Tuesday, 13 December 2011

Voters urge Salmond to get on with indy poll

Thanks to the Balkanisation of the British press I had to scramble around behind The Times paywall for details of the Ipsos Mori poll on Scottish attitudes to an independence referendum.

The story is the splash in the Scottish edition of the paper and gets not a mention in the London copy I bought at the station this morning.

A large part of the dis-assembly of the UK is down to the London papers regularly slotting Scottish stories into edition silos that are read only by Scottish readers.

Conversely the Daily Record is the only Scottish daily still circulating in London, both the Scotsman and the Herald having withdrawn from the capital. I know there is a news life online but there is still a lot to be said for the visible and tactile power of print and its engagement in a national conversation.

Anyway, that's a personal diversion. As expected the poll shows that two thirds of Scots believe Alex Salmond is wrong to delay a referendum on independence until at least 2014.

The Ipsos MORI poll shows 33 per cent of Scots voters want a referendum as soon as possible. Another 31 per cent want one within the next two years.

That's 64 per cent want a poll before Salmond's "after 2014" pledge, a nine point increase since August.

None of that is likely to change Mr Salmond,'s mind which is set on a referendum in the second half of this five-year Scottish Parliament, meaning not before 2014. Everyone says 2014 - Bannockburn anniversary, Commonwealth Games, Ryder Cup - is Salmond's date with destiny. It could be later than that, I reckon, but that option is now backed by only 29 per cent of Scots, down eight points from August.

The bottom line is that Salmond would lose a referendum if one were held early or late.

The poll finds that support for independence among Scots certain to vote has risen by three points since August to 38 per cent.

But a clear majority of Scots — 57 per cent — still believe that Scotland should remain part of the United Kingdom. This has declined since August, again by three points.

Professor John Curtice, Professor of Politics at the University of Strathclyde, said the changes might be little more than the variability of all polls.

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