Salmond receives a boost at start of debate

Alex Salmond and Alistair Darling are half an hour into their STV Debate Photo: PA

Alex Salmond has received a boost at the start of a crucial debate with Alistair Darling on Scottish independence.A new Ipsos MORI poll for STV News shows a rise in support for the Yes campaign. Support for the UK is unchanged.

Among those 'certain to vote' in the referendum on 18 September, 40% supported independence, an increase of 4% from June.

The proportion of people who favour Scotland staying part of the UK remained static at 54%.

When the undecided voters were factored out, support for the UK was at 58%, a drop of 2% points from June, while support for independence was up by 2% to 42%.

Just 6% of those polled said they had not yet decided how they would vote, down from 10% in June.

So a good start for Mr Salmond but we should put the poll into context.

An average of the last six polls before this one - compiled by Prof John Curtice of Strathclyde University - puts Yes at 44% and No 56%.

And this poll still shows a big difference between the 'No' and 'Yes' sides.

With some six weeks to go to the referendum, this is still a substantial gap to make up for the Yes side.

Mr Salmond opens the debate in Glasgow by saying "no-one will do a better job running Scotland than the people who live and work in Scotland".

He cites food banks, nuclear weapons and Scotland getting government's it "did not vote for" as reasons for voting 'Yes'.

Mr Darling says that patriotism is not in question in this referendum. "All of us who live her are proud of Scotland", he adds.

He says that some time in your personal life and in the interest of your country "it is best to say no".

For the STV poll a total of 1,006 people north of the border were questioned between July 28 and August 3 for the research.

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