LONDON (Reuters) – Support for and against Scottish independence is running neck-and-neck a week before referendum day, leaving it to a sizeable number of undecided voters to tip the balance.
A series of opinion polls over the past week, with one notable exception, have shown a surge in support for the “Yes” campaign that has panicked Britain’s elite.
The recent poll movements mirror what happened in the run-up to the 1995 referendum in Quebec – one of the few obvious parallels in recent history – where voters opted to remain in Canada by a margin of just over 1 percent of votes cast.
Given what happened in Quebec, the late shift in momentum behind the Yes campaign in Scotland is not surprising, said Darrell Bricker, chief executive of Ipsos Public Affairs in Toronto.
While the “Non” side was comfortably ahead by nearly 10 percentage points two months before that referendum, the Yes vote surged ahead in six successive polls over a fortnight just ahead of the vote predicting a victory for “Oui.”
So far only one poll, from YouGov last weekend, has put the Scottish Yes vote in front, by just two percentage points in a survey with a margin of error of plus or minus two to three percentage points.
The latest poll released on Wednesday by Survation showed steady support for Yes (47 percent) and No (53 percent). But that excludes the 10 percent who said they are still making up their minds.
The sudden narrowing of the No lead from double digits to nil in other polls was enough to trigger selling in sterling markets on fears the UK might break up, and a race by the No campaign to spell out further devolution of powers to Scotland.
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