YouGov have a new Scottish poll out tonight, done jointly for the Sun and the Times and YouGov’s first since the second debate between Alex Salmond and Alistair Darling. YouGov’s previous poll showed a significant four point shift towards YES, narrowing the NO lead from 22 points to 14. Today’s poll doesn’t just confirm that, it goes further – topline figures are now YES 42%(+4), NO 48%(-3), Don’t know or won’t vote 10%(-1). Excluding don’t knows this is YES 47%(+4), NO 53%(-4).

This means that over a month YouGov have shown the referendum race coming right in from a pretty consistent NO lead of around twenty points right down to just six points. The sharp narrowing of the gap echoes the Survation poll after the second debate which had looked as if it was just a reversion to the mean. This suggests something more is afoot.

As ever, we should be careful of reading too much into a single poll – it’s the wider trend that counts – but it looks like this may go right down to the wire (and considering that YouGov tend to show some of the less favourable results to YES, does make one wonder what the next poll from a company like Panelbase might show).

UPDATE: Also out tonight is the monthly ComRes/Indy telephone poll which has topline figures of CON 28%(+1), LAB 35%(+2), LDEM 9%(+1), UKIP 17%(nc) and the daily YouGov/Sun poll which has topline figures of CON 34%, LAB 35%, LD 7%, UKIP 14%

209 Responses to “YouGov Scottish poll shows NO lead dropping to six points”

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  1. @Allan Christie

    You only waited 5 minutes to answer – hardly a long delay!

    Actually I want to ask people in favour of Yes. Because if Yes wins then it will be the decision of the Scottish Government about running any further referenda, rather than the UK government. So far the assumption (from Yes) seems to be that if not now, then at some point in the future… that there would inevitably be a second/third/fourth opportunity. You make this suggestion in your post (that there could be a 2020 referendum).

    Fair enough. But would Yes supporters be content with the opposite – that in the event of a narrow Yes vote there could be a referendum to reunite? Would you accept current No voters, or their successors, campaigning for that after independence?

  2. Million £ bet?
    If as is likely the punter is a professional gambler he will still be content and may add to his stake as he did when odds narrowed recently. If you read Nat Silver’s book he explains how professionals aren’t betting on the obvious. There is no money in that. We are genetically disposed to over-read signs. The probability of a NO win is still very high. A professor has written in today’s press that a couple of weeks ago the stats suggested that the odds of a YES were about the same as Linlithgow Rose beating Celtic; now they are about the same as for Ross County beating Celtic, conceivable but unlikely.

  3. @Roger Mexico

    A noisy part of the Left (RS21) seems to be advocating Scottish Independence.

    But I think you’re misreading the concept behind Better Together. If the vote goes in favour of Yes then their will be two separate nations with competing agendas – very directly in the negotiations for separation. This is what happens (so they will argue) if we aren’t together.

    I don’t expect either iScotland or the UK agreeing a separation that optimises for both countries together at significant cost to either individually. For example (to avoid currency) a harmonised pension provision would make sense, but not if it left a burden on the UK. A shared defence agreement would make sense, but not if Scotland has to pay for decommissioning Trident/Faslane.

  4. @Alec

    “That you are a very small country with a relatively very small economy, negotiating with a country nine times bigger than you and which is one of the world’s most powerful economies, and which inherits the national rights and privileges that you seek to leave behind, should tell you something about the balance of negotiations.”

    Size means nothing in this Alec. If Scotland has something that rUK wants, rUK should compromise. So far I have seen Alex Salmond offer his share of the debt, in return for a share of the assets. Quid pro quo.

    The oil is not a sharable commodity, unless some of the sights of London are too. Geographical sites tend to be just that.

  5. David Welch

    I agree though, on the geographically narrow influence and reporting of the Aberdeen papers.

    When the battle about Donald Trump`s golf course at Menie was raging, and the P&J paper was strongly taking Trump`s side, they suddenly decided to stop publishing any material coming from Tripping up Trump, on the grounds that their campaign was not being run by Aberdeen locals.

