9-point lead for No to independence campaign

The No to Scottish independence campaign has a nine point lead, according to new polling published over the weekend.

The No to Scottish independence campaign has a nine point lead, according to new polling published over the weekend.

The findings, collected by Panelbase on behalf of the Sunday Times and Real Radio Scotland put support for the Yes camp at 38 per cent, with those intending to reject independence at 47 per cent. 15 per cent said they did not know which way they would vote.

With the Scottish government due to publish its much anticipated white paper on independence on Tuesday, the poll also found:

  • 44 per cent said Scotland would be financially worse off under independence, with 32 per cent believing it would be slightly or much better off.

  • 26 per cent said they thought independence would leave them at least £500 a year worse off, while 15 per cent said it would put at least an extra £500 in their pockets. 34 per cent said it would make little difference.

  • 32 per cent expressed a belief that independence would mean greater spending on public services as opposed to the 34 per cent who expected funding to fall. 14 per cent expect no change.

  • 29 per cent believed the value of the state pension would fall under independence with 25 per cent expecting it would increase and 19 per cent believing that it would not change.

  • 63 per cent said they would be prouder to introduce themselves to someone from overseas as being Scottish, with only 19 per cent prouder to call themselves British and 18 per cent saying it would make no difference.

As the SNP revealed that the earliest Scotland could become independent if it votes yes would be 24 March 2016, professor John Curtice of Strathclyde University has argued that the Yes campaign are pinning their hopes on the White Paper being something of a game changer. Writing for the “What Scotland Thinks” blog, he concludes:

“Within the Yes camp many a hope rests on Tuesday’s White Paper. If those hopes are to be realised, it looks as though it is going to have to be very impressive and persuasive document indeed. For it will evidently be greeted by an electorate that so far has failed to be convinced of the benefits of independence – and seems very reluctant to change its mind on the issue.”

Looking ahead to the paper’s publication, in its editorial over the weekend the Sunday Herald has called for open minds on Tuesday. Warning the pro-union camp not to dismiss it out of hand, it argues:

“The Scottish people are yet to be convinced of the relevance of independence to Scotland’s problems. However, we approach this White Paper with an open mind and we urge others to do so too. We applaud the Scottish government for at least attempting to present an alternative future to the dismal prospectus offered by the unionist parties.”

At Scotland on Sunday, however, uncertainty over the crucial issue of Scotland’s currency post-independence will be a symptom of a number of important topics being likely to remain unanswered in the paper. Arguing that “early indications are that on some key issues the white paper will be less than definitive”, the paper explains:

“On the crucial question of what currency an independent Scotland would use, and what influence it would have over how that currency would be managed, the UK is being deliberately vague. This leaves the SNP little option but to declare, by simple assertion, what it anticipates the Whitehall position would be. Is this really a firm enough platform from which to win over the remaining undecideds in the Scottish electorate? Especially when the SNP’s fellow travellers in the Yes Scotland coalition have no hesitation in saying the SNP’s currency strategy is plain wrong?

“The likely upshot of all of this is that when Alex Salmond stands up at the Glasgow Science Centre on Tuesday to unveil his white paper, some of the key questions in the minds of Scottish voters will remain unanswered. This is not where the SNP wanted to be with ten months to go before its date with destiny.”

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