating the Lib Dems to last place.

The list result was even more encouraging for the SNP with the party up four points on their 2011 performance to 48%.  Labour dropped one point to 25%, Conservatives static on 13%, Scottish Greens up two to 6%, Lib Dems down one to 4% and others down two to 4%.

Derek Mackay said: “The poll is also very positive for the SNP, putting our support for both the constituency and list votes even higher than in our 2011 election landslide, and Labour even lower.

“After over six years into government, the SNP now has more support than the three anti-independence Westminster parties put together, which demonstrates trust and confidence in the record of delivery of the SNP Government.”

The poll will be discouraging for Scottish Labour and the Lib Dems with neither party showing any sign of recovery from their historic lows of 2011.

It is especially worrying for Scottish Labour leader Johann Lamont whose leadership has come under the spotlight following her continued silence over the chaos that has engulfed the party in Scotland over the Falkirk fiasco.

The poll also comes in the wake of a major Holyrood re-shuffle that saw senior figures demoted in favour of less experienced MSPs and claims of disagreements over Ms Lamont’s “something for nothing” cuts agenda.

Commenting on the Scottish Labour woes, Derek Mackay said: “Labour are actually going backwards from their 2011 rout under Johann Lamont’s leadership – and her invisibility during their Falkirk candidate selection crisis may well be a contributory factor.”

The survey which involved 1001 adults was carried out between July 17th and 24th.