ALEX Salmond refuses to speculate on negative outcomes, but Yes Scotland chief executive Blair Jenkins is more reflective.

"We could lose it, that is one possible outcome," he says of the referendum. But although he admits defeat is possible, he "firmly" believes Yes will win.

Jenkins is sitting in the Yes war room in Glasgow's Hope Street and speaking on the day a YouGov poll showed a small move towards a No vote.

"Polling companies talk to a thousand people. We are talking to hundreds of thousands of people. We know the momentum is with us," he says.

Some political observers believed Jenkins was a surprising choice as the organisation's figurehead.

A senior journalist at STV and the BBC for decades, the 57-year-old is not a member of a political party and is more Byres Road than Braveheart.

With a background in journalism, what did he make of the recent protest against the BBC's alleged anti-independence bias?

"I understand the unhappiness with particular items on particular programmes ... but I don't personally subscribe to the view that we are facing an organisation that's got some systemic anti-Yes agenda," he says.

Would he go on such a demonstration? "I wouldn't, but people are perfectly entitled to do that."

It is said that the wider Yes movement has been a success - hundreds of local groups have sprung up around the country - but it's clear that Yes Scotland has encountered some problems.

Since September 2012, all five of Yes Scotland's top team of directors have moved on and senior SNP figures were drafted in for their expertise.

Stan Blackley, the former deputy director of communities, said the organisation had become an "SNP front" under Jenkins.

Asked whether he agrees with Blackley's analysis, Jenkins smiles, dodges the question and rambles on about the "broader point" about the grassroots campaign.

I ask the question again.

"Well," he says, sighing. "Stan is entitled to his opinion. That is not an opinion that I hear from anybody else."

Given that SNP stalwarts Kevin Pringle and Lorraine Reid were brought in to help, and given his former director of communities Shirley-Anne Somerville is now working from SNP HQ, hasn't Yes been taken over by the SNP?

"That's a ridiculous point. I can't remember the last time anybody seriously put to that me," he says.

He is sensitive to suggestions that he is a puppet of the First Minister, or that the SNP is running Yes.

In this context, is there anything the First Minister's government has done since winning power in 2007 that he has disagreed with?

"It's not for me to comment on individual SNP policies," he says.

However, he has criticised the Tory-Liberal Democrat Coalition's policies on social security, describing them as a "sustained assault" on the welfare state.

I ask again about the First Minister's government.

"That's not really a question I consider so I wouldn't want to give you a glib answer to that. It's not actually a question I've asked myself."

One senior Yes source said that Jenkins is now in a "good place" and fired up ahead of the next two-and-a-half months. He is said to be happy now with the personnel in Hope Street and is focused on delivering a Yes vote.

The perceived success of the wider movement is a huge advantage for him.

Around 1.5 million people have been contacted so far, nearly 100 events a week are being staged, 20,000 volunteers have signed up and nearly 300 local groups help spread the word.

Another reason for Jenkins' optimism is the campaign's funding position - thanks largely to the largesse of lottery winners Colin and Chris Weir.

He believes press coverage of the Weirs' donations has been slanted, saying: "I think one of the reasons why that support was highlighted so regularly [and] so dramatically in the press was precisely to discourage other people from contributing."

Wouldn't Yes have struggled financially were it not for the Weirs cash? "I think hypotheticals are always impossible to answer," he replies.

The cash will be spent on the campaign essentials - flyers, billboards, adverts - required to give Yes the best chance of victory.

Presumably the money will also be used for staff costs, so how much does Jenkins get paid as chief executive?

"I'm not talking about that," he says, firmly: "It's not appropriate. It's not information in my gift to disclose."

With around 70 days to go, Jenkins must have given some thought to what he will do after the referendum.

As a respected journalist, he could write a bracing insider account of the Yes campaign. Has he been keeping a diary?

"A lot of people asked me that when I started the job, and suggested I should, but I was very keen to tell colleagues that I won't be.

"People are entitled to regard conversations as confidential."

Perhaps elected office? "Er, no."

He elaborates: "My space isn't politics, not in a party sense.

"This is a complete departure for me - from a lifetime of just being completely apolitical."

On September 19, Jenkins will either be the quiet genius who masterminded a historic victory, or he'll be one of the scapegoats for a movement's dashed hopes.