EDINBURGH, SCOTLAND – With the days numbered until the official vote, Scots remain divided on whether their country should remain part of the United Kingdom or declare independence.
The debate continues to rage over the potential economic consequences for both decisions and the votes for either side remain close.
The latest survey conducted by the research company Ipsos MORI shows a 2% lead for rejecting independence, with 49% of those interviewed voting in favor of staying in the UK and 47% backing independence. Not included were the 5% who were undecided on the matter.
Favor for staying in the union was earlier expressed in a poll that was conducted online by the company Panelbase, which found 52% for remaining in the union and 48% for independence.
A citizen who favors staying in the union.
A person in support of independence.
The latest poll surveyed 1,405 people over the age of 16 on September 15 and 16, as reported by The Guardian. Although it still leans in favor of staying in the UK, it reflects an increase in those who support independence.
Various celebrities have stated their opinions as well. Author J.K. Rowling penned an essay expressing concerns about the effect independence would have on research funding. “Having put a large amount of money into Multiple Sclerosis research here, I was worried to see an open letter from all five of Scotland’s medical schools expressing ‘grave concerns’ that independence could jeopardize what is currently Scotland’s world-class performance in this area,” she wrote.
Even President Bill Clinton has chimed in to the debate. “Separation will require a long complex negotiating process with considerable uncertainty and potential to weaken the Scottish economy,” read a statement from Clinton, released through the Better Together Campaign.
Actor Sean Connery, on the other hand, stands in favor of independence. “A Yes vote will capture the world’s attention. There will be a renewed focus on our culture and politics, giving us an unparalleled opportunity to promote our heritage and creative excellence,” he told the British newspaper Sun on Sunday.
Up until recently the No campaign had been clearly in the lead.
“We share a common platform on this single issue because, along with many of our fellow Scots, we believe that a better future for ourselves and our children is as a partner in the United Kingdom,” declares the No Scotland website. Campaigning for both sides has been increasingly forceful as the vote grows nearer.
An independent Scotland would bring with it some changes for the country, including a decision on what currency to use. As a small country, it would be risky for Scotland to remain in a currency union of which they do not control. Yet, switching to the euro would have its own risks.
A map of the United Kingdom.
With independence, Scotland would have greater control over the country’s future. A Scottish Parliament elected by the people would make decisions about taxes, social security, and other areas that directly affect Scottish citizens.
The nation would also have to decide whether to join the European Union.
Scotland has been a part of the United Kingdom since 1706. Opponents of secession argue the economic risk of independence, while supporters claim Scottish nationalism.
Voting will take place on September 18, with all registered Scottish voters over the age of 16 eligible to vote.