Despite the panic, 'no' vote still likely in Scottish referendum

Salmond is enjoying strong coverage but polling suggests the 'no' lead holding firm
Salmond is enjoying strong coverage but polling suggests the 'no' lead holding firm
Ian Dunt By

A new poll suggests the 'yes' camp in the Scottish independence debate is still struggling to draw level, in a result which will reassure those becoming nervous about the Better Together campaign.

The TNS poll put the 'yes' camp on 29%, 12 points behind the 'no' camp on 41%.

Among those certain to vote, the gap is slightly larger, by 46% to 33%.

The 'no' lead has shrunk slightly from 14 points last month and the 19 points it enjoyed in September, when the polling series began.

But it is not narrowing quickly enough for Alex Salmond's Scottish National paty (SNP) to have an expectation of winning the referendum in September.

The proportion of Scots who intend to vote in the referendum hit a new high of 74%, up 11 points since September.

"The increase in the proportion who claim they are certain to vote is an indication that more and more people are realising the importance of this referendum and are becoming increasingly engaged in the process," head of TNS Scotland Tom Costley said.

"Many undecided voters are telling us that they will definitely cast their vote, and how the campaigns address their interests is likely to have a big influence on the final outcome."

Nationalists will be reassured by how many voters still remain undecided, with 30% of all voters fitting into the category.

But they will be wary of international evidence which suggests there will be a boost in support for the status quo in the final six weeks of a campaign, when negative campaigning hits home.

Advocates of the union have become increasingly nervous lately, amid complaints of a lacklustre and overly-negative campaign from the Alistair Darling-led Better Together campaign.

But other polls show an even more substantial lead for the 'no' camp, with YouGov putting it at 52% to 37%.


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