New TNS poll confirms Yes surge


  By Martin Kelly
A newly published poll has become the latest to confirm the trend in favour of a Yes vote in the independence referendum.
The survey, carried out by TNS, has revealed that Yes support has surged since last month to draw level pegging with No – at 41 per cent each among those certain to vote in the referendum, with 18 per cent ‘don’t know’.

Excluding ‘don’t knows’ both camps are impossible to split and are now on 50 per cent each.

Among the whole sample, Yes support has increased by 6 points since the last month, with No support down 6 points.

The poll, which took place between 27 August – 4 September, included 990 adults aged 16+ in 55 constituencies across Scotland.  It confirms findings of a Yougov poll published this weekend which gave the Yes campaign a narrow lead whilst another gave a similar lead to the No camp, but still showed Yes improving.

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.”

The TNS findings give Yes its best result yet by far in surveys carried out by the firm.  It is the latest confirmation that the Yes campaign has the momentum. Last September, No was ahead by 22 points.

Welcoming the poll, Yes Scotland Chief Executive Blair Jenkins said:

“This is another breakthrough poll which confirms that Yes has the momentum. Last September the No lead was 22 points – now Yes has surged to draw level at 50/50, and our campaign has the wind in its sails. Yes support is rising particularly strongly among women and Labour voters.

“Scotland is one of the wealthiest countries in the world. More and more people are beginning to realise that a Yes vote is Scotland’s one opportunity to make that enormous wealth work better for everyone who lives here, create more jobs, and protect Scotland’s NHS from the damaging effects of Westminster privatisation and cuts.

“The No campaign’s empty talk of more powers smacks of utter panic and desperation as they lose their lead in the polls. The people of Scotland will not trust the Tories to deliver powers that fall far short of what we need. The sure fire way to achieve the full range of powers Scotland needs to build a fairer society and more prosperous economy is to vote Yes a week on Thursday.

“While the No campaign press the panic button and blame each other for a series of blunders, Yes will get on with the job of persuading more of our fellow citizens – both No and undecided voters – that we need a Yes vote to put Scotland’s future in Scotland’s hands.”

Blair McDougall, campaign director for the pro-UK Better Together organisation, said: “The last couple of days will be seen as the moment the referendum got real. We know from these polls that there is no room for a protest vote. The vote of any one of us could be crucial and could make the difference between the UK breaking up and staying together.

“We have seen from the reaction of the international markets just how serious a risk separation poses to our pound, NHS and pensions. If we leave the UK, jobs would be at risk and the money available for spending on our NHS would be cut.

“We are working flat out to get across our positive vision for Scotland that means we don’t need to take on all the risks. There is a better way to build the better nation that we all want. We can have more powers for Scotland, backed up by the strength, security and stability of being part of the larger UK. Separation puts that at risk, which is why we should say no thanks on September 18. This is a fight for the future of Scotland and it’s one we will win.”

The poll result was published hours after former UK Prime Minister Gordon Brown made a speech in an attempt at stemming the rise in support for Yes.  The former Labour leader suggested any new powers following a No vote could be rushed through with agreement from all three main Unionist parties.

However the announcement was mired in confusion with Downing Street initially appearing to have no knowledge of Mr Brown’s proporals.

Compounding the chaos, Labour’s shadow chancellor Ed Balls admitted he had held no talks with his counterparts in the Conservative party and Lib Dems.  Mr Balls also revealed that a future Labour Government had no plans to discuss any proposed new legislation with their current Better Together allies in the Conservative party.

Labour is “not planning on negotiating the first Queen’s Speech of the next Labour government with David Cameron and George Osborne”, he said.

The situation in the Better Together campaign has been described by the SNP as one of panic and chaos.