Scottish independence: Salmond in need of poll boost from televised debate

Country is on course to vote No to independence in September's referendum

Political Editor

Scotland is on course to vote No to independence in September's referendum by a margin of 57 to 43 per cent, according to a “poll of polls” for The Independent.

Despite the heated battle between supporters and opponents of a breakaway, public opinion appears remarkably unchanged. Since March, the Yes and No camps have been within one percentage point of their current average rating.

The 57 to 43 per cent margin is based on the latest six opinion polls and excludes “don’t knows”. It has been calculated by John Curtice, professor of politics at Strathclyde University, who writes a blog called What Scotland Thinks.

After a pause for the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow, the referendum battle will burst back into life next Tuesday, when Alex Salmond, Scotland’s First Minister, goes head-to-head in a much anticipated TV debate with Alistair Darling, leader of the Better Together campaign. David Cameron has refused to debate with the Scottish National Party leader.

Video: Is the 'No' campaign gathering pace?

According to Professor Curtice, there is much resting on the debate for supporters of independence, who need a boost. 70 polls have been published since February last year, when the question on the ballot paper was settled, and all but one have put the No camp ahead. The only one that did was carried out for the SNP.

No issue matters more to Scots than whether they think independence would be economically beneficial for Scotland. Prof Curtice said: “Unfortunately for Mr Salmond at the moment pessimists still outnumber optimists by some 45 to 35 per cent. Unless Mr Salmond can begin to turn those numbers around, it looks as though Scotland will opt to stay in the Union, albeit perhaps by a margin that some unionists may find rather less than comfortable.”

The Yes side has made some progress. Before last Christmas, support for independence was running at just under 40 per cent. Support for independence rose to 43 per cent by March but has rarely moved outside the 42-44 per cent since.

Scottish independence: Poll of polls Scottish independence: Poll of polls “The Yes campaign seems to have stalled while still significantly short of its destination,” said Prof Curtice.

While all pollsters agree that the Yes side is behind, they do not agree by how much. During the last four months, the Yes vote has averaged 47 per cent in polls conducted by Panelbase, 45 per cent in those by Survation, and 44 per cent in those  by ICM. In contrast, TNS BMRB have put the Yes vote at no more than 42 per cent, while both YouGov and Ipsos MORI have estimated it at just 40 per cent.

Prof Curtice said: “It looks as though we may not the ascertain the answer until the real votes are counted on 18 September. But if the former group of pollsters are correct, one more heave might just produce an unexpected Yes victory. If, on the other hand, the latter pollsters are correct, success would seem to be beyond Mr Salmond’s grasp, irrespective of how well he performs on Tuesday."

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebooksNow available in paperback
News
The data shows that the number of “unlawfully” large infant classes has doubled in the last 12 months alone
i100Mike Stuchbery, a teacher in Great Yarmouth, said he received abuse
Arts and Entertainment
The starship in Star Wars: The Force Awakens
filmsThe first glimpse of JJ Abrams' new film has been released online
Sport
Rio Ferdinand returns for QPR
sportRio Ferdinand returns from his three-game suspension today
News
The Speaker of the House will takes his turn as guest editor of the Today programme
arts + ents
News
people

Watch the spoof Thanksgiving segment filmed for Live!
Sport
Billy Twelvetrees will start for England against Australia tomorrow with Owen Farrell dropping to the bench
rugbyEngland need a victory against Australia today
Arts and Entertainment
The cover of The Guest Cat – expect to see it everywhere
books
Sport
Tyson Fury poses outside the Imperial War Museum in south London ahead of his fight against Dereck Chisora
boxingAll British heavyweight clash gets underway on Saturday night
News
i100 Charity collates series of videos that show acts of kindness to animals
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Opilio Recruitment: QA Automation Engineer

£30k - 38k per year + Benefits: Opilio Recruitment: An award-winning consume...

Opilio Recruitment: UX & Design Specialist

£40k - 45k per year + Benefits: Opilio Recruitment: A fantastic opportunity ...

Opilio Recruitment: Publishing Application Support Analyst

£30k - 35k per year + Benefits: Opilio Recruitment: We’re currently re...

Opilio Recruitment: Digital Marketing Manager

£35k - 45k per year + benefits: Opilio Recruitment: A fantastic opportunity ...

Day In a Page

Homeless Veterans Christmas Appeal: ‘We give them hope. They come to us when no one else can help’

Christmas Appeal

Meet the charity giving homeless veterans hope – and who they turn to when no one else can help
Should doctors and patients learn to plan humane, happier endings rather than trying to prolong life?

Is it always right to try to prolong life?

Most of us would prefer to die in our own beds, with our families beside us. But, as a GP, Margaret McCartney sees too many end their days in a medicalised battle
Thomas Cook's outgoing boss Harriet Green got by on four hours sleep a night - is that what it takes for women to get to the top?

What does it take for women to get to the top?

Thomas Cook's outgoing boss Harriet Green got by on four hours sleep a night and told women they had to do more if they wanted to get on
Christmas jumper craze: Inside the UK factory behind this year's multicultural must-have

Knitting pretty: British Christmas Jumpers

Simmy Richman visits Jack Masters, the company behind this year's multicultural must-have
French chefs have launched a campaign to end violence in kitchens - should British restaurants follow suit?

French chefs campaign against bullying

A group of top chefs signed a manifesto against violence in kitchens following the sacking of a chef at a Paris restaurant for scalding his kitchen assistant with a white-hot spoon
Radio 4 to broadcast 10-hour War and Peace on New Year's Day as Controller warns of cuts

Just what you need on a New Year hangover...

Radio 4 to broadcast 10-hour adaptation of War and Peace on first day of 2015
Cuba set to stage its first US musical in 50 years

Cuba to stage first US musical in 50 years

Claire Allfree finds out if the new production of Rent will hit the right note in Havana
Christmas 2014: 10 best educational toys

Learn and play: 10 best educational toys

Of course you want them to have fun, but even better if they can learn at the same time
Paul Scholes column: I like Brendan Rodgers as a manager but Liverpool seem to be going backwards not forwards this season

Paul Scholes column

I like Brendan Rodgers as a manager but Liverpool seem to be going backwards not forwards this season
Lewis Moody column: Stuart Lancaster has made all the right calls – now England must deliver

Lewis Moody: Lancaster has made all the right calls – now England must deliver

So what must the red-rose do differently? They have to take the points on offer 
Cameron, Miliband and Clegg join forces for Homeless Veterans campaign

Cameron, Miliband and Clegg join forces for Homeless Veterans campaign

It's in all our interests to look after servicemen and women who fall on hard times, say party leaders
Millionaire Sol Campbell wades into wealthy backlash against Labour's mansion tax

Sol Campbell cries foul at Labour's mansion tax

The former England defender joins Myleene Klass, Griff Rhys Jones and Melvyn Bragg in criticising proposals
Nicolas Sarkozy returns: The ex-President is preparing to fight for the leadership of France's main opposition party – but will he win big enough?

Sarkozy returns

The ex-President is preparing to fight for the leadership of France's main opposition party – but will he win big enough?
Is the criticism of Ed Miliband a coded form of anti-Semitism?

Is the criticism of Miliband anti-Semitic?

Attacks on the Labour leader have coalesced around a sense that he is different, weird, a man apart. But is the criticism more sinister?
Ouija boards are the must-have gift this Christmas, fuelled by a schlock horror film

Ouija boards are the must-have festive gift

Simon Usborne explores the appeal - and mysteries - of a century-old parlour game