I've been asked by a number of people to have a look at the YouGov exit poll, in the light of the Herald's provocatively-worded claim that it shows "the elderly did not rob the young of an independent Scotland". In fact, it shows no such thing, and instead bears out Alex Salmond's claim that under-55s voted Yes. It's not possible to make a direct comparison with the Ashcroft exit poll, because YouGov use different age categories, but here is the nearest comparison possible -
How under-55s voted, according to the Ashcroft exit poll :
How under-60s voted, according to the YouGov exit poll :
So in order to believe that Yes did not also enjoy a lead among under-55s in the YouGov poll, you'd have to argue that 55-59 year olds broke for Yes, which seems highly improbable.
Of course the two polls show very different pictures in individual age groups, but you'd expect that due to normal sampling variation. By extension that means we'll never be 100% certain that under-55s voted Yes, but whether the Herald (and the increasingly deranged Huffington Post) like it or not, the limited evidence we have suggests that they probably did.
What that means in practical terms is harder to say. We've had a couple of No supporters on this blog comforting themselves with the mantra that people become more conservative as they get older, and that the Yes-voting under-55 of today is the No-voting over-55 of tomorrow. The snag is that there's no real evidence that the No-leaning tendencies of older people are driven by conservatism - the real culprits seem to be the groundless fears over pensions, and national identity (older people are more likely to have a lingering attachment to Britishness). There may be some evidence that advancing age makes people more conservative, but I know of no evidence that it makes them feel less Scottish.