Scots want more information on independence

Scots are hungry for more information on what independence would mean in practice.

Scots are hungry for more information on what independence would mean in practice

New polling indicates that while the Yes to independence campaign continues to have a mountain to climb ahead of September’s referendum, many Scots are hungry for more information about the consequences of the decision they make.

The new data compiled by the pollsters TNS shows that of all those questioned, 42 per cent rejected independence compared to 30 per cent that supported it, with 28 per cent saying they did not know.

Focussing on those who said they were certain to vote in the referendum, 44 per cent rejected Scotland going it alone, 35 per cent supported it and 20 per cent did not know how they would vote.

Similar polling undertaken by TNS in October of last year asked participants how much information they had to enable them to make a decision using a scale of one to 10, where one is “I don’t feel I have any information at all” and 10 is “I have all the information I need”.

While in October 31 per cent gave a score of between seven and 10, indicating that they felt they had enough information, in this more recent poll this figure had risen to 49 per cent, with 45 per cent of those not sure how they will vote still not feeling that they had enough information.

Meanwhile, there remains a feeling that the campaign to keep the UK in the union remains too negative. Over half (53 per cent) of those polled said Better Together had been negative, with 15 per cent disagreeing. 29 per cent said they believed the Yes campaign was too negative, while 37 per cent disagreed.

Commenting on the findings, head of TNS Scotland Tom Costley said:

“It is encouraging that with four months to go until the vote, many more people feel that they have enough information to help them come to a decision. However, many people, particularly the undecideds, are still waiting to be both informed and convinced.

“As the electorate usually claims to dislike negative campaigning, this poll suggests that Better Together may need to consider adopting a more positive tone to its campaigning in the run-up to 18 September.”

Perceptions over the negativity of the Better Together are unlikely to do much to quash the rumours in the Daily Mail that Alistair Darling is being side-lined as head of the pro-UK campaign group in favour of shadow foreign secretary Douglas Alexander, with Gordon Brown also likely to take a much more prominent role ahead of September’s vote.

But shadow international development secretary Jim Murphy made clear that Darling remains alive and well, declaring on twitter yesterday:

“Alistair Darling very much alive and well and in charge of a campaign that had a 20% lead in latest poll. Daily Mail story is total fiction.”

Further pouring cold water on the suggestion that Darling is being side-lined, Alex Massie, writing for the Spectator, has further said of the Mail story:

“James Chapman is a fine reporter but one can’t help but think the sources he cites testifying to Darling’s supposed relegation are a) likely to be in London and b) most likely to be Conservatives and that a combination of a) and b) suggests they might not have the greatest clue in the world about what’s happening in Scotland.

“The strength of this report is further undermined by the suggestion Alexander is taking a ‘newly prominent’ role. True, he gave a speech the other day but, gosh, he’s done that before. Quite often, actually. In fact the Shadow Foreign Secretary is hardly a stranger north of the Tweed and Solway. He’s been making speeches — mostly quite good ones — for months and pops up pretty regularly in the newspapers too.

“But yes, Alexander, like other senior Labour figures, will be campaigning for the Union this summer. And so will Gordon Brown (in his own way). Which, surely, is as it should be. Mustering additional brigades is not the same thing as replacing the brigades already in the field.”

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