With only a few days to go before Scotland's big day, the time is right for me to predict what the result will be. I said this three weeks ago:
I think the polls have underestimated (because they have nothing to go on to measure it) support from the working class in Scotland and, in particular, the group of people who think "there's no point in voting because voting never changes anything".
Normally it doesn't. But this referendum provides a real chance of changing things ... and it's the people at the bottom who most need things to change. It all depends on getting them to register (still a week to go) and then turn out and vote. Groups like Radical Independence have played and will play a vital part in this.
I'll make this prediction. If the turnout is more than 85%, Yes will win. If it's less than 80%, No will win.
Bear in mind that I said this while the polls were still showing that the Yes vote was some way behind the No vote. Since then the polls have shown a dramatic narrowing in that margin, so that things are neck-and-neck. But the point I had made still stands, therefore I said this last week, in response to the polls from YouGov showing Yes at 51% to No at 49%, and from TNS-BMRB showing Yes and No at 50% each:
I'm delighted by the recent YouGov and TNS-BMRB polls. But I also think that all polls have tended to underestimate the fact that a very large percentage of those who don't normally vote, especially from more disadvantaged communities, are going to vote this time ... and are going to vote Yes.
I therefore expect the margin of the Yes vote to be much larger than these polls are predicting. Perhaps 53% to 47%. In fact if the turnout is over 85%, it might reach 55% to 45%.
There is every indication that turnout is going to be very high. We now know that 4,285,323 people have registered to vote, which equates to 97% of the eligible population, and this is a far greater increase in registration than can be accounted for by extending the franchise to 16 and 17 year olds.
So I have very little doubt that Yes will win comfortably.