Referendum on knife edge as Yes closes gap to five points

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  By Martin Kelly
 
The independence referendum has been blown wide open with a new poll showing support for Yes now just five points behind that of No.
 
The poll, conducted by Panelbase, has revealed that support for independence is now sitting at 40%, its highest mark since campaigning began in earnest, with those against sitting at 45% and Undecided on 15%.

  By Martin Kelly
 
The independence referendum has been blown wide open with a new poll showing support for Yes now just five points behind that of No.
 
The poll, conducted by Panelbase, has revealed that support for independence is now sitting at 40%, its highest mark since campaigning began in earnest, with those against sitting at 45% and Undecided on 15%.

The latest survey, which was commissioned by Newsnet Scotland, surveyed 1036 people between 7-14 March. 

The survey asked – “There will be a referendum on an independent Scotland on the 18th of September.  How do you intend to vote in response to the question: Should Scotland be an independent country?”

The findings mean Yes is up three points since the last Panelbase survey, with No down two.  The number of Don’t Knows was also down one point.  The swing to Yes means the No campaign’s lead has halved compared with the previous Panelbase survey in February.

When Don’t Knows are stripped out, Yes is on 47% with No on 53%, meaning Yes needs a swing of around three points in order to overtake its rival.

Commenting on the poll findings, Yes Scotland Chief Executive Blair Jenkins said:

“This is an extremely encouraging poll – putting Yes support at its highest level and No at its lowest since last summer.  Excluding ‘don’t knows’, Yes support has now reached 47 per cent to 53 per cent for No – meaning that a swing of only some 3 per cent is needed to put Yes ahead in September, which we are confident of achieving.  It continues the trend we have seen this year of a steady and significant narrowing of the gap.”

The latest survey will be a blow to the No campaign, and follows several weeks of sustained attack with claims that businesses would flee an independent Scotland.  It will also call into question the wisdom of UK Chancellor George Osborne’s visit to Scotland and threats over currency.

Mr Jenkins added: “The scaremongering of the No campaign is backfiring, because people understand that as the 14th wealthiest country in the international league table – compared to the UK’s 18th place – Scotland has got what it takes to be an independent country.

“Scotland can, should and must vote Yes – so that we gain the powers needed to build a fair society and prosperous economy, where the wealth of Scotland works for all the people.”

The survey showed that Yes is up in every demographic except those aged 55 and over.

Other key areas of interest include:

  • Among 35-54 year olds, Yes gained 12% (from 36% to 48%) – Yes took 1% from No and 11% from Undecideds.
  • Among Labour voters, Yes gained 9% (from 17% to 26%) – Yes took 3% from No and 6% from Undecideds.

Commenting on this latest poll from Panelbase, its MD Ivor Knox said: “It’s unusual for us to report a Yes lead among both 18-34 and 35-54 age groups and it is also notable that this is the first poll we have conducted showing support for independence rising above a quarter of people who voted for Labour in 2011.”