Just five points separate Scotland’s two futures according to the most recent poll.
46% of Scots are in favour of Scotland remaining in the UK, whilst 41% are in favour of having Scotland become an independent state. 13% are ‘don’t knows’. This is according to the latest Survation poll, released on the 11th July.
When excluding ‘don’t knows’ the figures become 53% against independence and 47% for it. Such figures are the first, from Survation, to show the Yes campaign with such high levels of support, which shows that Scotland's future still hangs in the balance.
The previous Survation poll, in June, showed 39% in favour of independence and 44% against, with ‘don’t knows’ at 17%. This means that both sides have gained two points since last time, meaning that since then ‘don’t knows’ have lost four. This arguably shows that people are still making up their minds.
However, to get a better analysis of the change in public opinion the long term figures must be examined. Survation’s first poll of 2014, in February, put the ‘no’ vote at 52% and the ‘yes’ vote at 32% - a gap of 20%. Since then the gap has narrowed significantly, with ‘yes’ voters arguably coming from both ‘no’ voters and ‘don’t knows’ as both have fallen.
A gap falling from 20% to 4% is impossible to ignore, however, it is clear that both sides still have a long way to go, and with the campaigns entering their final months all effort and evidence will be thrown into the debate from all sides.
What has each side got to do? John Curtice, Professor at Strathclyde University and electoral behaviour expert, recently gave a simple argument of what each side has to do: the ‘Better Together’ campaign must reduce its negativity as it is putting off voters; meanwhile the ‘Yes’ campaign has to be less positive and more realistic about an independent Scotland. The ideal campaign must have an optimum mix of the two.
Additionally, as neither side has over 50%, according to every Survation poll, other than its first, then work must be done to convince those in the middle to pick a side. It is clear that both sides have everything to play for.
However, it is important to note that this is just one set of polls. Looking at YouGov polls, they put the Better Together side constantly above the 50% mark, with a 19% lead in its poll on the 1st of July (54%-35%). Different polls use different methodologies, which can account for some of the various. But if Survation’s latest poll is true then support for an independent Scotland is at an all time high.