A leading polling expert has said that a poll giving the Yes campaign its highest rating ever should not be taken as evidence that polls are relentlessly moving towards a Yes vote.
The Panelbase poll – which was commissioned by pro-independence blog, Wings Over Scotland, run by Bath-based Stuart Campbell, who supports independence but claims to be separate from the SNP – puts the Yes vote on 41 per cent and No on 46 per cent.
The Yes figure is the highest rating recorded so far in response to the question “Should Scotland be an independent country?” – the question that will be put to voters on 18 September.
Professor John Curtice, from Strathclyde University, said: “Both votes are up one point on Panelbase’s previous poll, conducted three weeks ago for the pro-independence news website, newsnetscotland.com.
“The small increase in the Yes vote is, however, enough to make it the highest pro-independence vote in any poll yet, other than in a much-criticised poll Panelbase conducted for the SNP last August.”
Writing on the non-partisan What Scotland Thinks website, the politics professor said: “The poll thus cannot be cited as evidence that there is now a nationalist bandwagon moving continuously and relentlessly towards the 50 per cent mark.
“On the other hand, the No side’s continuing efforts at persuading Scots of the risk of independence – together with three weekends of unionist Scottish party conferences – are still evidently failing to bear any fruit.
“The argument that the No campaign is too relentlessly negative will doubtless continue to be heard.”
Yes Scotland chief executive Blair Jenkins said the poll showed the campaign was “moving steadily in the right direction.”
Meanwhile, Better Together chairman Alistair Darling, the former Labour chancellor, played down any significance of the results of the Panelbase survey, which he described as “something of an outlier in Scottish polls”.