    Tripping up Trump was based in Banchory in Kincardineshire, 18 miles from Aberdeen.

    Nothing to do with the job of the Editor’s girlfriend then?:

    just good old fashioned parochialism.

  6. Murdoch et al?
    It is no surprise at all that the Sun might back YES. As I have said before, only Salmond amongst national leaders has backed Murdoch totally. Potentially much more surprising is the possibility of support from the tradionally arch-Conservative DC Thomson group. D Welch has drawn attention accurately to the posture in Aberdeeen but I was amazed to see that the Dundee Courier had also said following the Aberdeen Evening Express that in the last debate Darling had conceded there would be a CU.
    Perhaps both NI and DCT will accept the argument put forward by the only very significant businessmen backing YEs, B Souter and J McColl, that the big state plans will fail and the outcome will be an ultra-liberal, low tax, low-wage economy

  7. Where’s the latest poll?

  8. Clacton by-election to be held on October 9th (Cameron’s birthday, feel a bit sorry for him). Ashcroft must be having some dental trouble because his Clacton poll is due at 2:30.

  9. Fromm BC website:
    “Clacton by-election to be held on 9 October, Conservative Party says”

  10. BBC !

  11. @ Roger M

    I think you misunderstand or misrepresent what I’m saying. Divorce tends to bring out the hidden psychopath in both parties – and the vitriol I’ve seen thus far seems to have come more from the Yes camp – but that’s not my point.

    As others have said, in the event of a Yes the priorities of rUK negotiators will be – and rightly should be – focussed on the interests of their own electors, having no regard to Scottish electors who will then be foreigners.

    I’m personally a great believer in the benefits of cooperation and if the discussions stay rational (which I believe they will, whatever the rhetoric) many matters can be determined in a mutually satisfactory way. But neither the Scottish or rUK electorate would be happy with a negotiating position which did less than clearly assert national interests.

    In fact I suspect opinion would be very quick to pick up on anything where there was a remote suspicion that the pols were not defending their respective nation’s interests [cf EU matters]

  12. Alec, Coupar

    In fairness to Coupar, while all politicians in that situation would recognise that negotiation is not necessarily a zero-sum game, the public on both sides are a bloody-minded lot.

    Regardless of whether the outcome is Yes or No, if interactions between Scotland and Westminster are incorrectly perceived on both sides of the border as becoming a battle of wills between England and Scotland, I can’t imagine either “side” tolerating anything less than a “decisive victory” for their “side”. Under those circumstances, Labour would be in the mother of all catch-22’s, and I can’t see the other likely parties of government (Conservative and SNP) having any political option but to talk tough even if what would be most popular with their resective electorates would constitute cutting of one’s nose to spite one’s face.

  13. I shall be practising my nautical/jock joke for the next couple of weeks – just in case.

    “JOCKS AWAY !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!”

    [“and dinnae come back ya bass”]

    Not that we’ll really get rid of them that quickly and, in fairness to the majority who don’t wish to leave, that is a GUID THANG.

  14. Here’s a headscratcher.

    Surely a Yes vote would be treated as sacrosanct by all parties – the only possible way to override it would be a confirmation referendum, and the only way that could realistically happen would be if a party other than the SNP got into Holyrood.

    So what happens if there is a political consensus that the vote must be respected, but the outcome of negotiations cannot get through the Commons?

  15. @Statgeek – “Size means nothing in this Alec. If Scotland has something that rUK wants, rUK should compromise. So far I have seen Alex Salmond offer his share of the debt, in return for a share of the assets. Quid pro quo.”

    I understand this and agree entirely with what you’ve said. As otters have pointed out many times before though, while gold and foreign currency reserves are assets, the currency system isn’t – it’s a mutual trading mechanism, not a divisible asset. Linking reneging on debt to currency union is a falsehood.

    Why I talk about size is really down to democracy. Each country will need to decide what is in it’s best interests, and all the signs are that the UK will decide it doesn’t want CU. Therefore CU won’t happen.

