THE 64% for Yes in the Progress Scotland survey (Record level of Scots believe Yes would win in referendum, October 11) is very encouraging.

In one way it is valid, but in another it is not the whole truth. That 64% Yes along with the 36% No excluded the “don’t knows”, as clearly stated in a two-section pie chart graphic.

A second pie chart showed three sections: i) the “don’t knows” with 14%, ii) Yes with 55%, and iii) No with 30%, totalling 99%. In other words, the latter two, 55% and 30%, are the same as 64% and 36% in the first pie chart. For this letter I’ll refer to the second pie chart with its 100% total.

Our target was 55% after 2014 for indyref2, and reaching it has been a great achievement. Obtaining and holding support in the mid-60% of the three-way pie chart data would be more reassuring, if not essential, for myself and I suspect many others.

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Relying on “don’t knows” moving to Yes is a risk. Indyref1 taught our Kinross branch a hard lesson. People on the doorstep were brushing us off saying they “hadn’t made up” their mind. After they had voted we learnt they’d just been “polite No”. Hence my concern.

A year ago Brexit had moved some people to Yes, but not to the extent expected. It seemed we’d have to wait until people faced the realism of Brexit’s problems: unlikely before 2021. We could all only dream in the meantime that an “unknown unknown event” would intervene; something as unlikely as a second Guy Fawkes.

Then there was a cruise liner in Japan, and a global pandemic, which no-one would wish for. Be that as it may, Nicola Sturgeon’s acceptance of responsibility in the crisis has shown that Scotland can govern itself. This has been recognised by the increased support for independence within the country, and backed up by comments from outwith.

A Yes target in the mid-60s percentage-wise is my preference. If 55% only increases to 60%, we could be vulnerable. We’d return to the present level of 55% if for some reason we lose 5% from within the “don’t knows” or even borderline Yes voters. A subsequent fall from 55% to 49.5% is not unimaginable on that basis.

Could it happen? Who knows what tricks the UK Government would play before or in a referendum? Or would some other unforeseen event change opinions? Rather than winning replacements to lost supporters during a tense campaign, keeping on building our strength beforehand is a better approach.

Also, a 66%:33% victory would appear stronger than, say, 60%:40%, with differences of 33% and 20% respectively. Such an emphatic result has the long-term benefit of calming resentful No voters. It will exist.

Of the two pie charts next to each other on a page, one boosts the campaign’s internal morale and its external image. The other offers accurate statistics on which to think and act. The former has been given a large coverage, unlike the latter.

The National should not be afraid of hiding or ignoring reality, but should be presenting both equally. Its readers deserve all the information.

Robert Walker

THE No-supporting daily newspapers are determined to reduce the Covid pandemic to an acute political issue. While that should be regarded as an affront to reader intelligence, it is useful to demonstrate how seriously and responsibly Nicola Sturgeon and her advisory team are dealing with the virus, and we are no doubt grateful to those dailies that are keen to warn us of the future action which might be required.

John Hamilton