Latest Scotland Poll Closes Gap Further: 49% Would Vote For Independence, 51% Against; Cable Wobbles

Yesterday's YouGov poll, which saw the "No" camp regain the lead with 52% of the vote, was said by some to be the end of the "Yes" momentum observed last weekend when the Yes posted its first majority since polling began, Then moments ago, the momentum in the momentum changed once again, with the Guardian releasing the latest Scottish referendum poll by ICM which took place between September 9-11 polling a "a representative sample of 1,000 people", and where the vote was said to be "too close to call", as the margin collapsed once again, this time shifting the momentum in favor of the Yes vote, which received 49% of the vote, and No getting 51%, however 17% of the voters are "yet to make up their minds."

From the Guardian:

Despite a week of intense political campaigning by pro-union politicians and repeated warnings from business about the dangers of independence, the poll finds support for no on 51% and yes on 49% once don’t knows were excluded.


The Guardian/ICM poll is based on telephone interviews conducted between Tuesday and Thursday, the first such survey ICM has conducted during the campaign. Previous polls suggesting that the race for Scotland could go to a photo-finish have been based on internet-based surveys.


The period of the survey not only witnessed the three UK party leaders absenting themselves from prime minister’s questions to campaign in Scotland, but also a growing rumble of news stories about the economic risks of independence: Mark Carney of the Bank of England gave new warnings over the currency, some financial institutions such as RBS signalled readiness to move their headquarters out of Edinburgh, and there have been warnings about a mortgage drought.


Despite all of this, and the most recent suggestions that supermarket prices could have to rise, everything remains to play for in the final days of the campaign, because 17% of voters in the overall sample say they have yet to make up their mind. Including them in mix, the rounded figures leave yes on 40%, and no on 42%.


The unprecedented political engagement generated by the campaign shines through in the poll, which finds 87% of respondents describing themselves as “absolutely certain to vote”, far more than the 55% who said the same thing about the next Westminster election in the most recent UK-wide Guardian/ICM poll.

And some curious breakdown by age group:

  • young people are almost as engaged as their elders, with 82% of 16- to 24-year-olds and 87% of 25-34s insisting that they are 10 out of 10 sure that they will cast a vote; many will have already done so through postal voting.
  • The 25-34s in particular are heavily inclined to back independence – leaning yes, by 57% to 43%.
  • Respondents aged 65+ are staunch unionists, being inclined to vote no by 61% to 39%.

Commenting on the age contrast, Martin Boon, director of ICM explains – “the generational divide a crucial dividing line in Scottish politics right now: each campaign’s success in motivating the particular cohorts that favour them looks crucial to the outcome”.

And then there is gender:

  • Scottish women remain loyal to the UK, by 55% to 45%, while Scottish men by contrast are, by 52% to 48%, in favour of independence.

Some final observations:

Friday’s poll also interrogates what is motivating supporters of the two camps – asking respondents to choose the two or three issues that incline them to vote as they intend. Among no supporters, feelings towards the UK are the single most important factor – named by 53%, followed by 37% who suggest that continuation of the union would be better for Scottish pensions and public services. Economic fears of separation, the principal focus of Better Together campaign over most of the course of the year, rank as less important, nominated by just 33% of nos.


On the yes side, the single most important factor are feelings about Westminster’s politics, which is named by 51%, while 40% express the hopes that independence would deliver a more prosperous future. Despite a recent emphasis on the risks of English-inspired NHS privatisation, among yes supporters feelings about public services and pensions are less important – identified as especially important in determining their decision by just 24%.


Asked “how risky” they think independence is, little more than a quarter of Scots (26%) say it represents “a huge risk”, considerably more than the mere 13% who believe that it is “no risk at all”, but less than 56% who rank the dangers as somewhere in between the two. Sticking with the UK is, not surprisingly, seen as a safer option – only 19% regard that as “a huge risk”, as against 32% who rate it as “no risk at all”. The difference between the two propositions as measured by the average scores on the five point riskiness scale (where 5 represents a huge risk) is substantial, but not perhaps as large as might be expected. The mean score for sticking within the union is 2.7, compared with 3.2 for going it alone.

Cable has wobbled on the news, although it is largely unchanged from before last night's YouGov poll was released: