Scottish First Minister Alex Salmond speaks at the SNP spring conference last weekend in Aberdeen. Photograph: Getty Images.
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Scottish independence poll puts No campaign 12 points ahead

The latest TNS survey suggests that the race is not narrowing at the rate the nationalists need to win. 

Judging by the more excited nationalist commentaries, one would imagine that the Yes campaign will shortly take the lead in the Scottish independence race. But today's TNS poll is a reminder of why the odds remain against it. Among those certain to vote, the Yes side is 13 points behind (46-33), while among all voters it is 12 behind (41-29). The No campaign's lead has narrowed from 14 points last month but not at the rate the SNP requires with just five months to go. (Although it's worth noting that some pollsters, most obviously Panelbase, show a smaller gap. Then again, others, such as YouGov, show a larger gap.) 

The consolation for the nationalists is the large number of voters who remain undecided, with 30 per cent of all voters and 21 per cent of those certain to vote yet to be won over by either side. 

If the Yes side is to triumph, it will need to overcome the traditional bias for the status quo in referendums (particularly in the closing stages) and reach further into the middle class heartlands of Unionism. Both remain formidable challenges. 

George Eaton is political editor of the New Statesman.

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To stop Jeremy Corbyn, I am giving my second preference to Andy Burnham

The big question is whether Andy Burnham or Yvette Cooper will face Jeremy in the final round of this election.

Voting is now underway in the Labour leadership election. There can be no doubt that Jeremy Corbyn is the frontrunner, but the race isn't over yet.

I know from conversations across the country that many voters still haven't made up their mind.

Some are drawn to Jeremy's promises of a new Jerusalem and endless spending, but worried that these endless promises, with no credibility, will only serve to lose us the next general election.

Others are certain that a Jeremy victory is really a win for Cameron and Osborne, but don't know who is the best alternative to vote for.

I am supporting Liz Kendall and will give her my first preference. But polling data is brutally clear: the big question is whether Andy Burnham or Yvette Cooper will face Jeremy in the final round of this election.

Andy can win. He can draw together support from across the party, motivated by his history of loyalty to the Labour movement, his passionate appeal for unity in fighting the Tories, and the findings of every poll of the general public in this campaign that he is best placed candidate to win the next general election.

Yvette, in contrast, would lose to Jeremy Corbyn and lose heavily. Evidence from data collected by all the campaigns – except (apparently) Yvette's own – shows this. All publicly available polling shows the same. If Andy drops out of the race, a large part of the broad coalition he attracts will vote for Jeremy. If Yvette is knocked out, her support firmly swings behind Andy.

We will all have our views about the different candidates, but the real choice for our country is between a Labour government and the ongoing rightwing agenda of the Tories.

I am in politics to make a real difference to the lives of my constituents. We are all in the Labour movement to get behind the beliefs that unite all in our party.

In the crucial choice we are making right now, I have no doubt that a vote for Jeremy would be the wrong choice – throwing away the next election, and with it hope for the next decade.

A vote for Yvette gets the same result – her defeat by Jeremy, and Jeremy's defeat to Cameron and Osborne.

In the crucial choice between Yvette and Andy, Andy will get my second preference so we can have the best hope of keeping the fight for our party alive, and the best hope for the future of our country too.

Tom Blenkinsop is the Labour MP for Middlesbrough South and East Cleveland