Edinburgh, 12 May - The No campaign for the Scottish independence referendum has lost ground among those who say they are certain to vote, according to a new poll by TNS.
The survey also found that more people feel informed enough to decide how to vote in the September 18th poll, but that there is a strong perception that the No campaign has been negative in tone.
In the overall survey of 996 adults in Scotland aged 16 and over, 42% backed a No vote (up one percentage point from the previous month) against 30% supporting Yes (also up one point), with 28% Don’t Know (down 2 points).
Among those who said they were certain to vote, 35% said they intended to vote Yes, against 44% intending to vote No, with the remaining 20% undecided. The 9 percentage point lead for the No side contrasts with 22 points in September, when the current series of TNS polls began.
Previous TNS polls have found a widespread feeling among voters that they have not had enough information during the campaign. In October 2013, TNS asked respondents to say how much information they had to help them make a decision using a scale of 1-10, where 1 is ‘I don’t feel I have any information at all’ and 10 is 'I have all the information I need'.
In October, 31% gave a score of between 7 and 10, indicating that they felt they had enough information. In the latest poll, this has risen to 49%. A quarter (26%) gave scores of 1 to 4, indicating that they did not have enough information, down from 44% in October. Yes voters were more likely than No voters to say they felt sufficiently informed (68% vs 53%), whereas 45% of undecideds still feel they do not have enough information.
TNS also asked voters whether they agreed that the two campaigns so far had been negative rather than positive in their content and tone.
Just over half (53%) said Better Together had been negative, with 15% disagreeing, while 29% rated the Yes campaign as negative, with 37% disagreeing. Even among No voters, more agreed than disagreed that the Better Together campaign has been negative (41% vs 26%). Perhaps most importantly, among the undecideds, 45% considered Better Together to have been negative, compared to 24% who thought the same of Yes Scotland.
Tom Costley, Head of TNS Scotland, said: “It is encouraging that with four months to go until the vote, many more people feel that they have enough information to help them come to a decision. However, many people, particularly the undecideds, are still waiting to be both informed and convinced.
“As the electorate usually claims to dislike negative campaigning, this poll suggests that Better Together may need to consider adopting a more positive tone to its campaigning in the run-up to 18 September.”
Notes to editors
1. A sample of 996 adults aged 16+ was interviewed in 61 constituencies across Scotland over the period 23rd April – 2nd May 2014.
2. To ensure the sample was representative of the adult population of Scotland, it was weighted to match population profile estimates in the analysis. Data was also weighted to match turnout and share of constituency vote from the 2011 Holyrood election, as recorded in SPICe Briefing 11-29 2011 Scottish Parliament Election Results
3. Respondents were asked: There will be a referendum on Scottish Independence on the 18th of September 2014. How do you intend to vote in response to the question: Should Scotland be an independent country? Yes, No, Don’t know
4. All interviews were conducted face-to-face, in-home using CAPI (Computer Assisted Personal Interviewing) and quota sampling.
Detailed tables for this survey can be found here.
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