Scots Independence Debate Fails to Budge Voters in Monthly Poll

The debate over whether Scotland should become an independent country is failing to convince voters to switch sides even as the rival arguments intensify in the run-up to this year’s referendum, a monthly poll suggested.

The survey by TNS found 42 percent of respondents said they wanted to remain within the U.K., unchanged for the third straight month, with 28 percent preferring independence, down one point. Thirty percent of voters said they were undecided. The 14 percentage-point gap compares with 13 points last month and 19 points six months ago, according to TNS data.

“It would appear that there is now a settled group of voters who have more or less made up their minds,” Tom Costley, head of TNS in Scotland, said in a statement. “Despite the best efforts of the two campaigns, there continues to be a significant number of people in the ‘don’t know’ category.”

With less than six months to go before the Sept. 18 vote, Scottish nationalists are trying to persuade the electorate that U.K. government warnings over an independent Scotland’s future currency, credit rating and North Sea oil revenue are little more than scaremongering from London.

An ICM Research survey published on March 23 found the gap narrowed to seven points from 12 points a month earlier. The poll for the Scotland on Sunday newspaper showed 39 percent of voters in favor of independence, up two points, while those wanting to keep the status quo at 46 percent, a drop of three points over the month.

The survey of 1,010 people was taken on March 17-21, more recently than the TNS study published today. TNS contacted 1,019 people aged 16 or over, the minimum age to vote, between Feb. 29 and March 9. No margin of error was given in either of the polls.

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