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.

Photo: Getty
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Labour will win the London elections – they’ve just lost the spin war

The question is, does that matter? 

Cancel the champagne in Jeremy Corbyn’s office? A new YouGov poll for Queen Mary’s Mile End Institute shows Labour slipping back from the record-breaking heights of 53 per cent in the local elections in London… to the still record-breaking heights of 51 per cent.

There are two things to note first off: the first, of course, is that Labour would still be posting the best result of any party in the capital since 1971, and its best since these boroughs were founded. The second is that as the change is within the margin of error, it could all be noise.

My sense, from talking to the local parties throughout the capital is that there has been a slight fall in Labour support but it is not evenly spread. In Barnet, the party’s ongoing difficulties with antisemitism have turned what looked a certain victory into a knife-edge fight. In Wandsworth, stories in the Standard about the local Momentum group have successfully spooked some residents into fearing that a Labour victory in that borough would imperil the borough’s long history of ultra-low council tax, while the presence of a fairly well-organised campaign from new party Renew is splitting angry pro-Remain vote. But elsewhere, neither Labour nor Tory local activists are reporting any kind of fall.

However, it does show how comprehensively Labour have lost the spin war as far as what a “good” set of local election results would be next week: as I laid out in my analyses of what a good night for the major parties would be, Wandsworth and Westminster councils, both of which would stay blue if this poll is borne out, should not be seen as essential gains for Labour and should properly be seen as disastrous defeats for the Conservatives.

However, CCHQ have done a good job setting out a benchmark for what a good night looks like to the point where holding onto Bexley is probably going to be hailed as a success. Labour haven’t really entered the spin wars. As I noted on our podcast this week, that’s in part because, as one senior member of Team Corbyn noted, there is a belief that whatever you do in the run-up, the BBC will decide that there is merit in both sides’ presentation of how the night has gone, so why bother with the spin war beforehand? We may be about to find out whether that’s true. The bigger question for Labour is if the inability to shape the narrative in the face of a largely hostile press will be a problem come 2022. 

Stephen Bush is special correspondent at the New Statesman and the PSA's Journalist of the Year. His daily briefing, Morning Call, provides a quick and essential guide to domestic and global politics.