Why was there a sharp increase in the margin of support of independence in Scotland in August/September 2014?

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  • No, it is within the margin of error. A single poll tells you nothing. We need to repeated polls showing the same thing.
    – user1873
    Sep 10, 2014 at 23:58
  • 1
    @user1873 - unless I'm mistaken, the squares represent separate polls. So there's a very clear long term trend since mid-August
    – user4012
    Sep 11, 2014 at 0:26
  • @Avi Oh yeah, me too, you have no idea - I couldn't sleep for weeks because I was dying to know the answer to this question.
    – Shahar
    Sep 11, 2014 at 19:36
  • 3
    @Shahar you're on a politics SE. You're likely to find people here who really do care about politics.
    – Publius
    Sep 11, 2014 at 21:38
  • 1
    That same poll timeline indicates that the most significant jump occurred after the Salmond/Darling debate, but further research would have to be done to link that to the rise.
    – aVeRTRAC
    Oct 21, 2014 at 2:59

1 Answer 1


Any answer to this question will inevitably be somewhat speculative. However I think there were two main factors:

  • The approaching referendum, meaning that previously undecided people started picking a side. Many seem to have come down on the "Yes" side.

  • The second Salmond/Darling debate, which Salmond was widely viewed as having won.

It also seems likely, given that the final referendum result was 45-55 whereas the preceding opinion polls were more like 47-53 if you ignore the undecideds, that there was a degree of polling error.

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