POLITICS

Scottish Referendum Poll Shows Narrow Lead For 'No' Campaign

17/09/2014 19:16 BST | Updated 17/09/2014 19:59 BST

The No campaign continues to have a slender lead over Yes ahead of tomorrow's Scottish independence referendum, the latest opinion poll has suggested. A Panelbase survey found 52% of Scots are to vote for the union, with 48% favouring independence, when undecided voters are excluded.

The result is exactly the same as three separate polls which were published last night. The Panelbase survey, which came out less that 24 hours before voting gets under way in the referendum, continues to suggest the campaign over the future of the UK could go down to the wire.

Exactly half (50%) of the 1,004 people who were questioned said they would be voting No to independence, with 45% voting Yes. Just one in 20 (5%) of voters have still to make up their mind, according to the research. Men continue to be more likely to support Scotland leaving the UK, with 54% of all males who were questioned said to be Yes voters, ahead of 44% who are voting No and 3% who are undecided.

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Just under two-fifths (39%) of women questioned said they would be voting Yes tomorrow, with 54% backing No and 7% still undecided.

Yes Scotland chief executive Blair Jenkins said: "This poll - like all the recent polls - show that we are in touching distance of success. The referendum is on a knife-edge, and this will spur on everybody who wants and is working hard for a Yes to redouble their efforts.

"People know that a Yes vote is Scotland's one opportunity to achieve job-creating powers, protect our NHS from the damaging impact of Westminster cuts and privatisation, and ensure that never again do we get Tory governments imposed on Scotland that we have roundly rejected.

"The empty offer of a very few more powers from the No campaign has unravelled within 24 hours, in the face of a Tory revolt at Westminster. Only a Yes vote can secure all the powers that Scotland needs to create more jobs and secure our NHS for the future."

Mr Jenkins said the campaign was "working flat-out to ensure that we achieve a Yes vote, because it's the biggest opportunity we will ever have to build a fairer society and more prosperous economy". He added: "This referendum is unlike any that has been held before because of an expected record turnout - which we believe will favour the Yes vote."

Another survey, by Ipsos-Mori for the broadcaster STV, suggests the gap could be even closer. It found 51% of people are voting No, with 49% backing Yes, when undecided voters are excluded. When those who are yet to make up their mind are factored in, the No campaign is on 49%, Yes on 47% and 5% said they do not know how they will cast their ballot.

Mr Jenkins said the Ipsos-MORI poll showed a seven-point rise in support for independence within the last month, adding that support for the union had fallen by the same amount over the period. The Yes Scotland chief executive said: "This is hugely encouraging, and demonstrates that Yes has the momentum as we go into referendum day - with a seven-point surge since last month.

"This poll - like all the recent polls - show that we are in touching distance of success. The referendum is on a knife edge, and this will spur on everybody who wants and is working hard for a Yes to redouble their efforts."

Mark Diffley, director at Ipsos MORI Scotland, said: "With hours to go now until the polls open, it is clear that the result of the independence referendum is extremely close. Yes have made significant gains in recent week, to such an extent that the outcome is finely balanced. Both campaigns now will be entirely focused on persuading undecided voters and on ensuring that their supporters turn out to vote tomorrow."