Danny Lawson, Associated Press
LONDON — The British pound slipped sharply after an opinion poll showed that those advocating Scottish independence from the United Kingdom have gained ground, a little more than two weeks before the vote.
A YouGov poll released Tuesday showed support for Scottish independence running at 47 percent. As a result, the 'no' camp — those supporting the continuation of the 307-year union with England, Wales and Northern Ireland — only has a 6 percent lead in the poll.
That represents a significant narrowing in the 'no' lead. Less than a month ago, the equivalent poll lead was over 20 points.
The narrowing echoes other findings that the 'yes' campaign has gained ground over the past week or so after its leader, Scotland First Minister Alex Salmond was widely judged to have bested Alistair Darling, the head of the "Better Together" campaign, in a televised debate.
"A close finish looks likely, and a 'yes' victory is now a real possibility," said Peter Kellner, YouGov's president. "Even if 'no' finally wins the day, it now looks less likely that it will win by a big enough margin to deliver a knockout blow to supporters of independence."
The poll, which was based on interviews with 1,063 people, spooked some traders, and the pound traded 0.6 percent lower at $1.6525. The Scottish independence vote takes place Sept. 18.
"With less than three weeks to go until polling day the tide is starting to shift," said Kathleen Brooks, research director at Forex.com.
The economic impact of a vote in favor of independence remains difficult to quantify as many aspects remain unclear, such as whether a go-it-alone Scotland would be able to use the pound as its currency, as the "yes" campaign advocates. There are also questions as to how the U.K.'s debt mountain would be divvied up.
"We think that the prospect of independence could boost volatility in the pound in the coming weeks," Brooks added.
Scotland already has a parliament responsible for a wide array of social matters as well as its own legal code. However, economic and defense matters remain the responsibility of Westminster in London, where Scottish lawmakers make up a minority. The main U.K. political parties have indicated that they are prepared to give the Scottish Parliament more powers after the vote.
- Man abandoned 30 years ago tries to find his...
- Woman struck, killed by duck boat in downtown...
- Terminating parental rights: State policies...
- Obama out: President takes last shots at...
- Kentucky Confederate monument to be removed...
- Kenya burns huge pile of ivory tusks to...
- Oculus Rift delays flatten virtual-reality...
- Iraqi protesters breach Green Zone, storm...
- Thousands threaten to boycott Target... 88
- Former Speaker Boehner calls Cruz... 56
- Cruz taps Fiorina to serve as running mate 40
- Violence follows California Trump... 34
- New poll finds Americans less likely to... 33
- ... 31
- Sen. Ted Cruz secures second Utah... 27
- Illinois bills would limit mentally ill... 21