Poll: Games Not Influenced Indy Vote

3 August 2014, 08:12

The Commonwealth Games has not affected how the majority of Scots are likely to vote in the independence referendum, according to a new poll.

Only 12% of those surveyed said Glasgow 2014 had made them more inclined to vote Yes, but four-fifths of that number said they were planning to vote for Scottish independence in the first place.

The Survation survey found more than 80% said the Games have made no difference to how they would vote and 7% said it would make them more inclined to vote No.

Of those who are undecided about next month's vote, 14% said Scotland's organisation of and performance in the Games made them more likely to vote Yes, 4% said No and 82% said it would have no effect.

The poll of 1,000 adults in Scotland for the Mail on Sunday, conducted between July 30 and Aug 1, also asked voters to consider the question on the ballot paper: Should Scotland be an independent country?

It found 40% would vote Yes and 46% would vote No and 14% were undecided. When undecided voters are removed, the survey put support for staying in the UK at 53%, with 47% backing independence.

The same survey also asked voters their opinion on this week's head-to-head televised debate between First Minister Alex Salmond and leader of the pro-union Better Together campaign Alistair Darling.

Mr Salmond was backed by 37% of voters to come out on top, with one in ten predicting Mr Darling would triumph.

They will face each other in the showdown in front of an audience of 350 members at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland in Glasgow on Tuesday.

Mr Salmond has repeatedly insisted he should debate with David Cameron over Scotland's future in the UK ahead of the referendum, although the Prime Minister has consistently refused to do so.

The survey also asked voters if they agreed it was sensible for the Prime Minister to leave the job of debating Mr Salmond to a Scot, with 36% saying yes. But 47% agreed with a question asking if Mr Cameron was a "coward'' for refusing the opportunity.

Meanwhile, a separate Opinium/Observer poll found 20% of voters across Great Britain think the Commonwealth Games will give the Yes vote a boost.

It also found 54% think Scotland will vote to stay in the UK, with 27% expecting a Yes vote.

Blair McDougall, Better Together campaign director said: "The Commonwealth Games were great for Glasgow and we all enjoyed cheering on Team Scotland to success, but the Games had nothing to do with the referendum, which will be decided by the big issues like the economy.

"We are encouraged by this poll but far from complacent. We need everybody who believes that the brightest future for Scotland is to stay in the UK is to get involved and get our positive message across to swing voters.

"We can have the best of both worlds for Scotland - a strong Scottish Parliament, with more powers for Scotland guaranteed, backed up by the strength, security and stability of being part of the larger UK. Only separation puts that at risk.''

Blair Jenkins, Yes Scotland chief executive, said: "This is a very encouraging poll and confirms new research by Dr Arkadiusz Wisniowski of Southampton University for the Washington Post, which indicates that not only is the result 'too close to call', but that Yes can win.

"Remarkably, compared with the last Survation poll for the Mail on Sunday in January, this poll shows a nine point increase in support for Yes and a nine point decrease in backing for No.

"The most recent poll prior to this one - Panelbase for the Sunday Times and Heart FM last Sunday - recorded support for Yes at 46%. With just over six weeks to go to the vote, we have further confirmation that Yes is continuing to close the gap and now needs only a 3% swing to take the lead.

"As these polls and the Washington Post analysis show, Yes is within touching distance of success - and by winning the campaign we are confident we can achieve the small swing needed to secure a Yes majority at the referendum.

"Between now and the vote, we will be doubling our efforts to persuade undecided voters that with a Yes vote we will have all the powers we need to make Scotland's vast wealth, talent and resources work better for all in a more prosperous and fairer nation.''