Scottish independence: Polls narrow but investors bet on the Union

Polls are on a knife edge, but the money is on Scotland staying in the UK.

by Rachel Savage
Last Updated: 18 Sep 2014

There are just 3 days to go until Scotland votes on going it alone, and those who love a good nail biter will be pleased to see the polls on a knife edge. The money, however, tells a somewhat different story.

Union supporters will get a shiver from an ICM/Sunday Telegraph poll that put the Yes vote at 54% (removing undecideds). But the latest BBC ‘poll of polls’ has No ahead by a whisker at 51% to 49%, within the 3% margin of error of most surveys.

Here are the seven most recent polls:

But those who haven’t yet made up their mind, removed from the data above, could still swing it. They make up 8% of the 4.3m eligible voters, according to the FT’s poll tracker, which has the Yes-No vote at 47%-44%.

It all looks rather uncertain from this angle, then. But those putting money on the vote are pretty sure Scotland is staying put. The chance of a No vote is 81%, according to spread better IG, which looked at flutters on its own and rival platforms. Meanwhile, traditional bookies are offering odds of between 1/4 and 1/5, also putting the probability of the Union winning out at more than 80%.

Although most Scots have already been swayed one way or the other, the list of rich and famous weighing in on the issue grows ever longer. The Queen broke her usual political silence, telling a group outside a Sunday church service near her Balmoral estate (which she would probably rather didn’t end up in a different country), ‘I hope people will think very carefully about the future.’

Meanwhile, media mogul Rupert Murdoch made sure we all knew he was in the country.

Businesses, for the most part, seem to be hoping for a No vote. Last week, CBI president Mike Rake claimed 90% of Scottish companies didn’t want independence. An FT straw poll of Scotland’s 30 biggest employers, found 85% of the 15 that agreed to take part were thinking about moving their corporate headquarters to England in the event of a Yes vote. Whether that will convince their staff to support the Union remains to be seen – for another few days anyway.

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