    What I will say, is that this opposition to CU is not necessarily logical, in the same sense that support for Yes isn’t. In both cases, people don’t know exactly what it is they are supporting or opposing, so how can they oppose or defend?

    In the case of CU, I felt it was wrong for Westminster to reject it. Instead, they should have published a list of requirements they would have to see in order to agree to it. This would mean significant parts of the White Paper would be impossible, and paint the content of the White Paper as internally inconsistent.

    This is where the debate gets dragged into the political gamesmanship, which is the kind of thing I find completely pointless. London didn’t want to pre negotiate. But they have, by rejecting CU. Why not do it properly?

    No could have presented a much more positive case, that CU was beneficial to both sides, difficult, given the aspirations within the White Paper, but theoretically possible. To have a stable system Scotland would need to accept effective fiscal control from London, with an appropriate influence over key decisions – pro rata perhaps 8.4% of the votes? Tax rates would be agreed with London, borrowing and deficits effectively defined by London, and the total spending envelope effectively defined by London.

    Yes, iScotland should have a theoretical influence on these factors within the UK – of about 8.4% of the total decision making influence, as that’s democracy. Once you get this nailed, we’re really talking about devo max, or possibly devo max max.

    This would have completely scotched any idea of a debt boycott, removed the rhetoric of an obstructive Westminster, and enlightened the benighted Scots voters as to what a CU will actually mean in practical terms.

    I hope people don’t read this as me supporting the total annihilation of an independent Scotland. I’m aware sometimes my posts are being misconstrued.

  16. Tests

  17. @Statgeek – got a response to you post in mod for some reason. But basically I agree with you – it’s not about size per se.

  18. Oops – missed the last bit. Where size is important is that because of the relative size and the economic dynamics, iScotland needs the UK far, far more than the UK would need iScotland. Both would lose in an acrimonious split, but iScotland would lose far more.

  19. Roger Mexico @ 10.18 am

    The Trump saga should serve as a warning to everyone in Scotland on how ruthless big businesses would still dominate us after independence.

    Such companies have two main strands to their approach: 1) cosy up to the political leaders and 2) get control or influence of the local media.

    Donald Trump went wooing for Alex Salmond, they met and discussed the proposed development, and it seems there were nods and winks on how planning could be sidelined. He also got control of the two local papers, probably by payment (though not proved) and made sure by employing the editor`s fiancee.

    Too late, Alex Salmond realised that Trump also wanted to decide local issues from New York, and there was a falling-out.

    The resultant stand-off is doing harm to both the golf development and the SNP, with DT regularly slagging off AS. We will have similar battles if independence comes, a small government being no match for big companies such as Trump International.

  20. @Alec


    I agree and this is one of the best posts I’ve read on here for quite some time, certainly by the standards of this thread!


  21. ChrisHornet – “So what happens if there is a political consensus that the vote must be respected, but the outcome of negotiations cannot get through the Commons?”

    Regardless of who is elected in the 2015 general election, the majority of seats in the Commons will be English ones, and there’ll be considerable cross-party support amongst English MPs for the best deal for England.

    So “a deal” will be passed by Parliament – the English numbers are there to force it through.

    The negotiation on currency union will go as follows:

    A flat no to currency union.

    The option for the Scots is then a) accept this with good grace and split the debt or b) state they’ll default

    If they chose b), the UK will say Fine. Default hurts the Scots more than the UK. The national debt has doubled in the last parliament, so what’s the problem accepting another 8% for the UK? Especially as we control our own currency. But having a default tag slapped on Scotland would mean they would be borrowing from the markets on payday loan terms, which would result in cuts.

    Most Scottish politicians realize this.

    So they’ll opt for a).

    The deal will be done, it will be passed by Parliament and Scotland will be independent without currency union but with a share of the debt.

