PRO-independence campaigners are facing a mountain to persuade voters to back them in next year’s referendum according to a major new poll released today.
The Ipsos Mori survey has found that support for a “yes” vote is now 31 percent, among those certain to vote, down 3 points since the last poll in February.
Support for a “no” vote has gone up to 59 percent, an increase of 4 percent.
A further 10 percent say they are undecided.
When voters who are not certain to vote are included the gap widens, with backing for independence at 28 percent compared to 58 percent in favour of the UK.
It suggests that the momentum hoped for by the “YesScotland” campaign at the start of this year has not only failed to materialise but that support is hardening against their cause.
However, the insisted last night that people were yet to focus on the battleground, with 500 days still to go until people head to the polling booths on September 18th next year.
The poll, published in the Times, also showed that the SNP’s lead over Labour at Holyrood has narrowed . Support for the SNP is at 39%, down 4 points on a similar poll in February. Backing for Labour is up one point to 36%.
The independence poll once again shows that women are overwhelmingly opposed to secession. Support among women is now down at 23%, down five since February.
There is also a low level of support among older voters, with only 27% of over 55s likely to vote yes. By contrast a half of 18-24 year olds say they are supportive of independence.
A spokeswoman for Yes Scotland said: “It is clear that when it comes to economic and social policy, the Westminster system is not working for Scottish families. There is a better way and our key message is that Scotland’s got what it takes to be a fairer and more successful country with independence.”
She added: “We are confident that as people focus on the choice they will be making in September 2014 - between a Yes future and a No future - that more and more Scots will join us in saying yes.”
Alistair Darling, Chair of Better Together said: “This is another very encouraging poll. It shows that the majority of people believe that we are better and stronger as part of the United Kingdom. The events of the past few weeks have exposed the fact that, despite having 80 years to think about it, the nationalists do not know even know the answer to basic questions like what currency we would use if we go it alone. Even more worrying has been the fact that there seems to be absolutely no plan for making sure that our pensions are protected.”
He added: “However, we must not allow ourselves to be complacent. There is a long way to go. We have to do everything we can to continue to win the arguments, expose the nationalist assertions and, ultimately, win the referendum next year. This means that we have to make sure that people come out and vote. The nationalists know that they need only win once and they only need to win by one vote. If this happens, then there will be no going back.”