Scots Referendum Poll Suggests No Games Boost for Salmond

The Commonwealth Games in Glasgow failed to deliver a boost to campaigners for an independent Scotland, a poll suggested, as nationalists and those pressing to keep the U.K. intact prepare for a televised debate tomorrow.

A Survation poll published in yesterday’s Mail on Sunday newspaper found that 40 percent of voters said they supported independence, down one percentage point from a similar survey on July 11, while those against were unchanged at 46 percent. Don’t knows accounted for 14 percent of the 1,000 voters questioned online between July 30 and Aug. 1. The margin of error was 3.1 percentage points.

The Scottish National Party that runs the devolved government in Edinburgh said the success of the two-week games, which ended yesterday, may still have an effect on undecided voters as the referendum approaches on Sept. 18. The nationalists are also pinning their hopes on persuading voters in the TV debate, when Scottish First Minister and SNP leader Alex Salmond faces Alistair Darling, the former chancellor of the exchequer who leads the campaign against independence.

“The momentum is with us,” Nicola Sturgeon, Salmond’s deputy, said in an interview with the Observer newspaper. “As we come out of the Commonwealth Games at the weekend, that is us in the final straight of the campaign and you will see that momentum quite visibly,” she said. “Confidence not only in Glasgow but across the country is high.”

A poll by Opinium of 1,979 voters from across Britain for the Observer found 54 percent said they thought Scotland would vote to remain a part of the U.K. and 27 percent that the vote would be in favor of independence.

The SNP prepared for tomorrow’s debate by publishing a letter from one of its lawmakers blaming Darling for allowing the increased privatization of the U.K.’s National Health Service. Aileen McLeod said the former chancellor had “opened the floodgates” for the involvement of private companies in the NHS.

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