SUPPORT for independence is flatlining at 25 per cent, according to a new opinion poll suggesting that the publicity marking the one-year countdown to the referendum has failed to boost the Yes campaign.
A survey of 1,004 adults in Scotland aged 16 and over found that one-quarter would vote yes next year, 44 per cent would vote no and 31 per cent were undecided. The poll, the second in a series planned for the run-up to the 18 September vote by TNS BMRB, was carried out following the flurry of coverage associated with the year-to-go milestone last month.
Despite the publicity, the headline figures had not moved appreciably since a similar poll conducted by the polling company at the end of August.
When the sample was asked the exact question that will appear on next year’s ballot paper, the poll showed that the proportion of yes voters has not changed.
When asked “Should Scotland be an independent country?”, 25 per cent said yes – exactly the same percentage that answered in the affirmative when confronted with the same question between 21 and 27 August this year. Support for a No vote had fallen slightly from 47 per cent in August to 44 per cent recorded in the most recent poll of people, between 25 September and 2 October.
The fall in no votes was accompanied by a rise in the proportion of don’t knows, which increased from 28 per cent in August to 31 per cent.
With support for independence seemingly stalled, Yes Scotland drew comfort from the increasing number of don’t knows, arguing that they could be convinced to support independence.
“Different polls report various results, but with nearly a year to go before the referendum, the most significant figure in the poll is the increase in the number of undecideds – 31 per cent, which is an increase of three points,” a Yes Scotland spokesman said.
When the results were broken down further, it was found that among those who claim they are certain to vote, 28 per cent intend to vote yes, 50 per cent no and 22 per cent are don’t knows.
Only 14 per cent of all adults in Scotland say they have “all the information they need” to decide how they will vote. And 44 per cent indicate that they feel poorly informed.
Tom Costley, head of TNS in Scotland, said: “The lack of information is particularly evident among the don’t know group, of whom 60 per cent indicated that they were very much lacking the information they need compared to around four in ten of the no voters and around three in ten of the yes voters.
“Both camps need to be more convincing in their communications to this important constituency in order to make progress.”
A separate TNS Omnibus conducted with a 1,132 sample in England and Wales found that support for Scotland leaving the union is similar north and south of the Border.
South of Hadrian’s Wall, 22 per cent were in favour of Scotland leaving the UK and a quarter thought that the rest of the UK would be better off without Scotland. However, more than half of those surveyed (53 per cent) wanted Scotland to vote no.