Half of women (50 per cent) in Scotland intend to vote No in the independence referendum, a poll suggests.
Just over a third (34 per cent) intend to vote Yes while the rest remain undecided, a Survation poll of 1,000 women for the Daily Record found.
However, the Scottish National Party remains the most popular party amongst women in Scotland, with the backing of 43 per cent if there was a pending election, against 27 per cent who back Labour and 15 per cent who support the Conservatives.
Women for independence have a broad range of reasons for voting Yes, with an almost even split between oil money (20 per cent), a desire for their “proud nation” to be independent (19 per cent), dislike of the UK Conservatives (18 per cent) and a belief that the economy would perform better (17.5 per cent).
Concern over currency is the main reason for women voting No (32 per cent), followed by concerns over the economy (27 per cent) and pride in being part of the UK (26 per cent).
Only 1.5 per cent are voting Yes because they want Alex Salmond to be prime minister, against 16 per cent who are voting No because they do not. Over half of No voters (51 per cent) say his presence as leader of the Yes campaign will make them more likely to vote No.
Over half of women (55 per cent) think Mr Salmond wants independence mainly because he wants to be prime minister, and the rest said it is because he thinks it would be best for the people of Scotland.
A majority of women described Mr Salmond as arrogant (55 per cent) and ambitious (52 per cent), while 29 per cent described him as dishonest. A quarter described him as strong and intelligent, and a fifth said he is principled.
A majority of women described his deputy Nicola Stugeon as ambitious (51 per cent), while two-fifths said she is intelligent. Many said she is strong (30 per cent), principled (27 per cent) and arrogant (26 per cent).
Intelligence is Alistair Darling’s top feature according to 43 per cent of women, while over a third said he is principled. But nearly a third said he is arrogant, while a quarter said he is weak and ambitious.
Speaking on behalf of Better Together, Scottish Labour MSP Jackie Baillie said: “This poll is a major blow to Alex Salmond’s failing campaign and confirms the momentum is with those of us who believe the brightest future for Scotland is as part of the UK.
“The more women in Scotland consider the consequences of separation for our pound, pensions and public services, the more we are saying no thanks.
“Alex Salmond is so obsessed with breaking up the UK that he is blind to the risks of separation. Women in Scotland aren’t. We know that we can have the best of both worlds for Scotland – more powers for our Scottish Parliament guaranteed, and the strength of being part of something bigger. We should say no thanks to putting that at risk on 18 September.”
Ms Sturgeon told the Daily Record that the poll showed increased support for Yes amongst women compared with a previous survey.
“There is a real risk of the Tories being re-elected next year, and in these circumstances a majority of women as well as men favour independence,” she said.
“We believe women will vote Yes next month, because it is our one opportunity to protect our NHS from Westminster privatisation, create more jobs in Scotland, and transform childcare instead of wasting billions of pounds of Scottish taxpayers’ money on Trident nuclear weapons.”
Survation surveyed an online panel of 1,000 women between August 8 and 12.