A few days ago, Ruth Davidson told Andrew Gimson that the No campaign would “win by a wider margin than the opinion polls predict”. “Her principal assertion about Thursday,” Andrew wrote, “is that we are about to witness a phenomenon analogous to the “shy Toryism” of the 1992 general election, when large numbers of voters supported John Major and the Conservatives without having disclosed to the pollsters that they were going to do so. This time she believes large numbers of voters will support the Union without having told the pollsters.”
As I write, that looks like a good call. YouGov’s final poll shows No ahead by 56 to 44 per cent. The share of the vote to date is in the same ball park.
Earlier this year, she wrote confidently on this site that Conservative campaigning for the Union was winning back votes, money and support. “As a party, our vote share went up in 24 of Scotland’s 32 local authority areas…The number of votes cast, 231,330, is the highest number of votes the Scottish Conservatives have won at a Euro election since 1989 – a quarter of a century. This is a particular achievement given the rise of UKIP, and saw us bucking the Conservative trend – Scotland was the only area in the UK where the Conservative vote increased.”
Davidson’s win in the Party’s Scottish leadership election was no walkover: she was up against a talented opponent in Murdo Fraser. Since then, and especially during this campaign, she has grown in stature, confidence and authority. The words “Conservative winner” haven’t always been associated with the Scottish Tories in recent years. She is changing all that, and should be deployed as widely during the election campaign as she has been during this referendum one.