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No vote takes narrow lead in poll

The No campaign has moved back into a narrow lead in Scotland’s referendum campaign with less than a week to go until the historic vote, according to a new poll.

The latest YouGov survey of almost 1,300 people for The Times and The Sun puts support for No at 52%, slightly ahead of Yes at 48%, once undecided voters are factored out.

Compared with YouGov’s last poll, Yes is down three points and No is up three. That weekend poll, conducted for the Sunday Times, gave the Yes camp the lead in the Scottish referendum battle for the first time.

Pro-Union campaigners Better Together stressed that every voter has the power to tip the referendum either way.

Yes Scotland welcomed the latest survey, saying it shows they are “in touching distance of success” next Thursday.

YouGov said its most recent poll marks the first time No has gained ground since early August.

Three previous polls over the past month had recorded successive four point increases in backing for independence. In early August, Yes support stood at 39% and by last weekend it had climbed to 51%.

Although No is back in front, the Yes campaign has held on to most of its gains since early August, YouGov said. These gains have come partly from people switching from No to Yes and partly from those who are undecided.

Counting all respondents, including undecided voters, No led Yes by 55%-35% five weeks ago, with 11% saying they were unsure.

Compared with then, Yes is up 10 points to 45%, and No and “don’t know” are both down by five points, to 50% and 6% respectively.

YouGov questioned 1,268 electors online between Tuesday and Thursday for the latest poll.

Responding, Better Together campaign director Blair McDougall said: “Every voter has the power to tip the referendum either way. This decision is far too important to be a protest vote. That is why thousands of Scots will be pounding the streets over the next week to make sure that we win the referendum.

“We have seen in the past few days, in all too stark reality, exactly what would happen if we leave the UK. Jobs would go, companies would move south and prices would rise in our shops. When we have the chance to vote for more powers within the security of the UK, why would you take that risk?”

Yes Scotland chief executive Blair Jenkins said: “At 48% for Yes, this poll confirms that the referendum is neck and neck – we are in touching distance of success next Thursday, and there is everything to play for. It will spur on everybody who wants and is working hard for a Yes to redouble their efforts.

“As we say in response to all the polls, we are working flat out to ensure that we achieve a Yes vote, because it’s the biggest opportunity the people of Scotland will ever have to build a fairer society and more prosperous economy.

“It is now crystal clear that the No parties have nothing new to offer in terms of more powers, which fall far short of what Scotland wants and needs.

“A Yes vote is Scotland’s one opportunity to achieve job-creating powers and protect our NHS from the damaging impact of Westminster privatisation and severe budget cuts.”

According to the Times’ report of other findings from the poll, 45% think that an independent Scotland would make them personally financially worse off, up eight points from the weekend.

The poll covers the period when the Prime Minister, Labour leader Ed Miliband and Liberal Democrat Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg abandoned Westminster for the day to campaign for the Union.

It comes after First Minister Alex Salmond claimed Scotland is on the “cusp of making history” by voting for independence in a week’s time.

YouGov’s headline finding is broadly similar to those from another polling company.

Some 24 hours earlier, Survation found the pro-UK campaign has maintained its lead over its rival Yes camp, with No on 53% and Yes on 47%

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