Today’s poll from TNS BMRB putting both Yes and No on 50 per cent is arguably even more significant than Sunday’s poll from YouGov that put Yes on 51 per cent. Now we have confirmation that a dramatic change has taken place.
TNS BMRB’s estimate of the size of the swing over the last month or so is somewhat smaller – eight points rather than 12 – but it is still enough to mean that a second company that had hitherto suggested No were heading for a fairly comfortable victory now reckons the referendum race is too close to call. There can now be little doubt the prospects for the vote on 18 September are very different from a few short weeks ago.
YouGov and TNS BMRB also largely agree on which groups have swung most and least to Yes. Older people remain very reluctant to embrace the prospect of living in a new country; amongst them there has hardly been any swing at all. Both polls also suggest there has been some erosion of the relative reluctance of women to vote Yes, albeit a majority remain opposed to independence. They also suggest the swing has been rather greater amongst working class than middle class voters.
But why have the voters changed their mind? Above all, the Yes side have made a significant progress on what has always been the key issue for voters – whether or not an independent Scotland would be a more prosperous country. In June YouGov found there were almost twice as many pessimists as optimists on that score. Now they are almost equal in number.
Yes have made this advance despite the fact that the No side have continuously harassed Alex Salmond on the currency issue. However, it appears the more the No side say that Scotland would not be allowed to share the pound, the more they are disbelieved. Over 51 per cent now think the unionists’ “threat” is a bluff, up 12 points since February. And a campaign that has seemingly lost its credibility is a campaign that is serious trouble indeed.Reuse content