    As for the question of “how would Labour react” – I predict English Labour would be even more hardline than the Tories. They have to be just to survive the new world, especially with an electorate watching closely for any hint of half-heartedness. It’s a choice of take a hard line or face oblivion at the next election. If you think they’ll chose oblivion just to oblige former colleagues over the border, think again.

    So possibly a Labour civil war to deal with too. The Labour party would be best off splitting formally in May 2015 so each side can negotiate for their electors without conflict.

  22. @david Welch – I was quite interested to see the Grauniad’s publication of the letter from AS to the boss of EDF, which promised support for the life extension of the EDF nuclear power plants.

    While I guess the SNP could debate the precise wordings regarding timing of the various promises made to the electorate of a nuclear free iScotland, it’s extremely difficult to reconcile the promises given to the voters against the promises given in private to big business.

    This isn’t really news – London politicians are slimey, but so are the Edinburgh variant I guess. However, I have posted on here several times before about the anomalies within the proposed energy policy. iScotland cannot be nuclear free and environmentally friendly, and continue to have a significant power export capacity. Once nuclear and dirty coal plants are removed from the mix, iScotland is dependent on the UK for power imports. This is why AS is facing in two directions on this, as he is aware that the White Paper is undeliverable.

    I don’t think any of us really believe politicians, so this isn’t a problem. However, I feel for my many friends who want to vote Yes for very noble and laudable reasons. They fear rule from Westminster, which I can understand, but their assumptions about how things could improve under independence may well lead to bitter disappointment in many key areas.

  23. @Guymonde

    The ill feeling to a secessionist Scottish government amongst the UK public would probably be matched in spades by ill feeling by the politicians, with personal animosity between politicians adding to the mix. I don’t think public opinion would be needed to egg the UK government on to take a very strong response to any attempt by a Scottish government to play silly buggers with the UK.

  24. @Candy – “The negotiation on currency union will go as follows:
    A flat no to currency union.”

    Anyone who says they know how anything will go is just guessing, if we are honest.

    My automodded post of 11.18am explains what I think of this in some detail, so I’m not going to repeat that here, suffice to say that I suspect a CU will be offered (it would be daft not to be, as it is in UK’s best interests) but that it would be a proper CU, or at least a CU with sufficient systemic safeguards.

    The key question becomes whether iScotland could accept these terms, and whether the restrictions it requires would be sufficiently tolerable.

  25. ChrisHornet

    So what happens if there is a political consensus that the vote must be respected, but the outcome of negotiations cannot get through the Commons?

    As negotiation would have been carried out by the government it would be a matter of confidence. So there would possibly be second vote with confidence attached and then two weeks to try to form an alternative government. If one was formed (Her Maj is going to have a fun time and we’ll be digging up all sorts of obscure 18th century politicians on here), then they might renegotiate or the Scots might refuse to.

    If there’s deadlock there would have to be a new Westminster election and then renegotiation.

    YouGov tables are here by the way:

  26. crossbat11



    I agree and this is one of the best posts I’ve read on here for quite some time, certainly by the standards of this thread!


    Surely there was an ‘e’ missing?

  27. @Candy

    It goes well beyond that. The UK response to a Scottish default on its share of the UK debt would be the same as the response of your building society if you chose to default to your mortgage. And when your home is repossessed in order that your building society may protect its assets, you tend not to get a good deal to say the least. So in addition to having a default tag slapped on it, Scotland would have lost prime assets that it might otherwise have reasonably expected to keep on secession.

    I agree with you. They’ll opt for a) as they well know that they’ll have to.

  28. Point of order:

    Somebody mentioned a Yes shop being firebombed.

    It isn’t a Yes shop – It’s the storage unit for an Asian supermarket

  29. Alec
    “As otters have pointed out many times before though, while gold and foreign currency reserves are assets, the currency system isn’t…..”

    Clever little buggers, they were endangered but are now clearly taking over.

  30. @Roger Mexico – “Surely there was an ‘e’ missing?”

    Reminds me of the classic Yorkshire joke.

