Shock Scottish independence poll puts ‘yes’ camp ahead

A poll has been released showing the 'yes' camp ahead in the referendum on Scottish independence.

The poll, which does not correspond to the findings of any other survey, puts the 'yes' camp on 44% and the 'no' camp on 43% – the first time Alex Salmond's side have taken a lead since August 2011.

The Panelbase survey was commissioned by the Scottish National party (SNP) and leads with two questions which could be seen to tilt opinion towards supporting independence, but its results suggest that critics may be unwise to have already written off the 'yes' campaign.

The poll has a sample of 1,043 and its question on Scottish independence reads: "There will be a referendum on an independent Scotland on 18th of September 2014. How do you intend to vote in response to the question: Should Scotland be an independent country?"

The yes vote was up seven points since the last Panelbase survey in July and the no vote was down three points.

Pollsters are still likely to treat the result as an outlier unless it is substantiated by other findings.

Salmond claims the debate on independence will swing his way as the campaign itself heats up, despite repeated opinion poll findings showing a solid majority against independence.

He is partly inspired by his unexpected victory in the 2011 Scottish parliament election, in which he overturned a 20-point deficit in the polls.

Pollsters argue that the public usually drifts towards the status quo as any vote approaches, suggesting that the 'yes' camp will need a solid majority before the final weeks of the campaign if they are to stop themselves getting pinched by negative messaging from the 'no' camp.