Scotland’s pro-independence leader Alex Salmond won a final TV debate on Monday just over three weeks before a historic breakaway referendum, but it wasn’t clear if his combative performance would help him catch up in the polls.
In a bruising debate before the September 18 referendum, Salmond relentlessly talked over and at Alistair Darling, the leader of the “Better Together” anti-independence movement, and it was sometimes hard to hear what was being said.
With the campaign to break up the United Kingdom and sever Scotland’s 307-year union consistently trailing in opinion polls by an average of up to 14 percentage points, Salmond’s supporters were looking for a game-changing performance after he failed to sparkle in the first such encounter. Salmond, 59, did much better this time.
In a snap Guardian/ICM poll released soon afterwards, 71 percent of over 500 respondents judged that Salmond had won, against 29 percent who said they thought Darling had triumphed.