    Following the burial of Old Mary, the vicar notice a spelling mistake on the head stone, which read;
    “Bless her Lord, she was thin”

    The vicar sent for the stonemason, and explained that he had missed off the ‘e’.

    The next day, the headstone read;

    “Bless her Lord, e’ she was thin”

  31. Otters, badgers – they’ll all in it together.

  32. Alec @ 11.44 am

    As usual, you sum things up nicely.

    And the Alex Salmond letter, about allowing Hunterston and Torness to run on, is more than “quite” interesting.

    On this I reckon AS is being realistic, but YES voters should realise that Edinburgh SNP Government spin is at least as unreliable as Westminster Tory Government spin.

  33. Firstly, I still predict a 60/40 win for No as countless referenda have demonstrated that a cool head prevails once you are standing in the booth with pen in hand.

    Secondly, *if* there was a ‘Yes’, the CU-free rUK will certainly be in a prime position to push and pull the Scottish economy, which will overnight become a commercial competitor.

    With many of the banks, scientists, submarine maintainers and shipbuilders already likely to move south, Whitehall would be minded to attract the remaining major industries through monetary manipulation.

  34. Steve2

    All but a week ago the claim was that the side who was behind in most referndums gained momentum and then won. I didn’t think people had thought through the claims of ‘trends’ very well then either.

  35. A move, after a Yes vote, to reunite would also require the rUK to vote, and on terms that would hopefully be made clear in advance of any such referendum.

  36. @Steve2 – “With many of the banks, scientists, submarine maintainers and shipbuilders already likely to move south,…”

    There was a really quit disturbing report in the Grauniad earlier this week regarding top Scottish universities saying that they’re key staff were being approached by English universities and that new high ranking recruits were delaying signing contracts until after the vote.

    The top research units all seem pretty clear in that they expect to see major loss of research funding. The UK research councils spend around 13% of their budgets in Scotland, well ahead of the pro rata rate, and in reflection of the strength of the Scottish research centres. But this strength has been effectively built up (in part at least) by the UK research income.

    The White Paper insists that this arrangement can continue, but universities disagree. There would be no logical reason why the UK should direct it’s research budgets overseas unless it had no other choice. In the context of independence, the better option is to develop UK based centres of excellence, and this will happen in part by the poaching of key research leaders from Scotland. This is already happening.

  37. “The oil is not a sharable commodity, unless some of the sights of London are too. Geographical sites tend to be just that.”

    Then (repeating my point that while I would ideally like a clear No, I would prefer a Yes to the likely alternative of a narrow No) logically the Old Lady of Threadneedle Street is an English geographic commodity?

    “Firstly, I still predict a 60/40 win for No as countless referenda have demonstrated that a cool head prevails once you are standing in the booth with pen in hand.”

    Polling aside for one moment (because we have been fastidious in discussing polling and polling only up until this point…) and without wishing to trivialise cases in which people’s incomings simply cannot account for their necessary expenditure, that has long been my view of the cause of the majority of non-sovereign debt problems: the demise of the chequebook in favour of card use (both physical and online), and the increasing convenience with which people can spend.

  38. On what to do in the event of a close result: a relatively soon (i.e. less than 20 years) second referendum makes sense if there’s a Naw.

    For a close Aye, it’s more difficult, but one possibility would be a second referendum in 2016 evaluating the final settlement. If the result of that second referendum is Naw, then there’s no independence.

  39. Interestingly, Jim Murphy is back on the stump again, this time addressing a big (and organised, it seems) No crowd in Edinburgh. Multiple reports of no noisy or aggressive heckling.

    JM said – “who ever turned on that noisy tap of aggressive behaviour has quietly turned it off again. I congratulate them.”

    It will never be known for certain, but it does look suspiciously like there was an organising hand behind the counter demonstrations, and the negative coverage this received has led to a high level decision to bury the tactic.

    So far, I would say this is one up to Jim.

  40. By definition, recent converts now expressing a Yes intention can’t be confirmed nationalists; they may yet hesitate before taking the leap on Thursday fortnight.

