Poll Shows Rising Scottish Support for Staying Part of U.K.

Scotland's first minister seeks to calm fears of repercussions against opponents of independence if the Yes campaign wins.


REUTERS, AP - Scottish support for independence has declined, a poll for Survation showed on Saturday, widening the lead for the pro-union campaign just 5 days before Scotland votes on whether to separate from the rest of the United Kingdom.

A Survation poll on behalf of the pro-union Better Together campaign found support for staying in the United Kingdom was at 54 percent, while 46 percent were planning to vote for independence on Sept. 18, once undecideds were excluded.

The poll comes as a boost to the anti-independence campaign after the latest "poll of polls" on Friday showed the vote remained on a knife-edge, with just 51 percent support for staying in the UK.

Survation's last poll on Wednesday showed unionists on 53 percent and separatists on 47 percent. The poll released on Saturday showed 9 percent of Scots were still undecided.

Scotland votes this Thursday on whether to end a 307-year-old union with England and break away from the United Kingdom.

While polls had consistently shown strong leads for the "No" campaign to reject independence, a recent surge in support for "Yes" has prompted some investors to sell the pound and the shares of Scottish companies over concerns about the economic ramifications of a split.

The Survation poll found that 40 percent of respondents believed they and their families would be worse off financially in an independent Scotland, with just 27 percent saying they thought they would be better off.

Nationalists tell opponents: no grudges

Meanwhile, Scotland's First Minister Alex Salmond has sought to calm fears that there would be repercussions against opponents of independence if the Yes campaign wins the upcoming referendum.

"The day after a Yes vote there will cease to be a No campaign and Yes campaign — only Team Scotland. We will approach the success of Yes with magnanimity to all," Salmond said Saturday.

He spoke after former Scottish National Party deputy leader Jim Sillars told supporters there would be "a day of reckoning with BP and the banks" after the oil company and financial institutions voiced warnings this week over independence.
Saturday marked the biggest day of political campaigning Scotland has seen, including a peaceful march of 15,000 pro-unionists through Edinburgh and 35,000 Yes volunteers staging events across the country.

The heads of several major retail chains warned Saturday that shoppers in Scotland would face higher prices if it becomes an independent country.

In a joint letter published in the Daily Record, the chiefs of Marks and Spencer, B&Q and Timpson said their experience in trading across national borders shows there is always an increase in red tape and costs.

Supermarket chiefs raised similar concerns earlier this week, and several large banks indicated they would have to move their legal headquarters out of Scotland into England if the Yes forces prevail.

Salmond had called these warnings scare tactics coordinated by Prime Minister David Cameron to frighten Scots away from independence.