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POLLS SAY VOTERS PUT ECONOMY FIRST

TWO new polls say the economy will be the single most important issue for people when they vote in the independence referendum, while the currency and the EU are almost irrelevant.

A TNS survey commissioned by tycoon Sir Tom Hunter for ScotlandSeptember18.com, his apolitical voter information project, found the economy and job prospects were the most important topics for 30% of people (15% each), with healthcare next on 11%, pensions and benefits on 8%, and education also on 8%.

Scotland's EU membership and its currency the topics - which have dominated the political debate - were named as the top priority by just 3% and 2% of those polled respectively.

When voters were then asked to rank their top priorities, healthcare was named in the top five by 58% of those surveyed, followed by employment prospects (48%).

The poll also found widespread ignorance about the powers already held by Holyrood.

Asked about areas which are currently devolved, only 50% knew that education was run wholly by Scotland, 47% mentioned healthcare, 35% free personal care for the elderly, and 34% transport.

The poll found the group which knew least about devolution - the lower socio-economic classes, D and E, one-third of whom did not know any devolved powers - were also most likely to back a Yes vote.

The findings echoed the results of a BBC Scotland poll to accompany a programme on the referendum this Tuesday, in which voters ranked the economy ahead of pensions, welfare, our relationship with the UK, currency, immigration and energy.

Hunter said the referendum was too important to let politicians determine the key issues.

He said: "Only 3% and 2% of those polled said EU membership or currency was most important to them in deciding how to vote in the referendum, yet our politicians see these as priorities. We need to refocus this debate around what's most important to those who will vote."

Contextual targeting label: 
Local government

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