After a torturous week, the Scottish No side finally has something to cheer. A new poll by Survation for the Daily Record, the first since last weekend’s stunning YouGov poll putting Yes ahead for the first time, has the Unionists in the lead by 53 per cent to 47 per cent (excluding the 10 per cent who are undecided). Those figures are unchanged since the company’s last survey on 28 August.
Significantly, Gordon Brown’s dramatic intervention appears to have helped, with just 21 per cent of Labour voters now backing independence, compared to 30 per cent previously. Blair McDougall, the Better Together campaign director, has responded by saying: “This fight for Scotland’s future will go right down to the wire, but it’s one we will win.
“We don’t need to take on all these risks. There is a better way for Scotland. We can have more powers for Scotland over tax and welfare, and keep the strength, security and stability of being part of the larger UK. For the sake of future generations we should say No Thanks to separation next week.”
As his cautious reaction suggests, it’s important to remember this is just one poll and the race remains perilously close. But crucially, and to the Unionists’ huge relief, the momentum that the Yes side enjoyed has been halted tonight.
The nationalists, meanwhile, are highlighting the fact that their support, if the don’t knows are included, is at the highest level yet in a Survation poll (42 per cent). Here’s the statement issued by Yes Scotland chief executive Blair Jenkins:
“This puts Yes support at its highest yet in a Survation poll when those still undecided are included, and at 47 per cent excluding don’t knows – which confirms we are in touching distance of success next Thursday, and will galvanise all those who are wanting and working for a Yes to redouble their efforts.
“As we say in response to all the polls, we are working flat out to ensure that we achieve a Yes vote, because it’s the biggest opportunity the people of Scotland will ever have to build a fairer society and more prosperous economy.
“It is now abundantly clear that the No campaign parties are offering nothing new in terms of more powers, which fall far short of what Scotland needs. A Yes vote is Scotland’s one opportunity to achieve job-creating powers and protect our NHS from the damaging effects of Westminster privatisation and cuts.”
Expect the No side’s message to remain the same until 18 September: there is no room for complacency. But tonight, perhaps, there may be no need to panic either.