Salmond’s hopes fading as ‘yes’ slips in polls

The Better Together campaign is starting to pull ahead in the polls, according to new survey data from YouGov.

The poll for the Times puts the 'no' campaign up one on 54%, the 'yes' camp down one on 35% and the 'don't knows' on 11%.

The increase in the gap is not particularly large and YouGov remains the pollster with the most consistently subdued results for 'yes', but with just a few months left until the vote it suggests Alex Salmond's hopes of securing Scottish independence are fading away.

Worryingly for the 'yes' camp, only 27% thought Scotland would be better off as an independent country, while 49% believe it would be worse off. Just 17% think that they themselves will be better off if Scotland became independent.

That result is particularly pertinent for the million or so undecided voters, who are more likely to be moved by economic arguments than emotional cases for or against the union.

"The 'yes' campaign has to persuade people that Scotland will be economically better off and people are no more convinced than they were after the publication of the white paper,” Professor John Curtice of Strathclyde University told the newspaper.

"Until those numbers turn around, I can't see them making it, really.

"It is going to be very, very difficult. It has looked difficult for quite a while. It needs a gamechanger, and where is that going to come from during the course of the summer?"

In another lost propaganda opportunity for Salmond, the British Geological Survey has found Scotland’s reserves of shale gas are "modest" compared to England.