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Coffee House

Shock poll: Scotland’s ‘Yes’ campaign pulls into lead. It’s 51% to 49%

6 September 2014

9:34 PM

6 September 2014

9:34 PM

Tomorrow’s Sunday Times poll by YouGov puts the Yes campaign ahead at 51 per cent, with No on 49 per cent when undecided voters are excluded (even when they’re included, ‘yes’ are still ahead by two points: 47-45). In the space of four weeks, ‘No’ has blown a 22-point lead.

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It was only recently that the No campaign started to wonder whether this could happen: previously there was an acceptance that the polls could narrow in the last few weeks, but the narrative was that the SNP were behind and were simply trying to engineer a close enough defeat for them to argue for a significant new settlement for Scotland.

Now the Yes campaign has every opportunity to gain sufficient momentum not just to get a narrow defeat, but a victory. A narrow defeat would still be good for Alex Salmond, but even the narrowest victory won by a hair’s breadth would of course be spectacular.

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Rupert Murdoch tweeted about this earlier on – he seems to smell an intifada.

The question is who will this poll galvanise the most? Will it horrify wavering voters and send the Better Together campaign into a final frenzy to win over those lingering undecideds? One thing we can be certain of is more detail on what further powers Scotland would get if it stayed within the UK. Or will it give the SNP a final furlong spurt of energy? As we’re dealing with an expected turnout of around 80 per cent with voters who have never pushed a slip of paper into a ballot box before coming out to vote, no-one knows the answer. And that’s what makes tonight’s poll particularly terrifying for unionists.

UPDATE, 9.45pm: Alistair Darling has responded:

‘The polls may conflict, but the message I take from them is clear: If you want Scotland to remain part of the UK family you have to vote for it on 18 September. Separation is forever. These polls can and must now serve as a wake-up call to anyone who thought the referendum result was a foregone conclusion. It never was.  It will go down to the wire. Now is the time to speak up and speak out.

‘We are hitting the streets, knocking on the doors, making the calls in unprecedented numbers and we are hearing the people of Scotland respond positively to our vision of Scotland securing the best of both worlds. That means more powers for Scotland without taking on all the risks of separation.

‘We relish this battle. It is not the Battle of Britain – it is the battle for Scotland, for Scotland’s children and grandchildren and the generations to come. This is a battle we will win.’

PS  FROM FRASER NELSON: Make no mistake, the UK government will now be on full panic mode. This eclipses everything: the country is 12 days away from dissolution. We’re seeing an almost perfect rerun of what happened in Quebec in October 1995 when the ‘yes’ pulled into a lead at the last minute. Then, Canadians (who had ignored the debate until then) suddenly took notice, realising that their country was falling apart. Seven days before the poll, a massive unity rally in Montreal was organised (details here) by a fisheries minister acting on his own initiative. God knows such initiatives are needed now.

Spectator appeal: Write a short letter, of no more than 250 words, addressed to a Scottish voter telling them what you’d like for them to save Britain, and stay part of a united country. We’ll publish the best. Find out more here.

Subscribe to The Spectator today for a quality of argument not found in any other publication. Get more Spectator for less – just £12 for 12 issues.


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