Scottish independence: No campaign opens up 25-point lead - poll

OPPOSITION to independence has grown, with an increasing gap between Scots wanting to stay in the UK and those wanting to leave, a poll has found.

OPPOSITION to independence has grown, with an increasing gap between Scots wanting to stay in the UK and those wanting to leave, a poll has found.

• Support for independence recorded at 28%

Opposition to indpendence recorded at 53%

• Poll shows momentum with No campaign

The survey of almost 1,000 Scots showed support for the union at 53 per cent, with 28 per cent favouring a split.

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The result of the TNS-BMRB poll will make for gloomy reading for First Minister Alex Salmond, following two other surveys by the same company this year showing an increase in support for the union.

Opposition to independence increased from 44 per cent to 50 per cent then 53 per cent, while support for independence dropped from 38 per cent to 35 per cent then 28 per cent.

Unionist parties yesterday seized on the results to claim that the SNP had consistently failed to boost support for independence.

Labour MSP Patricia Ferguson said: “This poll shows that the more people hear about separation from the SNP, the more they realise that we’re better


“Scots want the government to focus on what really matters: jobs, skills, college places and opportunities. People are worried about making ends meet, not with constitutional change.”

Scottish Conservative chief whip John Lamont said: “Despite a comfortable election victory, the SNP has not been able to convert this into support for separation, which probably explains why they were so keen to keep it off the agenda for so long.”

Scottish Liberal Democrat leader Willie Rennie said: “The more the SNP talk about independence, the more people support the UK. That’s because they are failing to come up with the most basic answers to simple questions people are posing.”

The number of undecided voters also plummeted in the poll to 19 per cent, despite peaking at 25 per cent.

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The result suggests the yes campaign would be unable to bridge the 25 per cent gap even if it could persuade the doubters to back independence.

There was strong opposition to independence in Glasgow, with just over one in five (21 per cent) of those polled in Scotland’s biggest city saying that they would vote yes. That was the lowest level of support in any region throughout the country.

A total of 65 per cent of Glaswegians polled also said they would vote no – the highest level of opposition to independence.

More than half of male voters – 51 per cent – said they would vote no, with 32 per cent backing independence and 17 per cent undecided.

Just 24 per cent of women polled said they would vote yes, with 56 per cent opposing independence and 21 per cent undecided.

Support for independence was highest among 18 to 24 year olds at 37 per cent. Some 42 per cent in that age group said they would vote no.

Scotland’s Deputy First Minister Nicola insisted there would be a surge in support for Scottish independence in the run-up to the referendum in two years.

She said: “It is becoming clearer by the day that the Tory-led anti-independence campaign has no alternative to independence, other than more cuts imposed by Westminster – and as this debate develops, we are extremely confident that support for independence will grow, and that we will achieve a successful yes result in autumn 2014.”

A spokesman for Yes Scotland said: “Once there is greater awareness of the benefits of a yes vote, and the cost of a no vote, we are confident the polls will start to swing in our favour.”