Two sides: Asbo (left) wears a Union Jack and Millie the Saltire at the 150th Birnam Highland Games in Perthshire, Scotland. Photo: AFP
Edinburgh: Support for Scottish independence is increasing ahead of this month's referendum, with the latest poll showing the lead for the No campaign down to six percentage points and nationalists saying the momentum is behind them.
The survey published by YouGov for the Times and Sun newspapers found 53 per cent of respondents would vote against independence, with those wanting to break away from the rest of the UK at 47 per cent. The deficit narrowed from 14 percentage points in the last YouGov poll in August.
With a little over two weeks until the September 18 vote on the future of the 307-year-old Union, Scottish nationalist leader Alex Salmond is building on his performance in a televised debate last week. While his opponent in the Better Together campaign, former chancellor of the exchequer Alistair Darling, focused on uncertainty over Scotland's currency and North Sea oil revenue, Mr Salmond portrayed himself as the protector of the health service and social justice.
Double affirmative: Scottish First Minister Alex Salmond wears a 'Yes' and an 'Aye' badge during a referendum campaign stop in Dundee. Photo: Getty Images
"Game on," Peter Kellner, London-based YouGov's president, wrote in the Sun newspaper. Mr Salmond is "within touching distance of victory", he said.
The latest poll matches the deficit in one by Survation for the Scottish Daily Mail last week. YouGov typically has shown a wider gap, though. In early August, the pollster put the anti-independence lead at 22 percentage points.
With the deadline for Scotland's 4 million or so voters to ensure they are registered on Tuesday, former prime minister Gordon Brown will tour central Scotland to appeal to traditional Labour voters to reject independence. Part of the shift in support toward the Yes campaign has been among those people who didn't back Mr Salmond's Scottish National Party in the last election.
When including undecided voters, the difference in the YouGov poll was 48 per cent to 42 per cent, with 10 per cent of people yet to make up their mind. No margin of error was given.