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Support for Scottish Independence Is at a Standstill, Poll Shows

Jan. 31 (Bloomberg) -- Support for Scottish independence remained little changed at 39 percent, according to an Ipsos MORI poll of more than 1,000 Scots for the Times newspaper.

The results showed an increase of 1 percentage point on a poll by the same organization two months ago. It’s the first poll to be conducted since First Minister Alex Salmond said last week his planned referendum on independence will ask: “Do you agree that Scotland should be an independent country?”

Support for remaining in the union fell to 50 percent from 57 percent two months ago, according to the poll. This probably reflects a significant rise between the two polls in previously pro-union voters who are now undecided, said the newspaper.

Since the latest poll is based on Salmond’s preferred question, the findings will add weight to the arguments of his opponents, who say that by removing any reference to Scotland leaving the U.K., the question is biased, the newspaper reported.

Sixty-seven percent of those questioned said they had definitely made up their minds on how they will vote, while 33 percent might reconsider, the poll showed.

Eighty-two percent of pro-union voters said they will definitely vote “no,” while 18 percent may yet change their mind. Sixty-nine percent of “yes” voters will definitely vote that way, while 31 percent said they might still change their mind.

The poll also found that some Scots are still unhappy about Salmond’s choice of timing for the referendum. Almost half of all Scots, 47 percent, said the vote should be held in the next 18 months, by the fall of 2013 and before autumn 2014. Fewer than one in four Scots agree with Salmond’s chosen deadline of the fall of 2014.

Related News and Information: TOPB <GO> for Leading U.K. stories.

To contact the reporter on this story: Tim Farrand in Edinburgh at tfarrand@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Rodney Jefferson in Edinburgh at r.jefferson@bloomberg.net

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