THE SNP have been dealt a blow by new poll figures that suggest support for an independent Scotland is stalling.
• Latest poll figures show support for independence stalling
• 16- and 17-year olds take part in poll
• Rise in undecided voters rises by 5 per cent
The poll shows that support for a split with Westminster remains unchanged at 28 per cent since last October. However, the Better Together campaign, launched last June, will be boosted by the TNS BRMB poll figures as they make their case for the Union.
Although a fall in the number of people opposed to independence, from 53 per cent in October to 48 per cent, means that the figures are not all bad news for the SNP, the number of don’t-knows has risen from 19 per cent to 24 per cent, the highest levels since 2007 when the polls began.
The figures also give the cross-party Better Together campaign a 20-point lead, more than double the nine-point advantage of a year ago.
The poll comes as the formalities of the Edinburgh Agreement are set to be completed this week, paving the way for the Scottish Parliament to legally stage the independence referendum in 2014.
The poll also surveyed views of 16- and 17-year olds, the first time that a major poll has done so. It was hoped by the SNP that the inclusion of younger voices would sway poll figures towards independence, but Chris Enyon, head of TNS BMRB Scotland, said that the overall picture of the polls since 2007 has remained broadly similar.
“The main effect of the Edinburgh Agreement between [David] Cameron and [Alex] Salmond in October was an increase in the undecideds and a slight decline in opposition to independence from its peak of 53 per cent, rather than any positive influence on opinion,” Enyon said.
“Similarly, the recent debate around automatic EU membersihip or not following independence has had no adverse effect on levels of support, which might suggest these current levels of opposition and support are based much more on principle than the detail. They are a reflection of the heart rather than the head at this stage.”