Scotland will remain part of the UK after the independence referendum, pollster YouGov has predicted, as it forecast the No campaign would win the crucial vote. The polling firm predicted that 54% of people north of the border would vote No, and that 46% would back independence.
Such a result would give pro-UK campaigners a more comfortable victory than some recent polls had suggested. YouGov contacted 1,828 people after they had voted today, as well as 800 who had voted by post.
So that's that. Polls have closed. What an amazing, emotional, inspirational day of democracy this has been. Now we wait. #indyref— Nicola Sturgeon (@NicolaSturgeon) September 18, 2014
All those who took part in the research had previously been polled, allowing the company to see if there had been a last-minute swing to either side on the day. YouGov said its responses suggested there had been a small shift from Yes to No on polling day, and also that No supporters were slightly more likely to turn out to vote.
It released its findings just 30 minutes after polling in the independence referendum closed.
Scottish Conservative leader Ruth Davidson told the BBC she is quietly confident that the "silent majority" of Scots would give a victory to No. She said: "I think we have a confidence, a quiet confidence, that the quiet majority of Scots have spoken."
Ms Davidson said whatever the result, politics in Scotland would change, with the promise of more powers for Holyrood in the event of a No vote made by all three of the main parties.
"The status quo has been thoroughly smashed, whether it is a Yes vote or a No vote Scotland is going to change after this," she said. "The question is does it change within the United Kingdom or does it change out with the United Kingdom."
The Tory MSP said the two-and-a-half-year long referendum campaign had been an "almost wholly positive experience", adding: "We've had the biggest, broadest, most open conversation amongst the people of our country on any single issue and it's a conversation that I think we needed to have."
YouGov president Peter Kellner said he was 99% certain that Scotland would vote to remain in the UK. He told Sky News: ''At the obvious risk of looking like a complete prat in eight hours' time, I would say it is a 99% certainty of a No victory... I can't see no losing this now.''
Mr Kellner said today's research had suggested ''substantially more'' people switched from Yes to No than the other way around. He added: "'If we have got this wrong, if Yes win, we and by extension other pollsters, have got something badly wrong."
SNP MSP Humza Yousaf conceded the Yes campaign were the "underdogs" in the referendum. But the Scottish minister for external affairs and international relations told the BBC: "We relish that status as the underdogs."
After YouGov predicted the result would be a vote for Scotland to stay in the UK, Mr Yousaf said: "We've had one poll, but it's not an exit poll and it certainly won't take into account the high levels of turnout that we're seeing and hearing about across the country."