Opinion shifting, Sturgeon claims

Nicola Sturgeon insisted the Yes campaign was not complacent ahead of the September 18 vote

Nicola Sturgeon insisted the Yes campaign was not complacent ahead of the September 18 vote

First published in National News © by

Scottish public opinion appears to be shifting in the run-up to the independence referendum in a similar way to before the 2011 Scottish parliamentary election, according to the Deputy First Minister.

Nicola Sturgeon said there may also be a parallel between the pro-union Better Together campaign and the Labour Party that was defeated by an SNP landslide in the election three years ago.

Ms Sturgeon was speaking on the campaign trail in Bathgate, West Lothian, as she met voters in the town's George Place.

She said: "I definitely sense a shift. This is a referendum, it's not an election, but certainly I remember very well how that felt in 2011 when you just got the sense that something was moving in terms of opinion. And I feel that now.

"The two things are not the same and I wouldn't want to draw false comparisons, but I think in 2011 we were faced with an opposition that I think, because they'd been faced with polls that showed they had a lead until fairly late in the campaign, thought they didn't really have to do very much.

"There may be a parallel there with Better Together."

Ms Sturgeon insisted the Yes campaign was not complacent with just days to go until the vote on September 18.

She said: "We're still two weeks out and lots and lots can happen.

"We'll just concentrate on getting the positive message for independence across to as many people as possible, but there's no doubt there's a spring in the step of the the Yes campaign, we're feeling very up, very optimistic."

The Deputy First Minister said stories of people queuing up to register to vote before last night's deadline were "humbling" for everyone involved.

She said: "The word I keep hearing over the last few days, which I think just again speaks to something in Scotland, is 'exciting'. People feel excited by what we might be standing on the brink of."

On the streets of Bathgate the future of the health service was a hot topic for many voters.

Ms Sturgeon used the event to appeal to Labour supporters to back a Yes vote to protect the NHS and other public services.

She said: "The evidence is Labour supporters are moving in significant numbers to Yes.

"Labour supporters believe in social justice. They want to protect public services, they want to ensure that we've got a social security system that protects the most vulnerable and the best way to get these things is to put Scotland in control of our own resources and the decision that shape the kind of country we are."

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