Fraser Nelson Fraser Nelson

The young (and the English) have restored Scotland’s ‘no’ lead

No unionist should breathe easily after last night’s YouGov poll putting the ‘no’ team on a six-point lead. The race remains too close to call. And the poll also suggests a degree of volatility quite unlike that seen in general elections.

Michael Sauders from Citi has dug deeper into the figures (pdf). You need to treat all Scottish polls with caution, due to the sample size and the fact that the turnout may be high enough to include people who polling companies don’t know exist. But YouGov found that the under-25s (the ones more likely to vote on the day, rather than by post) have switched form a 20-point lead for ‘yes’ to a 6-point lead for ‘no’ in under a week.

Now, 20pc of people born in Scotland have concluded that their future lies outside of Scotland. Being fully plugged into the network of the rest of the UK is an advantage: as a Scot in London I feel (and am treated) like a fellow countryman, not an immigrant. I have to say: it’s a good feeling, and one I’d certainly want to protect if I were a teenager mulling my future options. When I went back to my old school in the Highlands, Nairn Academy, one of the kids asked if English employers would be any less likely to hire Scots after independence. It’s a real concern.

The second reason the ‘no’ lead is back is that non-Scottish-born voters are coming to the same conclusion: do they want to be categorised as immigrants in their own country? Even factoring in the young, ‘no’ lead only exists due to the increasing concerns of voters born outside of Scotland.

The YouGov poll talks about Scottish voters born in other parts of the UK (about a tenth of the electorate).

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