By a Newsnet reporter
The pound is as much ours as it is the rest of the United Kingdom’s most Scots believe, according to a newly published poll.
A new survey conducted by polling firm Panelbase, has found nearly three quarters of people living in Scotland believe the pound belongs to Scotland as much as it belongs to England, Wales and Northern Ireland.
The survey, which was commissioned by the SNP, asked respondents: “Thinking about the possibility of an independent Scotland in the future, do you agree or disagree that the pound sterling belongs to Scotland as much as it belongs to the rest of the UK?”
It found that 70% said it also belonged to Scotland, against only 18% who disagreed and 12% who did not know.
A breakdown on party lines found 65% of Labour voters agreed the pound also belonged to Scotland, compared to 22% who disagreed. Among Lib Dem voters it was 52% to 32%, and 86% to 7% among SNP voters respectively.
Only among Tory voters in Scotland did fewer agree (41%) than disagreed (49%), although still less than half were against the idea that the pound also belongs to Scotland.
The poll also showed the Yes campaign continuing to close the gap on its rivals, with views on independence showing Yes still on 37% – the same as two weeks ago, but No down 2pts to 47% and undecided up two to 16%.
The survey quizzed respondents on their reaction to the recent visit to Scotland by UK Chancellor George Osborne and his threat to block a currency union between Scotland and the rest of the UK.
The survey asked: “In recent days the Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne has said that the UK Government would not share the pound with an independent Scotland in a currency union. The Scottish Government has said that sharing the pound would be in the interests of both an independent Scotland and the rest of the UK, and therefore a currency union will happen. Have these statements on the pound changed how you will vote in the referendum?”
The survey found 26 per cent were more likely to vote Yes, 19 per cent more likely to vote No and over half, 55 per cent, said it made no difference to how they would vote.
On the impact of Westminster based interventions in general, the poll showed a significant move in favour of Yes.
Asked, “In general terms, do you think that high profile media interventions by Westminster-based politicians attacking the idea of an independent Scotland:”
43% said it had benefited the Yes campaign, 25% said it had benefited the No campaign and 20% said it made no difference. 12% said they did not know.
A breakdown showed that 37% of Labour voters in 2011 think these interventions benefit Yes most, compared to 30% who think they benefit No most. 43% of Lib Dem voters think they benefit Yes most, just 24% No.
Commenting, SNP Depute Leader and Deputy First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said:
“These are very encouraging figures, indicating a two-point tightening of the gap since the last Panelbase poll two weeks ago. Yes is now at 44 per cent once ‘don’t knows’ are excluded. The poll also demonstrates that Westminster politicians trying to lay down the law to Scotland is backfiring, with nearly two-to-one believing that these attacks on the idea of independence benefit the Yes campaign most, rather than No. Far more people are more likely to vote Yes rather than No as a result of the currency debate.
“And when thinking about independence, people believe that the pound belongs to Scotland every bit as as much as it belongs to the rest of the UK by a factor of nearly four-to-one.
“There is strong support for that proposition among Labour and Lib Dem voters as well as SNP, and even among Tory voters only a minority disagree with it. This finding is a revealing insight into why George Osborne’s sermon on the pound – foolishly agreed to by Labour’s Ed Balls, as well as Danny Alexander – backfired.
“And just the week after Mr Osborne’s speech, we now have the deputy leader of the Scottish Tories saying he would want an independent Scotland to keep the pound with a currency union – which is exactly what will happen.”
On Friday, Deputy Leader of the Scottish Conservative party Jackson Carlaw agreed that a currrency union between an independent Scotland and the rest of the UK was “sensible” and confirmed he would back such a stance in the event of a Yes vote.
Speaking on Brian Taylor’s Big Debate programme on BBC Radio Scotland, Mr Carlaw said: “Brian, if we vote for independence in September, I’ll be manning the barricades with Bill Kidd, because I will be a Scot in a country that has decided to vote for independence and I will be arguing for us to keep the pound – I will be arguing for us to be automatically in the European Union.”
The Panelbase survey also asked those taking part for their views on a TV debate between First Minister Alex Salmond and Prime Minister David Cameron.
It asked: “This coming Monday, both the UK Government Cabinet and the Scottish Government Cabinet will be meeting close to each other in the North East of Scotland. Do you think that this would be an appropriate opportunity for a televised referendum debate between Scottish First Minister Alex Salmond to argue the case for an independent Scotland, and UK Prime Minister David Cameron to argue the case for the UK?”
It found two thirds (66%) agreed, with just 21% against the idea, and 13% saying they didn’t know.
A breakdown showed 47% of Tory voters in 2011 agreed, compared to 46% who disagreed. 58% of Labour voters agreed, compared to 26% who disagreed. Among Lib Dem voters it was 49% to 37% and 82% to 11% among SNP voters respectively.
Ms Sturgeon added: “As David Cameron prepares to bring his Cabinet to Scotland, people overwhelmingly think he should find some courage and debate face-to-face with Alex Salmond – even more Tory voters agree than disagree. The people of Scotland want to see a referendum debate between the leaders of the Scottish and UK governments, yet David Cameron still refuses. He can’t keep this up for ever – he can run but he can’t hide.”