Scottish independence: FM’s ‘mission million’ hope

ALEX Salmond will today claim that a “Hampden Roar” of missing voters, who before now have never taken part in elections, will secure him victory next month.

First Minister Alex Salmond. Picture: Hemedia

The First Minister will do a tour of the Sunday television studios to claim that more than 230,000 Labour voters already plan to vote Yes.

With the referendum little more than a fortnight away and the deadline for voter registration on Tuesday, Salmond will appear on BBC’s Sunday Politics and Sky’s Murnaghan programme.

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Speaking yesterday, the First Minister said: “All across Scotland, more people are starting to recognise the huge opportunities an independent Scotland will bring and that is being matched by a surge in people signing up to vote.

“People have been adding themselves to the electoral roll in record numbers. Many of these people will be voting for the first time in their lives, which shows just how much this referendum campaign has re-energised the democratic process right across Scotland.”

Salmond added: “This referendum is a unique and historic vote and those who never normally take part in elections – Scotland’s missing million – are set to play a decisive part in our nation’s decision on 18 September.”

With Yes still behind in the polls, the two campaigns are expected to go into battle over public services this week. Despite Salmond’s optimism, Better Together strategists were yesterday confident that their vote was holding up with their canvass returns indicating that undecided voters were breaking towards No in the SNP heartlands. Better Together’s campaign director, Blair McDougall, released the results of Better Together’s canvassing of “don’t knows” in several SNP Holyrood and Westminster constituencies.

Amongst the undecided in Salmond’s Aberdeenshire East seat 57 per cent now said they were coming out for No, compared with 15 per cent Yes. Similar patterns were found in Alex Neil’s Airdrie and Shotts constituency (16 per cent Yes, 52 per cent No); Mike Russell’s Argyll and Bute seat (16 per cent Yes, 52 per cent No); Nicola Sturgeon’s Glasgow Southside (20 per cent Yes, 51 per cent No); and John Swinney’s Perthshire seat (17 per cent Yes, 52 per cent No). Analysis of SNP Westminster constituencies showed a similar trend. In Mike Weir’s Angus seat there were 15 per cent Yes and 5 per cent No.

Salmond’s old seat of Banff and Buchan, now occupied by Eilidh Whiteford saw undecideds fall 13 per cent for Yes compared with 68 per cent for No.

Similarly, Angus Brendan MacNeil’s Western Isles seat was 12 per cent Yes and 62 per cent No. While Angus Robertson’s Moray seat was 13 per cent Yes and 68 per cent No. Dundee East, the seat of Stewart Hosie, was 19 per cent Yes and 46 per cent No. Finally, Pete Wishart’s Perth and North Perthshire seat was 17 per cent Yes and 53 per cent No.

The canvass returns were based on speaking to over 1,000 people, who Better Together have identified as undecided, in each constituency in the last week.

“We are talking about large numbers of voters,” said McDougall. “Knocking on doors where people are likely to be undecided shows that we are well ahead in all the areas where you would expect the Nationalists to be turning out their core vote.”