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Scottish referendum on knife-edge as new poll puts 1% between Yes and No camps

The pro-union side has just slightly inched ahead, after a dramatic surge in support for independence.

A Yes sign is displayed in a field with llamas grazing in Jedburgh.
A Yes sign is displayed in a field with llamas grazing in Jedburgh.
Image: AP Photo/Scott Heppell

A NEW OPINION poll has placed the Scottish independence referendum on a knife-edge, with just 1% separating the Yes and No sides.

A poll at the weekend showed a dramatic surge in support for the Yes side, which inched ahead of the No side for the first time.

Now a second poll, this time by TNS, reports that 39% of those surveyed are in favour of staying in the union, with 38% looking to split and 23% undecided.

The urge to break away from the United Kingdom and become an independent country is strongest (47%) amongst those aged 35 to 44, while just 25% of those aged over 65 want to leave.

Tom Costley, Head of TNS Scotland, has said that the poll “reveals a remarkable shift in voting intentions”.

“But the signs were evident in our last couple of polls which indicated a narrowing of the No lead, especially amongst those who told us that they were certain to vote.”

It is too close to call and both sides will now be energised to make the most of the last few days of the campaign and try and persuade the undecided voters of the merits of their respective campaigns.

Senior politicians from the opposition Labour party have hit the campaign trail amid signs that growing support among their voters for independence is driving the narrowing of the polls.

In a speech urging Scots to vote to stay in the union, former Labour prime minister Gordon Brown set out a timetable for granting the Scottish parliament more powers if independence is rejected.

“A ‘No’ vote on 18 September will not be an end point, but the starting gun for action on 19 September, when straight away we will kick off a plan to deliver the enhanced devolution that we want,” Brown said.

Scottish independence referendum Alistair Darling and Gordon Brown during a Better Together Scottish referendum event at Marryat Hall in Dundee. Source: Danny Lawson/PA Wire

Brown said draft laws to grant further powers over taxation and spending, which are broadly backed by the three main parties in Westminster, would be ready by January.

But the pro-independence campaign said the promises could not be guaranteed by the opposition party and contained nothing new.

First Minister Alex Salmond, the leader of the pro-independence Scottish Nationalist Party (SNP), warned of “panic” in the unionist camp.

His deputy, Nicola Sturgeon, said on Monday that the pro-independence campaign was still “the underdog in the referendum, but there’s no doubt the momentum is towards ‘Yes’.”

Additional reporting © AFP 2014

Poll: Are you in favour of Scottish independence? >

Opinion: What would Scottish independence mean for Ireland? >

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