The campaign for Scottish independence suffered another blow today after the first official poll conducted since Tuesday’s debate showed that the ‘no’ side has doubled its lead.
The Survation poll for the Scottish Daily Mail found that voters who watched the debate between First Minister Alex Salmond and ‘no’ campaign head Alistair Darling overwhelmingly believed Mr Darling had beaten his opponent, with more than a quarter of viewers now saying they are more likely to reject independence.
The poll, conducted on Wednesday and Thursday, puts the ‘no’ camp on 50 percent, up four points, with the pro-independence camp slumping three points to 37 percent. When undecided voters are excluded, the anti-independence side are on 57 percent, giving them a massive 14-point lead, up eight since last week.
Mr Salmond’s failure to answer questions on his currency plans for an independent Scotland were seen as fatal to his performance last week. Although he insists Scotland would continue to use the British pound, political leaders in London have ruled out a formal currency union, meaning that Scotland would have no control over the currency, thus severely damaging the country’s financial sector.
Senior members of the ‘yes’ camp have started rounding on the First Minister, saying that unless he outlines a credible ‘Plan B’, the independence campaign will be all but lost.
More than two thirds of Scots surveyed in the poll agree that Salmond must outline alternative currency arrangements.
Even more concerning for the First Minister, 15 percent of people who voted for his pro-independence Scottish National Party at the last Scottish election now plan to vote against independence, and 45 percent of independence supporters now believe his deputy, Nicola Sturgeon, should represent the ‘yes’ side in the next televised debate.
The findings represent a dramatic collapse for Mr Salmond, who has often been seen as one of the most charismatic and clever people in British politics over the past twenty years.
Patrick Briône of Survation said: “Following his unexpected success in the debate, Alistair Darling has seen support for No jump to its highest ever level in a Survation poll, at 50 per cent and a 13-point lead.
“Whilst this post-debate boost may fade over time, with little over a month remaining until Scots head to the polls it looks as though Alex Salmond is fast running out of time to turn things around.
“Barring a dramatic reversal in the next debate, the dreams of Scottish nationalists appear increasingly likely to be dashed come September 18.”