Politics, Government & Current Affairs

New Scottish referendum poll: Commanding lead for ‘No’ campaign with big swing after Darling-Salmond debate

On 6th-7th August, Survation polled 1,010 people in Scotland aged 16+ on behalf of the Scottish Daily Mail. We asked how they would vote in the independence referendum, and their views on the debate between Alex Salmond and Alistair Darling.

Key Points

  • If the referendum were held today, Scots would vote to remain in the UK – by a large margin: 57% would vote ‘No’, 43% would vote ‘Yes’
  • Lead for ‘No’ goes from 6 points to 14 points in less than a week, after months of very little change in our independence referendum polls
  • This is the highest ‘No’ vote – and the biggest lead over ‘Yes’ – seen in a Survation poll since our first independence referendum poll in February.
  • Despite ‘Yes’ voters being more likely to have watched the debate (73% watched it compared to 66% of No voters), Darling still emerges as the clear winner – 53% of those who watched the debate thought Darling won, with 28% selecting Salmond as the winner

Full tables can be found here.


Referendum voting intention results

(Changes since the 3rd August Mail on Sunday poll are shown in parentheses)

Yes: 37% (-3)

No: 50% (+4)

Undecided: 13% (-1)


Excluding Undecided

Yes: 43% (-4)

No: 57% (+4)


The charts below show the results for all Survation independence referendum voting intention questions since February.


Darling-Salmond debate / Political leaders

The Scottish public were clearly not impressed with Salmond in the debate: the adjectives most used to describe his performance were ‘Weak’ (18%), ‘Uninformed’ (13%), and ‘Dishonest’ (11%).

By contrast, the words most used to describe Darling’s performance were: ‘Knowledgeable’ (21%), ‘Strong’ (16%), ‘Nervous’ (11%), and ‘Honest’ (11%)

However, nearly two-thirds of those who watched the debate said it would not affect the way they would vote.


We also looked at current levels of satisfaction with the key political leaders – 39% are satisfied with the way Salmond is doing his job as First Minister (79% of ‘Yes’ voters), and 33% are satisfied with how Darling is doing his job as leader of the ‘Better Together’ campaign (52% of ‘No’ voters)


The Currency Debate

One of the most contentious issues in the debate concerned what currency an independent Scotland would use – and our poll shows this an issue the Scottish public care deeply about:

45% said that the choice of currency would be ‘very important’ to them in the event of Scottish independence, with half wanting to continue to use the pound in a currency union with the UK, were Scotland to become independent.

There is also a clear demand (69%) for the Scottish government to draw up a ‘plan B’ if a currency union is not agreed to, although 40% think that the Westminster parties are bluffing when they say such a union will not happen.

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