Volunteers hang campaign signs before a "Yes" campaign
meeting at the Fenwick Hotel in Kilmarnock, Scotland
earlier this year. Photo by Reuters
Scotland looks unlikely to vote for independence in
September, researchers say, citing poll data as showing the
separatists have been unable to build momentum behind their
campaign as decision day nears.
A study by the University of Stirling estimates a 79 percent
chance that the people of Scotland will reject the chance to
end a 307-year-old union with England, up from 70 percent in
Earlier in the year some polls had shown the pro-independence
Yes campaign closing the gap on the pro-union campaign's
However, a YouGov poll for the Times newspaper found that
backing for the anti-independence campaign had risen, with
the Yes campaign struggling to convince voters a split would
not hurt the Scottish economy.
Professor David Bell, who looked at betting trends among
bookmakers for the University of Stirling, said the chance of
a No vote on Sept. 18 probably remained between 70 and 80
percent throughout the first half of the year, even as polls
"So long as punters do not think there is much chance of a
sudden swing in voting intentions, their money will go
increasingly towards the leading campaign," he said.
The YouGov survey found that backing for the
anti-independence campaign had risen by a point to 54 percent
since a similar poll two weeks ago, with support for
nationalists dipping to 35 percent.
However, the campaign in favour of independence cited "three
other recent polls (that) have recorded a significant
increase in backing for Yes...
"Of course, the polls will fluctuate from time to time," a
spokesman for Yes Scotland said.
Both sides have stepped up campaigns to emphasise the
economic benefits or disadvantages of independence.
If Scotland votes in favour of independence, Edinburgh would
have to negotiate with London on issues ranging from security
to the status of the British pound in Scotland and division
of assets, including energy reserves.
Nationalists maintain that, in the case of a Yes vote, the UK
government would have to agree to some form of currency
union, although the UK government insists an agreement to
share the pound is not on the table.
Professor Bell said that between mid-March and mid-April, the
chances of Scotland voting for independence improved, in part
as a reaction against the UK government saying an independent
Scotland could not share the pound.
The major British parties have since changed tack, and are
campaigning more vocally for a No vote in favour of greater
devolution of powers within the United Kingdom.
On the issue of the economy, the YouGov poll suggested the No
campaign was winning the argument with 49 percent believing
Scotland would be worse off under independence, up 4 points
from three months ago.
Just 27 percent said that Scotland would be better off under
independence, a drop of three points since March.