By a Newsnet reporter
A newly published poll has suggested momentum is now with the pro-independence campaign with new figures indicating a swing of just three per cent is needed to secure a Yes vote in this year's referendum.
The ICM poll conducted for the Scotland on Sunday newspaper found support for independence has grown from 32% to 37% since September, with a corresponding drop in No support by five percentage points to 44%. 

According to the poll, when the 'don't knows' were excluded, support for Yes stood at 46% compared with 54% No.  When the 'don't knows' disclosed how they were 'most likely' to vote, Yes stood at 47% compared with No at 53%.

The poll of more than 1,000 over-16s was conducted by ICM for Scotland on Sunday between Tuesday and Friday.

SNP Depute Leader and Deputy First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has welcomed a new poll that shows the largest swing towards a Yes vote during the campaign.

Commenting, Ms Sturgeon said:

"This is extremely encouraging - with eight months to go this poll shows that our positive message is making significant progress, and a swing of just over three per cent will put Yes ahead. It reflects our experience of talking to members of the public since the launch of the white paper, including in the Cowdenbeath by-election.

"The rise in support for Yes comes after many people will have taken the time to digest the 'Scotland's Future' document, and strongly suggests that the detailed information on how we can use the full powers of an independent Scotland to transform childcare is encouraging more women and men to vote Yes.

"The White Paper is the most comprehensive blueprint for an independent country ever published, detailing the kind of future we see for our country - a fairer, more prosperous one.

"This poll also underlines the untenable position of the Prime Minister in refusing to debate with the First Minister - despite the fact that the No campaign is being led by his Tory government from Westminster. The referendum is all to play for, Yes is clearly in a potentially winning position, and David Cameron is going to come under more pressure from his own side to step up to the plate.

"I believe that over the next few months growing numbers of people will weigh up the gains of an independent Scotland against the costs of a No vote, and join the growing numbers who are choosing Yes."

Speaking to the Scotland on Sunday newspaper, Blair Jenkins, chief executive of Yes Scotland, said: "A potential Yes vote of 47 per cent at this stage is an excellent place to be with eight months to go. It demonstrates very clearly that we are getting our message across and that momentum is very much on our side.

"The poll represents a very significant swing to Yes and shows that we need just over a 3 per cent swing to take the lead. It is particularly encouraging that there is a five-point increase in support from women and a four-point rise in the number of people who believe independence will be good for the economy is also a welcome shift in our favour.

"We know that the more people learn about the benefits of independence the more likely they are to vote Yes.

"People are now also carefully weighing up the consequences and costs of a No vote and, as a result, support for Yes increases.  The referendum is about two choices.  One is sticking with a Westminster system that isn’t working for Scotland.  The other is a unique opportunity to make decisions that match our own needs and priorities, to better use our vast wealth and resources for the benefit of all people in Scotland and to build a fairer country of which we can all be proud."

A spokesman for Better Together, speaking to the same newspaper, said: "Despite Alex Salmond spending millions of pounds of taxpayers' money, the majority of people in Scotland don't want to trade the strength and security of the UK for the risk and uncertainty of independence. 

"We will campaign tirelessly between now and September to convince those who have yet to make up their mind that we are stronger and better together.  This poll is a message that there can be no complacency from those who support Scotland remaining in the UK."

The latest survey echoes results from the recent Scottish Attitudes survey which also showed a significant swing from No to Yes, with support for independence up 6% and support for the Union down 6%.


# call me dave 2014-01-26 13:20
Excellent news, it takes time to read the SG White Paper unlike some who commented 10 minutes before publication.

Add to that the latest news, this week debunking all the unionist rubbish on the EU , British embassy's , the £ and border posts I expect to see even better polling in the next few weeks.

Also labour for independence taking off and the childcare / school meals and mitigation of bedroom tax proposals... its all about YES not the SNP or AS.

All bubbling along nicely.

Prof Curtice.
# mealer 2014-01-26 13:34
This is,indeed,great news.An awful lot of devo maxers are saying they'll vote yes.London will have to have a good think about this.If they want to win they'll have to offer an awful lot more than air gun control.There is no political will in England to do that.
# Tappietourrie 2014-01-26 14:20
This helps to confirm my view of what I saw at the Labour for Independence meeting last week where somewhere in the region of 200 plus people, men and women of all age groups turned out to hear a very positive message of left of centre policies encouraged by a ‘YES’ vote from LfI discussed by a panel of experienced politicians and others.

The audience were very receptive and responded with hand clapping and cheers. Being in the midst of this throng you could gauge the response by the support of comments presented by the panellists.

I would judge LfI were most prominent but SNP and other were also attending. An altogether cross party appeal and this is only the beginning of other meetings to be held throughout Scotland.

It appeared that the official Labour Party are out of touch with their grass roots. What an encouraging experience. The train is leaving the station –we’re on our way.
# km 2014-01-26 14:26
So Better Together claim "Salmond spending millions on a referendum that no-one wants", while UK government apparently carrying out a drive to influence other nations to get involved (despite Cameron saying it was a vote for Scots).

The hypocrisy of Better Together continues to rise every day.
# creigs1707repeal 2014-01-26 14:30
"...the majority of people in Scotland don't want to trade the strength and security of the UK for the risk and uncertainty of independence..."

Last time I did mathematicss, a "majority of people" would be over 50%, not 44%.

This poll continues to show the long, downward spiral of the No vote and, with many of their scary stories now lying in tatters, I suspect over the next few months YES will gradually pull ahead.

As for the "strength and security of the UK". There is no "strength"--the UK is financiually bust and will take Scotland down with it if we don't get out. Being part of this outdated union with its abhorent foreign policy makes Scotland more of a target for international terrorism--that is not the kind of "security" I want, not to mention the Trident menace we have sitting on the Clyde. Get rid of that and we can spend our money getting our kids out of poverty and have a more secure future for us all.
# theycantbeserious 2014-01-26 15:46
Well said Creigs1707repeal! People shouldn't mistake Westminster rhetoric for security...what remains of that security is fighting abroad! The money an independent Scotland will generate will make a difference to the quality of life for all in Scotland. Forget your political allegiance's, this is not about politics but self determination, the right for our country to govern itself a right that most countries throughout the world enjoy. And lets face it, most have probably been part of the British empire and since gaining their independence have never once looked back!
# call me dave 2014-01-26 15:58
Extract Herald.

Speaking on BBC Scotland’s Sunday Politics programme, Labour’s shadow foreign secretary Douglas Alexander warned that the sample size of the 16-24 age group was small, but he said he was not complacent.

Mr Alexander, who was speaking about the youth vote, added: “What that poll suggests to me is that all of us have more work to do in the remaining 235 days.
“There are no grounds for complacency.”

He said: “They (young people) are comfortable with the idea of a layered identity…like many of us are pragmatic in terms of the modern world, where we are interconnected in a way unimaginable a generation ago.”

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