THE No campaign on Scottish independence has a nine point lead in the latest opinion poll, issued ahead of the publication of the white paper on independence this week.
The Panelbase survey, conducted for The Sunday Times and Real Radio Scotland, puts support for a Yes vote at 38%, with those backing a No vote at 47%. A total of 15% said they did not know which way they would go.
Pro-independence campaigners said the poll shows they need less than a five point swing to take the lead.
The study of 1,006 Scottish adults also explored people’s attitudes to the possible impact of independence on the economy and their own wealth.
Some 44% of those polled said Scotland would be financially worse off under independence, while 32% felt the country would be slightly or much better off.
Voters were also asked whether they believed they would personally be better off in an independent Scotland.
Twenty-six per cent said they thought independence would leave them at least £500 a year worse off, while 15% said it would put at least an extra £500 in their pockets. But a significant number, 34%, said it would make little difference.
On the prospects for public services, voters appear to be more evenly split.
Almost as many people (32%) believe independence would mean greater spending on public services as expect funding to fall (34%), with 14% expecting no change.
In addition, while 29% believe the value of the state pension would fall, 25% expect it would increase and 19% think it would not change.
On a final question of identity, far more Scots (63%) said they would be prouder to introduce themselves to someone from overseas as being Scottish, with only 19% prouder to call themselves British and 18% saying it would make no difference.
Panelbase MD Ivor Knox said: “If patriotism and national pride were the key issues, Yes would win hands down. They aren’t: while most voters are proud to call themselves Scots, people remain unconvinced that independence would bring economic benefits.”
Analysing the findings on the website What Scotland Thinks, John Curtice, professor of politics at Strathclyde University, said: “In what is likely to be the last poll before Tuesday’s independence white paper, Panelbase once again present a more optimistic picture for the Yes side than any other pollster. However like everyone else, they also find that the balance of public opinion remains resistant to all attempts to shift it - and that thus the Yes side continues to be behind.”
Yes Scotland chief executive Blair Jenkins said the findings showed that momentum was building for Yes.
He said: “This poll confirms what other surveys, our own research and the feedback from our volunteers on the ground are telling us - that momentum is very much with Yes and there is everything to play for. A swing of less than 5% would put Yes ahead.
“Of course we know there is a lot of hard work to do between now and next September to persuade more people that Scotland’s future in Scotland’s hands is the right choice for them, their families and the country. But we are very much up for the challenge and the publication this week of the white paper will signal an exciting new phase in the campaign.”
Panelbase conducted the research from November 12-20.
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