News Issues Background Parties Analysis TV/Radio/Web Interactive Forum Live
Search Home

Donald Dewar: only 100 hours until the vote

New Polls Released as Devolution Campaigning Resumes

Opinion polls have injected a fresh sense of urgency into Scotland's devolution referendum campaign, as one poll suggests that support for a tax-varying parliament at its lowest level so far.

Although most polls continue to show clear backing for Scotland having its own parliament, an ICM poll for the Scotland on Sunday newspaper puts support for it having its own taxation powers at just 45%

This is two per cent down on the previous low recorded by a System Three poll for The Herald earlier this week.

Another 17% of people questioned are undecided, while outright opposition to a future parliament having tax powers remains a minority view stance at 38%.

On the question of whether there should be a parliament at all, the findings shows 60% in favour, 25% against and 15% undecided.

Yes Yes, Yes No, or No No?

Another poll, by NOP for the Sunday Times, gives a slightly more optimistic picture for the "yes" camp, with a narrow majority - 51% - in favour of a parliament with tax powers and 34% against, while overall Scots favour having a parliament by 63% to 21%.

But a third poll, for Scotland on Sunday, says 76% of businesses believe a double-yes vote in Thursday's referendum would harm the climate for business in Scotland.

Opposition to any sort of parliament has fallen, with fewer than half of the 1,057 companies which took part saying it could harm business.

Labour sought to pour cold water on the business poll, saying: "Only one-in-four firms approached thought it worth responding. That puts the whole report in perspective."

Meanwhile, Scottish Secretary Donald Dewar welcomed the other two polls as "very encouraging" since both show a big lead on the question of a Scottish parliament and a "decisive" lead on tax issue.

The Sunday Times poll also showed that the death of Diana, Princess of Wales, appears to have had no effect on devolutionary sentiment, with 96% of respondents saying it has made no difference to the way they are likely to vote.

And two-thirds of Scots backed Mr Dewar's decision not to delay the referendum.

Scottish Parliament Very Likely

Commenting on the poll results in the Sunday Times and Scotland on Sunday, Michael Russell, chief executive for the Scottish National Party, said: "Although the two polls differ somewhat in their findings, they both show that Scots are on course to deliver a clear "Yes-Yes" on both questions, and move Scotland forward on Thursday.

"But there will be no complacency, with a 100 hours of campaigning remaining between now and polling day - and Scotland's political parties united as never before.

"The strong and positive message that only a Scottish Parliament with tax-varying powers can build a more compassionate and just society is one that is set to win on Thursday, and win well."

Business leaders in Scotland are due to deliver their verdict on devolution later today, with press conferences planned by both the Scottish CBI and by leaders of the country's chambers of commerce.

And former Bond star Sean Connery, a long-standing supporter of the SNP, is to join Chancellor Gordon Brown on the "yes" campaign trail at Rosyth in the shadow of the Forth Bridge.

Mr Dewar said that starting today "we will be back to full campaigning with Tony Blair, John Prescott and Gordon Brown leading the final push for a yes vote".

"We are confident that when people recognise the modernising nature of the parliament, recognise that the parliament will be good for investors, for business and for the economy, and when they recall our pledge not to put taxes up for five years, we will get a resounding result in favour of both questions."

BBC Devolution Briefings

Joshua Rozenburg, the BBC's Constitutional Affairs Correspondent explains devolution

A briefing on Scottish devolution by Brian Taylor, the Political Editor of BBC Scotland

Scottish devolution update

Remember the last time?

Links to other Scottish devolution websites

Back to top

Diana, Princess of Wales, 1961-1997

Conference 97   Devolution   The Archive  
News | Issues | Background | Parties | Analysis | TV/Radio/Web
Interactive | Forum | Live | About This Site

© BBC 1997