Older voters are backing the union. Photo: Getty.
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How will women, men, the young and old vote today?

Looking at age, gender, class and party affiliation explains why unionists are more confident today.

For more on Scotland explore our new elections site, May2015.com.

The final polls suggest a slender No victory tonight. But how will the different parts of the electorate vote? 

Different age groups

Looking at YouGov's numbers over their past three polls suggests we can be sure how three age groups are voting. 25-39 year olds have been consistently and strongly pro-independence, while the over 60s have collectively always been pro-union. 

More specific data from YouGov's final polls show that the bulk of that older support is from those older than 65. 60-64 year olds back independence as a group, but only by 7 points. 

It is also clear that 40-59 year olds are divided. YouGov's last two polls suggest the age group is split 50/50.

But the numbers are far less clear on the young voters that so much commentary has speculated on. Just under two weeks ago YouGov suggested they were as pro-independence as any group, by 20 per cent. That then swung to a 6 per cent pro-union lead in their next poll before YouGov suggested they were also split 50/50 in yesterday's final call.

Could these voters could swing today's result? They make up 15 per cent of YouGov's sample – the smallest share. 35 per cent of voters are the divide 40-59 year olds, while around a quarter of voters are the pro-independence 25-39 year olds and pro-union over 60s. 

Men and women

There is a clear gender divide. Men are, on average, pro-independence by 9 points, while women are pro-union by 12. As for their shares of the electorate, YouGov have women as 51.8 per cent of their sample. 

By social class

YouGov provide data on the class divide by just two groups – ABC1 and C2DE. Support for independence is down across both since they put Yes ahead, but they remain divided between "Yes" and "No".

By political allegiance

Much of the talk after YouGov's shock "Yes" poll (Sep 2-5 in the graphs) was the way Labour voters were moving towards independence. But they have now drifted back towards supporting the union. It is 2011 Lib Dem voters that have moved towards independence.

This is good news for unionists. Lib Dem voters are a small minority in Scotland – 5.5 per cent – compared to the 22.3 per cent who vote Labour. The powerful recent interventions by Gordon Brown may have helped stem any move by erstwhile supporters of his party towards separation.

These numbers show why unionists will await tonight's results with confidence. Question marks remain, over both the youngest voters and the 24 per cent of YouGov's sample made up by those who didn't vote in 2011 but are set to today. But the data suggests the UK will remain one country tonight.

Harry Lambert was the editor of May2015, the New Statesman's election website.

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Universal Credit takes £3,700 from single working parents - it's time to call a halt

The shadow work and pensions secretary on the latest analysis of a controversial benefit. 

Labour is calling for the roll out of Universal Credit (UC) to be halted as new data shows that while wages are failing to keep up with inflation, cuts to in-work social security support have meant most net incomes have flat-lined in real terms and in some cases worsened, with women and people from ethnic minority communities most likely to be worst affected.

Analysis I commissioned from the House of Commons Library shows that real wages are stagnating and in-work support is contracting for both private and public sector workers. 

Private sector workers like Kellie, a cleaner at Manchester airport, who is married and has a four year old daughter. She told me how by going back to work after the birth of her daughter resulted in her losing in-work tax credits, which made her day-to-day living costs even more difficult to handle. 

Her child tax credits fail to even cover food or pack lunches for her daughter and as a result she has to survive on a very tight weekly budget just to ensure her daughter can eat properly. 

This is the everyday reality for too many people in communities across the UK. People like Kellie who have to make difficult and stressful choices that are having lasting implications on the whole family. 

Eventually Kellie will be transferred onto UC. She told me how she is dreading the transition onto UC, as she is barely managing to get by on tax credits. The stories she hears about having to wait up to 10 weeks before you receive payment and the failure of payments to match tax credits are causing her real concern.

UC is meant to streamline social security support,  and bring together payments for several benefits including tax credits and housing benefit. But it has been plagued by problems in the areas it has been trialled, not least because of the fact claimants must wait six weeks before the first payment. An increased use of food banks has been observed, along with debt, rent arrears, and even homelessness.

The latest evidence came from Citizens Advice in July. The charity surveyed 800 people who sought help with universal credit in pilot areas, and found that 39 per cent were waiting more than six weeks to receive their first payment and 57 per cent were having to borrow money to get by during that time.

Our analysis confirms Universal Credit is just not fit for purpose. It looks at different types of households and income groups, all working full time. It shows single parents with dependent children are hit particularly hard, receiving up to £3,100 a year less than they received with tax credits - a massive hit on any family budget.

A single teacher with two children working full time, for example, who is a new claimant to UC will, in real terms, be around £3,700 a year worse off in 2018-19 compared to 2011-12.

Or take a single parent of two who is working in the NHS on full-time average earnings for the public sector, and is a new tax credit claimant. They will be more than £2,000 a year worse off in real-terms in 2018-19 compared to 2011-12. 

Equality analysis published in response to a Freedom of Information request also revealed that predicted cuts to Universal Credit work allowances introduced in 2016 would fall most heavily on women and ethnic minorities. And yet the government still went ahead with them.

It is shocking that most people on low and middle incomes are no better off than they were five years ago, and in some cases they are worse off. The government’s cuts to in-work support of both tax credits and Universal Credit are having a dramatic, long lasting effect on people’s lives, on top of stagnating wages and rising prices. 

It’s no wonder we are seeing record levels of in-work poverty. This now stands at a shocking 7.4 million people.

Our analyses make clear that the government’s abject failure on living standards will get dramatically worse if UC is rolled out in its current form.

This exactly why I am calling for the roll out to be stopped while urgent reform and redesign of UC is undertaken. In its current form UC is not fit for purpose. We need to ensure that work always pays and that hardworking families are properly supported. 

Labour will transform and redesign UC, ending six-week delays in payment, and creating a fair society for the many, not the few. 

Debbie Abrahams is shadow work and pensions secretary.