Of all the political leaders involved in the Scottish referendum campaign, the public are least impressed by David Cameron's contributions – while Alex Salmond is seen as the most effective campaigner
English politicians traded Westminster for Scotland last week, in a last-minute round of campaigns before the Scottish independence debate reaches its conclusion this Thursday. David Cameron gave an impassioned speech, telling Scots not to vote for independence just to give the “effing Tories a kick”, and Gordon brown suggested he would return to frontline politics as a Member of the Scottish Parliament to fight the SNP leader Alex Salmond.
A new YouGov poll for the Sunday Times reveals how the main politicians’ attempts to sway the Scottish vote one way or the other have been viewed by the British public, and the result is not kind to David Cameron.
The Prime Minister has the worst performance rating in the debate over Scottish independence: 30% say he has done well, 50% badly. While his performance is rated better in England and Wales than in Scotland, he still ranks the worst in England and Wales (-17 points, slightly behind Danny Alexander on -14 points). Alex Salmond, in contrast, easily has the best score, with 43% giving him a positive score and 33% rating him negatively. In Scotland, the First Minister is level with his deputy, Nicola Sturgeon. They are the only politicians whose performance is rated positively by Scots.
Gordon Brown, not a popular politician, is only three points behind Mr Salmond in terms of performance, supporting claims that his intervention was partly responsible for the ‘No’ camp’s recent return to the lead. Among English and Welsh adults he has the best performance rating (37% well, 28% badly); among Scottish people he places third (37% well, 51% badly).
Alex Salmond was asked yesterday if he would seek another referendum in the event of a "No" vote on Thursday. He said: "If you remember that previous constitutional referendum in Scotland - there was one in 1979 and then the next one was 1997.That's what I mean by a political generation. In my opinion, and it is just my opinion, this is a once in a generation opportunity for Scotland."