Worries for No campaign as currency threat halves lead


  By a Newsnet reporter

A new poll has revealed that the gap between Yes and No has more than halved since UK Chancellor George Osborne announced that he would block a currency union with a newly independent Scotland.

According to a survey carried out by Survation on behalf of the Scottish Daily Mail, the No lead has been cut from twenty points to just nine.

The new poll, which shows support for Yes continuing to rise, puts the pro-independence campaign on 38% (+6), with those opposed to independence now on 47% (-5) and 16% undecided.  A previous Survation poll conducted in January, and published in the Mail on Sunday, put the gap at 20 points.

The Scottish National Party has welcomed the findings which are published by the Scottish Daily Mail today. The poll was conducted on 17 and 18 February among a sample of 1,005 people aged 16+.

When the don’t knows are excluded, the figures are: Yes 45%, No 55%.

The poll also found that 29 per cent of people are more likely to vote Yes as a result of George Osborne, Ed Balls and Danny Alexander threatening not to share the pound with an independent Scotland – compared to 22 per cent who are more likely to vote No.

52 per cent of people think it would be in the interests of the rest of the UK to join a currency union with an independent Scotland – more than twice the 25 per cent who disagree, 23 per cent don’t know.

48 per cent of people back a currency union – more support than for all the other options added together – which translates into 55 per cent when don’t knows are excluded.

And the number who expect that an independent Scotland will use the pound in a currency union with the rest of the UK – at 33 per cent (41 per cent when don’t know are excluded) is more than twice as popular as the next option.

SNP Depute Leader and Deputy First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said:

“This is an exceptionally encouraging poll for the Yes campaign and SNP – when ‘don’t knows’ are excluded, Yes support is now up to 45 per cent, putting us within 5 points of success in September.

“It is clear that there has been a severe backlash to George Osborne’s bluster and threats on the pound – with more than half of the No campaign’s lead wiped out in just three weeks, and far more people more likely to vote Yes on the back of the Westminster establishment’s attempted bullying rather than No.”

The poll also indicated support for the SNP for Holyrood steady with the party maintaining its commanding lead over Labour, 13% in the constituency vote and 11% in the regional list vote.  For Westminster, the nationalists are five points ahead.

Ms Sturgeon added: “And the remarkable level of support for the SNP after nearly seven years in government – with comparable levels of support as our 2011 election landslide – is a real vote of confidence in the SNP Government’s strong record of delivering for people in Scotland.

“The poll also indicates that Labour and the Lib Dems are experiencing a backlash from Scots for parroting George Osborne’s currency bluff. The poll even has the SNP ahead for Westminster voting intentions, which is extraordinary.

“The pound is Scotland’s currency every bit as much as the rest of the UK’s, and what this poll shows is that the Scottish Government’s policy for a formal Sterling area between an independent Scotland and the rest of the UK is the clear preference of the people of Scotland – with 55 per cent support when ‘don’t knows’ are excluded.

“The Scottish Government’s expert Fiscal Commission Working Group – comprised of internationally respected economists, including two Nobel Laureates – examined all of the possible currency options, and concluded that a currency union is best for both Scotland and the rest of the UK.

“And a formal Sterling area is more than twice as popular as the next option in terms of what people in Scotland think will happen after independence.

“What this poll illustrates above all is that the people of Scotland are calling the bluff of George Osborne, Ed Balls and Danny Alexander – whose actions last week have given a big boost to the Yes campaign.”

The poll also has the following party ratings:

Holyrood Constituency vote:

SNP: 44%
Lab: 31%
Con: 13%
Lib Dem: 6%

Holyrood Regional list vote:
SNP: 41%
Lab: 30%
Con: 13%
Lib Dem: 8%

SNP: 38%
Lab: 33%
Con: 17%
Lib Dem: 6%