A year to go: Yes a point ahead
The most recently sampled independence referendum opinion poll puts support for Yes a point ahead of No - at 44 per cent to 43 per cent, with Don't Know at 13 per cent - as we enter the month of a year to go until next September's vote.
The poll was commissioned by the Scottish National Party, and conducted by Panelbase. It was sampled between 23-28 August, among 1,043 people aged 18 and over in Scotland.
Panelbase was the first polling organisation to show the SNP in the lead during the 2011 Holyrood election campaign.
This is the first poll to indicate Yes ahead since the question which will be asked in the referendum was finalised last year. (The last poll to show a Yes lead was a TNS poll in the Herald newspaper in August 2011, which showed Yes at 39 per cent and No at 38 per cent, with Don't Know at 23 per cent.)
Support for a Yes vote has increased by 7 points since the last Panelbase poll in July (for the Sunday Times), as undecided voters appear to be opting for Yes. Support for No has fallen by 3 points.
The detailed breakdown shows that 24 per cent of people who voted Labour in the Scottish Parliament constituency vote in 2011 intend to vote Yes. And among women aged 35-54, Yes leads No by 45 per cent to 41 per cent.
The poll shows that 93 per cent of Yes supporters are very likely to vote in the referendum, compared to 88 per cent of No supporters.
The poll also asks two key questions which further illustrate the strength and potential of the Yes vote.
In response to whether people trust the Scottish Government or the UK Government to take decisions for Scotland, 60 per cent trust Holyrood compared to just 16 per cent who trust Westminster - a lead for the Scottish Government of nearly four-to-one. This far greater trust in Holyrood over Westminster is reflected in every single demographic of gender, age and social class. Among people who backed Labour in the 2011 Scottish Parliament constituency vote, 44 per cent trust the Scottish Government compared to 20 per cent who trust the UK Government, and among Lib Dem voters the figures are 41 per cent to 28 per cent in favour of Holyrood.
And the poll asked whether people agree or disagree with the statement that Scotland could be a successful independent country - finding that 52 per cent agree, compared to just 37 per cent who disagree. The detailed breakdown shows that these same figures of 52 per cent to 37 per cent apply to women aged 35-54, compared to 44 per cent agreeing and 43 per cent disagreeing for all women. Among people who voted Labour in the 2011 Scottish Parliament constituency vote, 34 per cent agree that Scotland could be a successful independent country, compared to 51 per cent who disagree.
SNP Depute Leader and Deputy First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said:
“It is game on for next September’s referendum. With just over a year to go, this poll indicates that the positive case for Yes is capturing people's imagination, while the No campaign's 'Project Fear' is running out of steam.
"The poll also shows that a clear majority of people back the Yes campaign's contention that Scotland could be a successful independent country - a common-sense proposition which the No campaign daily denigrate. And they trust the Scottish Government rather than Westminster to take decisions for Scotland by a margin of nearly four-to-one. These findings all underline the strength and potential of the Yes vote.
“Polls will move up and down between now and next September as the debate over Scotland’s future gathers pace, but these very encouraging figures show that Yes can win and I believe will win. Certainly, the No campaign can no longer take the people of Scotland for granted.
“As we move closer to the referendum voters are beginning to make up their minds - and this poll suggests that as undecided voters find out more about the opportunities of independence, they are backing a Yes vote in increasing numbers.
“Scotland can be a successful independent country, and it is better for all of us if decisions about Scotland are taken by the people who care most about Scotland - the people who live and work here. That is the essence of the case for Yes, and it is a compelling and positive case that the No campaign has no answer to."
The Panelbase poll asked:
* “There will be a referendum on an independent Scotland on 18th of September 2014. How do you intend to vote in response to the question: Should Scotland be an independent country?" (Change from July 2013 Panelbase/Sunday Times poll in brackets):
Yes: 44% (+7)
No: 43% (-3)
Don't Know: 13% (-4)
* "Who do you trust to take the best decisions for Scotland: the Scottish Government or the Westminster Government?"
The Scottish Government: 60%
The Westminster Government: 16%
Don't Know: 5%
* "Do you agree or disagree with the following statement: 'Scotland could be a successful independent country'."
Yes, I agree: 52%
No, I disagree: 37%
Don't Know: 11%
Consistent Panelbase methodology is to report independence referendum voting intentions on the basis of those in the categories (8-10) who are most likely and certain to vote in the referendum - a base of 908 - and the other findings above are also from this base. Among the full sample of 1,043 - including those less likely and certain not to vote - the figures are 41 per cent Yes, 42 per cent No, 17 per cent Don't Know.
Panelbase is a member of the British Polling Council and abides by its rules.