A new poll today revealed only a third of Scots would vote yes to separation, against 57% sticking with the Union, as Alex Salmond launched the ‘yes’ campaign.
As Alex Salmond finally launched his independence campaign – fully five years after becoming first minister – a new poll today revealed only a third of Scots would vote yes to separation, against 57 per cent sticking with the Union.
It also emerged today that the Archbishop of Canterbury is opposed to independence, which he says is no “magic bullet”.
Beyond the headline figures, today’s YouGov poll reveals further damning findings, as this morning’s Guardian reports:
The poll also suggested that only 58% of people who voted for the SNP in last May’s landslide victory for Salmond would back independence in a snap referendum, while 28% of SNP voters opposed it.
“Even after winning two Scottish general election victories, raising a war-chest of millions and deploying the full resources of the Scottish government, Alex Salmond has failed to convince Scots that they should leave the United Kingdom,” [Alistair] Darling said.
“The nationalists will go to great lengths to try to prove there is a groundswell towards leaving the UK but the truth is that their campaign is stalled. Independence is as unpopular as it has ever been.”
The polling results will not greatly surprise the “yes” campaign but Darling’s intervention marks the first head-on challenge for Salmond by the anti-independence coalition formed by the three main pro-UK parties of Labour, the Tories and the Liberal Democrats, which is expected to launch formally in June.
• Galloway to square up to Salmond over independence 14 May 2012
• MPs accuse SNP of “biased” independence question 8 May 2012
Salmond, meanwhile, sought to brush off the poll at his big Edinburgh launch, calling for a million Scots to sign a ‘yes’ declaration, with his deputy, Nicola Sturgeon, telling the Today Programme this morning that independence “puts powers over our economy, over our political life into the hands of the people of Scotland”.
The vote will take place in autumn 2014 – expect the claims and counter-claims to intensify.