Scottish Independence: 44% unsure what to vote

Alex Salmond may get more support for independence from poorer areas. Picture: Getty Images
Alex Salmond may get more support for independence from poorer areas. Picture: Getty Images
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PRO-INDEPENDENCE campaigners must win over three-quarters of undecided voters if they are to claim victory in next year’s referendum.

New polling data shows around 44 per cent of people are uncertain whether or how they will vote in next year’s ballot.

The remaining 56 per cent are certain to vote, with 67 per cent wanting to stay in the Union and 33 per cent opting for independence. Analysis of the figures – which are based on Ipsos Mori’s last five polls from the beginning of 2012 onwards – means around seven out of ten of those who are uncertain need to vote yes in order for the pro-independence campaigners to win.

Mark Diffley, Ipsos Mori’s research director in Scotland, said: “As it looks now, the yes side would need to capture somewhere between two-thirds and three-quarters of that group in order to win next year.”

Analysis found that 25 per cent of people might not vote in the referendum, eight per cent will vote but are still undecided, and 11 per cent will vote and may change their vote.

The figures suggest a turnout for the referendum of around 75 per cent.

Mr Diffley said the yes vote was “less solid” than the no vote, with “proportionally more yes voters saying ‘I might change my mind’ than no voters”. He also identified a correlation between support for independence and those living in deprived areas.

“Support for independence is mainly higher, at 50 per cent or more, in neighbourhoods across the Central Belt, some up in Aberdeen and in other pockets of the country,” Mr Diffley said.

“What we find is that areas that suffer from deprivation tend to be areas where you are likely to find support for independence to be at its highest.

“There are deprived neighbourhoods where there is relatively strong support for independence, but where there are a lot of people who are unsure of whether they are actually going to turn out and vote.”

He added: “The likelihood is that these people are less frightened of taking a risk, they are more prepared for significant change – maybe they don’t have a job, they don’t have a mortgage, they don’t have lots of savings.

“So, our conclusion from that might be that perhaps the offering [from the yes campaign] could be more radical, because you could pick up more people in those areas.”

Meanwhile, a study has claimed devolution has failed to improve Scotland’s education system substantially.

Academics at the London School of Economics said that while the Scottish system remains on a par with those 
elsewhere in the UK, it has not progressed at the same rate as the English system since 1999.

The report, which compared exam results and international test scores, said the rate of change north of the Border had been “very stable”, while increasing in England.