Not mentioned in the TV broadcasts and absent from the website, the Deltapoll survey shows support for independence at between 50 and 52%, depending on the question. The 52% for Yes (49% for No when don’t knows are removed) headline being featured is, of course, compromised by the leading question which asks if respondents would vote Yes once the UK has left the EU. I’d imagine BBC Scotland are working on debunking the results using this reservation.
However, another question asked:
‘In a referendum on independence for Scotland held tomorrow, how would you vote?’
This more neutral question still drew an encouraging response:
Scotland to remain as part of the United Kingdom: 50.6%
Scotland to become an independent country: 49.4%
This is too close to call and is clearly the best result for Yes-supporters so far, though, given the Brexit context, it can’t be compared directly with earlier polls.
Is this the beginning of the expected shift toward support for Independence we’ve all been expecting to happen as the Tories stagger from one disaster to the next and as Labour show their inability to exploit them. I’m sure, like me, many have been thinking it should have happened long ago.
The timing of the fieldwork is not apparent so we cannot be sure of this, but it is now ten days since the beginning of the media feeding frenzy on Alex Salmond, so it is possible that it was done in that time period and so suggests that support for independence has not been damaged by it.
Update: What might the ‘don’t knows’ mean? See this from Prof Curtice in 2013:
The precise meaning and accuracy of each of these questions is perhaps open to question. But all in all the pattern of responses they obtain suggests that is not unrealistic for the Yes side to believe the Don’t Knows could eventually be persuaded to swing disproportionately their way.
At the same time those who have yet to make up their mind seem more favourably disposed to those who are advocating independence than they are to those are arguing the case for the Union. As many as 51% think that Alex Salmond has ‘been acting with the best interests of the people of Scotland at heart’, while only 18% feel he has not. At 41% and 15% respectively the equivalent figures for Nicola Sturgeon are also clearly positive. In contrast, David Cameron emerges with a negative balance of 5% to 60%, Alistair Darling with one of 16% to 33% and Johann Lamont, 7% to 28%.
The SNP’s top duo evidently have a credibility in the eyes of undecided voters that no unionist politician currently enjoys. That could well prove invaluable in the Yes side’s efforts to win them over.
Update 2: The full data: