Support for Scottish independence has surged to the highest level this year, according an opinion poll just over two weeks before a vote on whether Scots should leave the United Kingdom. The poll of 1,063 voters, which was conducted jointly for The Times and Sun newspapers by YouGov, found support for the pro-independence "Yes" campaign rose sharply during August to 47 percent, while 53 percent advocated staying with the rest of Britain. The six-point difference is the closest margin of the intense campaign ahead of the Sept. 18 referendum, and comes after months of polling in which the “Better Together” side has been comfortably in the lead. It follows an emphatic win by Scotland's pro-independence leader Alex Salmond in a televised debate last week.
“A close finish looks likely and a Yes victory is now a real possibility,” YouGov president Peter Kellner said. “If No finally wins the day, it now looks less likely that it will win by a big enough margin to deliver a knock-out blow to supporters of independence.” The YouGov poll also found that undecided voters – who accounted for 10 percent of those surveyed – were twice as likely to choose independence.
- Alastair Jamieson