Scotland Decides: the referendum in numbers

As voters go to the polls across Scotland, Left Foot Forward has looked at the referendum campaign in numbers.

As voters go to the polls across Scotland, Left Foot Forward has looked at the referendum campaign in numbers

4 seats – The outright majority the SNP secured in the Scottish Parliamentary elections in 2011 that provided Alex Salmond with the mandate to secure today’s referendum.

The electoral system had been designed to avoid such a scenario occurring. As the then shadow Scottish secretary, Labour’s George (now Lord) Robertson, declared somewhat optimistically in 1995, the assumption had been that ‘devolution will kill nationalism stone dead’. The former Scottish Labour MP Tam Dalyell, however, described devolution as ‘a motorway without exits to independence’.

1 – The number of questions on the ballot paper as agreed within the Edinburgh Agreement signed by David Cameron and Alex Salmond in 2012. Voters will be asked ‘Should Scotland be an independent country?’ Many have argued that David Cameron’s decision not to include Devo-Max as an option on the ballot paper, despite it being the preferred option of the people of Scotland, could have been the point the Union was lost if Scotland votes to go it alone.

2 – The number of debates held between the Yes Scotland leader, Alex Salmond and Alistair Darling, leader of the Better Together campaign, despite the SNP’s persistent calls for the prime minister to debate with the first minister. It was widely believed that Alistair Darling won the first debate, with Alex Salmond performing best in the second.

6/9/14 – The day that a YouGov poll for the Sunday Times gave the Yes campaign a lead for the first time, setting the race alight.

£1 million – Roughly the amount in donations that Better Together received more in donations than Yes Scotland. Figures from the Electoral Commission showed that the no campaign received a total of £2.7 million, compared with the £1.8 million for the yes camp.

4 percentage points – The lead that Professor John Curtice of Strathclyde University gave to the no campaign in his last poll of polls of the campaign. With the ‘don’t knows’ taken out, he put No on 52 per cent and the Yes campaign on 48 per cent. In a referendum in which the polls played a big part in changing the dynamics of the campaign, the former speaker of the House of Commons, Betty Boothroyd, called for the UK to emulate France and ban polling a week before the voting, so that ‘people can make up their minds without all these confusing polls’.

97 per cent – The proportion of eligible voters north of the border who have registered to vote in the referendum which, for the first time, will include 16 and 17 year olds. Expectations are for a huge turnout above 80 per cent.

32 –The number of local authorities in Scotland. The results from each will be announced throughout the evening, with the first expected at around 2am and the last about 6am.

7am – The estimated time that the chief counting officer, Mary Pitcaithly, is thought likely to officially announce what the final result is.

1707 – The year the Act of Union came into force, uniting England and Scotland. After 307 years will Scotland stick with it, or tear it up completely? This time tomorrow we will know.

Ed Jacobs is a contributing editor to Left Foot Forward

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