    Better Together will also be hoping that a tightening in the polls will remind majority opinion that a No verdict is not a forgone conclusion unless they actually turn out to vote.

  41. Watched the BBC tv debate this morning.

    I was struck by the number of YES voters who saw Independence as an alternative to “Austerity/Food Banks ” etc.etc There was a definite strand of speakers espousing Redistribution of Wealth/ a “fairer society”/Not privatising the NHS” etc etc ; and giving this as their reason to vote YES.

    This was like discussing opposing policies prior to a GE-not discussing the pros & cons of Independence.

    Don’t these people believe a Westminster Labour Government would provide the sort of society they want?

    In any event ,if they win, I hope they aren’t disappointed if the Tooth Fairy doesn’t provide the land of State Milk & Honey they seem to be voting for.

  42. @ Alec

    “top Scottish universities saying that they’re key staff ”

    Well it’s been an hour and the grandma police seem to be sleeping so I better cover for them!

    And Ashcroft in- not as big lead as Survation but UKIP on 56% seems to make everything a done deal if it wasn’t already.

  43. Full Clacton figures:

    UKIP 56%
    Con 24%
    Lab 16%
    LD 2%
    Others 2%

  44. @COLIN

    Labour in power led to SNP in power; the answer is in front of you. People are disillusioned with Labour and the Tories.

    Anyway its not much different from a general election except you are chosing Holyrood or Westminster.

  45. FRASER

    @”Anyway its not much different from a general election”

    Oh-then I have completely misunderstood it.

    Still–so long as the punters know what they are voting for-just glad the whole thing will be over soon-though I suppose the post-mortem on UKPR will go on ad infinitum.

  46. Colin

    They won’t, but IF they should then there’s a part of me that hopes they are.

    Should add that I have always maintained that such an enormously important vote should have a clear majority in favour, not just a simple majority of those who vote.

    Perhaps stipulating that the vote for change should require 50% plus of those ELIGIBLE to vote actually saying “yes”.

    At least one could then be clear that most were in favour. As it is, assuming 75% turnout [no idea of the expected figure] then this change could be put through with less than 40% genuinely wanting it.

    Its too important for that to be the situation.

    Still absolutely confident that the Nos will win, despite the victory speeches being rehearsed last night.

  47. “Anyway its not much different from a general election except you are chosing Holyrood or Westminster.”

    It’s good to see that those Scots who have not been disenfranchised by the location of their house are making a well-informed decision…

    The difference between this referendum and voting for an SNP government (or for a broader UK equivalent, giving an untried and untested third party such as the LDs last time or UKIP this time the balance of power at Westminster), is that it does not seem at all likely that the voters will get an opportunity to change their minds in a few years time.

    A narrow No *might* keep the question alive, but even in that instance referendum two could be a generation away.

  48. @Shevii – apologies. Absolute shocker.

  49. alec

    “Jim Murphy on the stump”

    Blimey !! I didn’t know he was that badly injured.

  50. @Old Nat (12.45)

    “I’m always fascinated by the use of language in political debate. I noted your “we should just let the Scots go”.

    An analysis of the concepts underlying that phraseology would be fascinating.”

    Old Nat, I don’t claim to have your perceived level of intellect so perhaps my use of language is not particularly precise.

    Suffice to say that “we” = rUK; “should just let the Scots go” = in broad terms, let the Scots get lost. Treat them as any other foreign country, no better, no worse.

    Now I accept that we would have to work with you but as others on here have said, your level of influence would be minimal cf. rUK. For example, most people in the UK know the names of the German & French leaders. How many could name the Belgium or Portugese leaders.

    For what it’s worth, 12 months ago I would never have uttered comments against Scotland. However, as I have previously stated on here, the actions/statements of Salmond and other SNP leaders and some on this site, during the past 12 months give the perception (intended or otherwise) that the English (I have deliberatedly excluded Welsh and NI) are [email protected]@rds. On that basis, I would wish to be no closer to the Scots than say the French or Germans.

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