Scots Independence Campaign Gains Momentum as Poll Gap Narrows

Scottish National Party leader Alex Salmond’s campaign for independence gained support after a televised debate this week, with a poll showing the lead for his opponents narrowing to six percentage points.

A Survation survey for the Scottish Daily Mail found that 47 percent of respondents would vote Yes in the Sept. 18 referendum, four points more than in a similar survey on Aug. 9. The poll, which excludes undecided voters, shows the share of No voters decreasing to 53 percent.

The results are likely to cause some concern to Prime Minister David Cameron, who told business leaders in a speech in Glasgow yesterday evening that independence would be “a leap into the great unknown” for Scotland. While all major opinion polls still show supporters of the union are likely to win, a narrowing of the gap increases the risk of an upset by undecided voters, who could still sway the result.

“If we stay together, Scottish businesses have better opportunities, Scottish consumers have more choice and Scottish people have more secure jobs,” Cameron said in a speech at the Confederation for British Industry Scotland. “Why put that great advantage at risk by going into the great unknown?”

At the event, pro-independence campaigners heckled Cameron, while the head of the CBI criticized plans by the prime minister to hold a referendum on the U.K.’s membership of the European Union, the Herald newspaper reported.

Home Secretary Theresa May said in a speech this week that opponents of independence must “redouble our efforts” and “work even harder.”

The Survation poll showed 12 percent of respondents likely to vote still don’t know how they will cast their ballot. Survation interviewed 1,001 people online on Aug. 26-28.

To contact the reporter on this story: Svenja O’Donnell in London at sodonnell@bloomberg.net

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Alan Crawford at acrawford6@bloomberg.net Rodney Jefferson, Lukanyo Mnyanda

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