New polling has indicated that the pro-union “Better Together” campaign now enjoys a 20% lead over the “Yes Scotland” campaign on the day that the House of Commons votes on allowing the Scottish Parliament to lead on the arrangements for a vote on independence.
According to the poll carried out by TNS BMRB for the Herald newspaper, 48% of respondents expressed opposition to independence, compared with 28% who support the idea and 24% who don’t know.
Although the figure of those opposed has fallen by 5% since its previous high watermark of 53% in October 2012, this has been as a result of the “don’t knows” increasing by 5% in the same period.
Pointing to the relative stability of those supporting independence, the pollster explains:
“The main effect of the Edinburgh Agreement between Cameron and Salmond in October was an increase in the undecideds and a slight decline in opposition to independence from its peak of 53%, rather than any positive influence on opinion. Similarly, the recent debate around automatic EU membership or not following independence has had no adverse effect on levels of support, which might suggest these current levels of opposition and support are based much more on principle than the detail. They are a reflection of the heart rather than the head at this stage.”
In concluding that both sides of the debate had to gain the support of those who have decided to use their heads rather than their hearts in deciding how to vote, the Herald’s editorial this morning says of the results:
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“At this stage in the process, an increase in the proportion of people who are undecided is likely to indicate that they are waiting for further information in order to weigh up the pros and cons for themselves. As far as the politicians are concerned, it is evidence that the quarter of the electorate who have still to make up their minds want to be convinced of the consequences before casting their votes. The challenge facing both sides now is to win over those who have decided to vote with their heads rather than their hearts.”