POLITICS

Scottish Independence Poll Gives 'Yes' Campaign 8 Point Lead, But Other Polls Show 'No' Ahead

13/09/2014 21:50 | Updated 15 September 2014
Andrew Milligan/PA Wire

The future of the United Kingdom hangs in the balance, as a series of polls released over the weekend indicate the result of the Scottish referendum remains too close to call.

With under a week to go until the vote, three surveys showed the No campaign clinging to a slender lead. However an ICM poll for The Sunday Telegraph has the Yes campaign 8% ahead.

Reacting to news of the ICM poll, Blair Jenkins, the chief executive of Yes Scotland, said it showed "everything to play for" before September 18. "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," he said.

The poll is the second ever to put the Yes campaign in the lead. The first, by YouGov in last week's Sunday Times, spread panic through Westminster and convinced David Cameron, Ed Miliband and Nick Clegg to abandon London to begin a flurry of campaigning in Scotland.

However polling guru professor John Curtice, issued a note of caution for the nationalists. He said given the unusually small sample size, the result should come with a "substantial health warning".

The polls:

In a sign of the campaign battle to come in the week ahead, the precise numbers of the Panelbase poll put the No campaign on 50.6% and the Yes campaign on 49.4% - a dead heat.

Yes And No Campaigns Take To The Streets Of Scotland

Alex Salmond today stood by fellow nationalist Jim Sillars after the former SNP deputy leader warned there would be "a day of reckoning with BP and the banks" after independence. He described Sillars, who has been a vocal critic of his leadership, as "a great campaigner" who has been "fighting a fine campaign".

However, Salmond dismissed Sillar's rhetoric, insisting September 19 will be "a day of celebration for the people, not reckoning for big companies drawn into the No campaign by Downing Street". Salmond's words did not go far enough for Scottish Secretary Alistair Carmichael, who insisted the SNP leader must "disown Jim Sillars completely".

In other campaign developments on Saturday, Rupert Murdoch arrived in Scotland and spent the day touring the country including Glasdow, Fife and Aberdeen. The media mogul's visit triggered speculation he might be preparing to throw the support of the Scottish Sun newspaper behind Salmond and the Yes campaign.

Murdoch later tweeted: "Tried 24 hours incognito Scottish visit (failed!). No politicians, just street and pub talks. Glasgow, Aberdeen, Rosehearty. Great people."

Salmond said he had not met with Murdoch. Asked whether he had any plans to do so, he added: "No, Mr Murdoch is quite entitled to be in Scotland, I've been campaigning today and I'm sure he's having a great time here in Scotland with the weather like the rest of us."

Former Labour prime minister Tony Blair also waded into the referendum debate, advising against independence. "For all the reasons given by all the party leaders of the UK, in the 21st Century to rip up the alliance between our countries would not be sensible, politically, economically or even emotionally," he said, speaking at a security conference in the Ukrainian capital of Kiev.

But in perhaps a more important intervention, groundskeeper Willie, the redheaded caretaker at the school attended by Bart and Lisa in long-running animated sitcom The Simpsons, has come out in favour of independence.

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