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."

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Voices
Lucerne’s Hotel Château Gütsch, one of the lots in our Homeless Veterans appeal charity auction
charity appeal
Arts and Entertainment
Tony Hughes (James Nesbitt) after his son Olly disappeared on a family holiday in France
tv
News
people

Jo from Northern Ireland was less than impressed by Russell Brand's attempt to stage a publicity stunt

Sport
Nabil Bentaleb (centre) celebrates putting Tottenham ahead
footballTottenham 4 Newcastle 0: Spurs fans dreaming of Wembley final after dominant win
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebooksNow available in paperback
Arts and Entertainment
The Apprentice candidates Roisin Hogan, Solomon Akhtar, Mark Wright, Bianca Miller, Daniel Lassman
tvReview: But which contestants got the boot?
Life and Style
A woman walks by a pandal art installation entitled 'Mars Mission' with the figure of an astronaut during the Durga Puja festival in Calcutta, India
techHow we’ll investigate the existence of, and maybe move in with, our alien neighbours
Arts and Entertainment
Jim Carrey and Jeff Daniels ride again in Dumb and Dumber To
filmReview: Dumb And Dumber To was a really stupid idea
Arts and Entertainment
Sir Ian McKellen tempts the Cookie Monster
tvSir Ian McKellen joins the Cookie Monster for a lesson on temptation
News
i100
Travel
Tourists bask in the sun beneath the skyscrapers of Dubai
travelBritish embassy uses social media campaign to issue travel advice for festive holiday-makers in UAE
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

Ashdown Group: Helpdesk Analyst

£25000 per annum: Ashdown Group: An established media firm based in Surrey is ...

Ashdown Group: Java Developer - Hertfordshire - £47,000 + bonus + benefits

£40000 - £470000 per annum + bonus: Ashdown Group: Java Developer / J2EE Devel...

Ashdown Group: Head of Finance - Financial Director - London - £70,000

£70000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Head of Finance - Financial Controller - Fina...

Recruitment Genius: Business Development Executive - Nationwide - OTE £65,000

£30000 - £65000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This small technology business ...

Day In a Page

Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton: The power dynamics of the two first families

Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton

Karen Tumulty explores the power dynamics of the two first families
Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley with a hotbed of technology start-ups

Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley

The Swedish capital is home to two of the most popular video games in the world, as well as thousands of technology start-ups worth hundreds of millions of pounds – and it's all happened since 2009
Did Japanese workers really get their symbols mixed up and display Santa on a crucifix?

Crucified Santa: Urban myth refuses to die

The story goes that Japanese store workers created a life-size effigy of a smiling "Father Kurisumasu" attached to a facsimile of Our Lord's final instrument of torture
Jennifer Saunders and Kate Moss join David Walliams on set for TV adaptation of The Boy in the Dress

The Boy in the Dress: On set with the stars

Walliams' story about a boy who goes to school in a dress will be shown this Christmas
La Famille Bélier is being touted as this year's Amelie - so why are many in the deaf community outraged by it?

Deaf community outraged by La Famille Bélier

The new film tells the story of a deaf-mute farming family and is being touted as this year's Amelie
10 best high-end laptops

10 best high-end laptops

From lightweight and zippy devices to gaming beasts, we test the latest in top-spec portable computers
Michael Carberry: ‘After such a tough time, I’m not sure I will stay in the game’

Michael Carberry: ‘After such a tough time, I’m not sure I will stay in the game’

The batsman has grown disillusioned after England’s Ashes debacle and allegations linking him to the Pietersen affair
Susie Wolff: A driving force in battle for equality behind the wheel

Susie Wolff: A driving force in battle for equality behind the wheel

The Williams driver has had plenty of doubters, but hopes she will be judged by her ability in the cockpit
Calls for a military mental health 'quality mark'

Homeless Veterans campaign

Expert calls for military mental health 'quality mark'
Racton Man: Analysis shows famous skeleton was a 6ft Bronze Age superman

Meet Racton Man

Analysis shows famous skeleton was a 6ft Bronze Age superman
Garden Bridge: St Paul’s adds to £175m project’s troubled waters

Garden Bridge

St Paul’s adds to £175m project’s troubled waters
Stuff your own Christmas mouse ornament: An evening class in taxidermy with a festive feel

Stuff your own Christmas mouse ornament

An evening class in taxidermy with a festive feel
Joint Enterprise: The legal doctrine which critics say has caused hundreds of miscarriages of justice

Joint Enterprise

The legal doctrine which critics say has caused hundreds of miscarriages of justice
Freud and Eros: Love, Lust and Longing at the Freud Museum: Objects of Desire

Freud and Eros

Love, Lust and Longing at the Freud Museum
France's Front National and the fear of a ‘gay lobby’ around Marine Le Pen

Front National fear of ‘gay lobby’

Marine Le Pen appoints Sébastien Chenu as cultural adviser