It’s all about the undecided voters

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Your recent article (15 August) stating that the Yes campaign must woo 75 per cent of “undecided voters” to win was good news. However, further consideration of the results make the news even better.

The poll breaks down 100 voters into 19 (33 per cent of 56) who are committed to vote for independence; 37 (67 per cent of 56) who are committed to vote to remain part of the UK; eight who will vote but are still undecided, 11 who will vote but may change their mind; and 25 who are unlikely to vote. If the pollsters are correct and 25 do not vote, then to win, the Yes campaign needs 38 of the remaining 75 to vote for independence.

As there are only 19 who are still uncommitted, they need all of them to vote Yes, which, added to their committed 19, gets them to 38.

The No side only need one to vote No to achieve 38. That seems an impossible scenario and gives support to Nate Silver’s conclusion that the Yes campaign has virtually no chance of winning.

This position can only be improved by persuading some of the 37 committed No voters to switch, which seems unlikely if, like me, nothing will persuade them to change their minds.

If the pollsters are wrong and all 100 vote (a most unlikely scenario) the winning line becomes 51 and the 19 uncommitted voters increases to 44. The Yes campaign needs 32 of the 44 (approximately 75 per cent) to vote for it which, added to its committed 19 gives the required 51. Thus only then does the 75 per cent referred to in your article become valid.

The percentage required will increase if the number voting is lower than 100. For example if 90 vote, the winning line becomes 46, the number of uncommitted voters reduces to 34 and the Yes campaign needs 27 of them to get to 46 (19 committed +27 uncommitted), ie 80 per cent of the 34.

However, the only poll that counts is the actual vote and the biggest danger the “No” campaign faces is complacency. Thus, I will definitely be voting and doing my best to ensure that all those of like mind also do so to ensure a resounding rejection of independence.

Raymond Paul

Edinburgh

One should have sympathy for Alexander McKay (Letters, 16 August) who lives in such fear of a Yes vote in the forthcoming independence referendum that he feels compelled to write letter after letter declaring that the result is a foregone conclusion in favour of those campaigning for a No vote.

Of course others can readily deduce that if McKay actually was confident in the result there would be no need to waste his time with letters that offer nothing constructive by way of reversing Britain’s, never mind Scotland’s, global demise.

The reality of our current predicament relative to progress in other parts of the world was recently portrayed by your columnist Michael Kelly (Perspective, 15 August) who regrettably appears to have given up on Glasgow, the once prosperous city that three decades ago he headed as one of a long succession of Labour Lord Provosts.

Is it too much to hope that one day both of these gentlemen will wake up and see what is already staring many of us in the face, which is that the United Kingdom is a constitutional anachronism.

Instead of spending our lives worrying about the future of Britain we in Scotland should focus our efforts on invigorating an independent country which would positively impact on the lives of all who inhabit these islands.

Stan Grodynski

Longniddry

East Lothian

The real reason for a referendum defeat (if it happens) will not be down to just one reason and will have many factors. Each side has its excuses ready. The unionists have already crowed about Christine and Colin Weir’s donation of £1 million to Yes Scotland. It isn’t just the Yes side that does this.

It’s politics; at the last election Labour was frantically looking for excuses as the SNP staged a huge comeback to break the system Labour and the Liberals tried to fix to stop them getting majority government.

In response to Mr McKay’s maths, I’ve done a small search on polls on Scottish independence. The Scotsman has found that 44 per cent of people haven’t yet decided which way they’ll vote so I want to know how he gets a certainty of a vast majority from 56 per cent. But on average the voting intentions seem to show a topping out at 60 per cent or as low as 45 per cent support for the Union. I don’t think anyone can describe the median of these figures as vast.

It’s close (not as close as we’d like, but not as far as the SNP came from in 2011) and the Yes side is definitely not complacent, but if people in the No camp are like Alexander McKay I’m sure the public will make the right choice and pay attention to the people not taking them for granted.

Ross William Quinn

Port Seton

By no stretch of the imagination did I “label opponents of Better Together as ‘cybernats’” (Colin Dunn, Letters, 16 August). I suggested Gordon Wilson’s injudicious use of such words as anti-Scottish and racism was “the standard of stuff one gets from the cybernats on the internet”.

I despair at such tactics as these. They are in no way likely to persuade me to come down onto what I assume to be his side of the fence.

John Milne

Uddingston, Lanarkshire