James Forsyth points to a recent poll on the Scottish independence referendum that shows a shrinking lead for unionists:
Tonight brings a reminder that the Union is in real danger. A new YouGov poll has the No camp’s lead in the Scottish referendum down to just six points. Just a month ago, No had a 22 point lead with You Gov.
This poll is particularly striking as YouGov’s polling has not been as favourable to Yes as that of other pollsters; this is Yes’s highest ever score with YouGov. Particularly worrying is that undecided voters are going Yes by a margin of two to one [bold mine-DL].
This last point is worth emphasizing, since I have often heard the claim that undecided voters in these sorts of separatist votes will tend to break in favor of the status quo. If this poll is accurate, the opposite is happening in Scotland, and that makes it much more likely that the nationalists might end up winning after all. From what I have seen in the arguments against independence, there has usually seemed to be a weird complacency among unionists, as if they couldn’t quite believe that they had to make a strenuous effort to win the referendum. I suspect part of this has come from assuming that the outcome was a foregone conclusion, but part of it is probably a result of believing their own propaganda. If there is one thing unionists have agreed on during the campaign, it is that it would be economically irrational for Scotland to secede, and at some level they can’t believe that there could be a majority in favor of such a thing. Maybe there isn’t, but it shouldn’t come as a surprise that there could be. Combine that with the frequently tone-deaf, doom-laden arguments against independence that do more to harden positions than change them, and it becomes easier to understand how the ‘Yes’ camp could prevail in two weeks’ time.
Perhaps voters will flirt with divorce before deciding that, actually, their marriage deserves another go. But, again, that’s not something that can be taken for granted. It has never been, of course, which leaves one to wonder why so many did take it for granted for so long?
Even if the nationalists lose this referendum, the margin will now probably be so narrow that Scotland will keep returning to this question every few years. Unionists may win this vote, but they will have done so in a manner that can only encourage the nationalists to try again, since they have demonstrated throughout the campaign that most of them can’t make a compelling positive case for the union.