Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Floating Voters Hold Home Rule Key

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Floating Voters Hold Home Rule Key

Article excerpt

It's all still to play for in the battle for North-East regional assemble votes, according to an exclusive Journal poll out today.

Just days before ballot papers go out in the regional assembly referendum, the poll ( run in collaboration with both official campaigns ( shows 36pc of those likely to take part will vote `No', with 28pc backing an assembly.

But with a further 36pc still undecided, pro-devolutionists believe they are still very much in the race to persuade people to vote "Yes".

The result is a dramatic shift from The Journal's last poll in May, when the `yes' camp enjoyed a 45pc-19pc lead.

Last night, Yes4theNorthEast said the margin of error in this poll ( about 5pc ( could explain the `no' side's lead.

And North East Says No chairman John Elliott refused to get carried away by the result, saying: "This poll shows that the referendum is up for grabs, and we are confident that our campaign will succeed."

Yes4theNorthEast chairman John Tomaney said: "Our task is to cover the region over the next 22 days and persuade the vast numbers of people who are still undecided on this issue to vote `yes'.

"We also need to ensure that people who are supporting the assembly return their ballot papers and vote `yes' as we know we can't afford to be complacent."

He added: "This poll is a curious one as it is at odds with others conducted recently. Previous polls have shown the `yes' vote consistently about two to one ahead of the `no' vote.

"When you consider the very small sample size and the small gap between the numbers voting `yes' and `no' the difference is explained entirely by the margin of error of around 5-6pc."

Nesno leaders were delighted to see their key campaign message resonate with voters.

When read the statement "A regional assembly will lead to more professional politicians and higher council tax bills", 51pc agreed, while 18pc disagreed, and 31pc admitted they did not know. …

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