Today part of the country (or at least, a British dependency) actually has an election – the Falklands have a referendum on whether they wish to remain British. The result is a formality of course, people there will overwhelmingly vote to remain British, but what do people in Britain itself and Argentina think?

YouGov and Ibarometro have carried out parallel polling on the issue this week in Britain and Argentina – full results are here. There is a broad perception that the issue matters rather more to Argentina than Britain, only 1% of British people pick the Falklands as one of the most important international issues facing the country, 24% of Argentinians do. Asked directly about Falklands 54% of British respondents think it is an important issue to Britain, 67% of Argentinians think it is an important issue to Argentina.

Unsurprisingly 62% of Argentinians think that the fairest solution to the issue would be for the islands to become Argentinian, 20% would support joint-sovereignty. Only 4% think they should remain British. For British respondents 40% want the islands to remain British, 28% think they should become independent (presumably respondents who don’t realise just how few people live there!), 13% would support shared sovereignty, only 4% think the islands should become Argentinian. There is very little crossover there.

Asked what they think actually will happen there is less contrast. 61% of British respondents think the islands will remain British, 37% of Argentinian respondents think they will remain British. Despite the fuss made over the Islands by the Argentine government (actions that are supported by most Argentinians – 53% think their government is doing a good job on the issue), only 25% of Argentinians think the islands actually will end up becoming Argentinian.

Turning to the referendum this week, British respondents overwhelmingly think that the Falkland Islanders should have a say on their future (88% think they should, 4% do not). Argentinian respondents do not – only 15% think the Falkland Islanders should have a say, 59% do not. Asked who should have the final say on the Islands’ future, 74% of British respondents think it should be down to the islanders themselves. Argentinian respondents were more divided, but the most popular option was for a international organisation to make the decision (36%).

147 Responses to “YouGov/Ibarometro survey on the Falklands”

1 2 3
  1. If it doesn’t matter what the people who live there think does that mean we can have America back? And India etc. ..

    Also if the claim is based on proximity why don’t we just put a claim in for Argentina as it is near the Falklands. ..

  2. I in common with I suspect the vast majority of contributors here find it difficult to comprehend why the majority of Argentinean’s appear to believe that the residents of the Falkland Islands whose ancestors have in many cases lived there for 180 Years should have no say in the governance of their own home.

    I appreciate that the numbers resident in the Falklands might make independence unrealistic but surely the opinion of the residents deserve considerable weight when reaching a conclusion.

    From a Historical and legal perspective Argentina’s claim to sovereignty is exceptionally weak.

  3. I saw this earlier and one particular thing struck me. Not only when “Asked directly about Falklands 54% of British respondents think it is an important issue to Britain, 67% of Argentinians think it is an important issue to Argentina””, but they get the percentages right the other way. In other words 54% of Argentinians thought it was important to the British and 67% of Brits thought it was important to the Argentinians. Spooky.

  4. I’m warming to the idea. .. given Gibraltar we might be in with a shout of snaffling Spain too.

  5. Did anyone ask if it was an important issue for Falklanders? …

  6. @CrossBat11

    I’ve replied to your post on the previous thread on the previous thread.


  7. So Argentinians are pretty certain about who SHOULDN’T be making the decision, but when asked who they think SHOULD make it, they reply with a sort of confused shrug of the shoulders and say “I don’t know”.

    For me that speaks volumes about the kind of message they are getting from their government. They know what they don’t want, much less sure about what they actually do want. A classic case of opportunistic opposition, something we see all the time from all political parties here too.

  8. If the falklands did not have any potential for oil and the UK could not benefit from trade there, then I am not sure a UK government would be that interested.

    In regard to the general principle of sovereigncy, then it is totally up to the Falkland Islands citizens to decide on this. I am not sure Argentina would be interested, if it was just a penguin colony, with no potential for revenues. The fact is that within weeks, oil will start to be drilled and if they start pumping out decent volumes. then the Argentines are going to get more annoyed. Argentina is current going through financial troubles.

  9. Come to think of it, maybe Ibarometro should ask the Argentinians what the result of the next UK general election will be. Oddly enough the percentage in both countries who were aware of the forthcoming referendum was almost identical too.

    The big discrepancy on self-determination is interesting. Some of it must be because Argentinians know what the result would be and don’t want their side to lose (and some Brits may back it for similar reasons). But I wonder if it’s also because the Brits are in a post-colonial society and so very emotionally committed to the idea that the inhabitants should be allowed to choose their own destiny. Hell, they’re even allowing the Scots to do so.

    Whereas in other countries, notions of the Land as something separate from its inhabitants, the Patria, are somehow still strong (and of course often exploited by politicians). This difference may also interact with British notions of property rights.

    It’s also worth pointing that the Argentinian Don’t Knows on both the self-determination and “who should decide” questions are very high, which suggests that there may be up to 30% who either think the Islanders should have their say or don’t care at all, but, either way, don’t want to be thought unpatriotic.

  10. @Carfew

    UK Politicians are have a tough time of laying claim to areas of the UK at present. Better that they get their own house in order.

  11. R Huckle: If the falklands did not have any potential for oil and the UK could not benefit from trade there, then I am not sure a UK government would be that interested.

    In the words of John McEnroe…

  12. Is independence for the Falklands really such a crazy idea? The resulting state would remain somewhat dependant on the UK / Argentina but that’s no different from the status quo. Even if it resulted in the situation remaining the status quo de facto, nobody could bang on about colonialism any more.

  13. @ Roger Mexico

    “Brits … they’re even allowing the Scots to do so.”

    Who are these ‘Brits’? I understand that the phrase ‘A allows B’ implies that A and B are different people(s). But the Scots are British, and will remain so whether or not the political Union is dissolved!

    Do you mean ‘English … they’re even allowing the Scots to do so.’ That is inflammatory talk.

    The decision to have this referendum was taken in Scotland, and will be settled by Scots. If the answer is ‘No, stay in the Union’, then any dissatisfied English voters would be perfectly entitled to push to make England a separate country. Would you phrase such a development as “Scots allow the English to hold a referendum”?

  14. The actual results in both countries are pretty predictable; what is interesting (but not shown here) is the lack of real knowledge of the situation.
    In fact, the very early history of the islands shows both Britain and Argentina making claims of sovereignty – but doing very little about it – until a British coaling station is set up. Which, as I understand it, eventually morphed into the current sheep-based colony.
    At the time of the Falklands war, many Argentine soldiers and citizens believed the islanders were a Spanish-speaking oppressed group (presumably of Argentine or Spanish origin). I would guess that many now think that Britain expelled or slaughtered either indigenous islanders or Latino settlers – though AFAIK the islands were uninhabited before the coaling station (apart from very short-term fishing or whaling visits).
    This (wrong) belief that Britain oppressed, killed, or kicked off an indigenous or Latino pre-existing population would explain why the Argentines don’t think the present islanders should make the decision. It’s not in the interests of their Government to disillusion them.

  15. Other than demonstrating what a sad little backwater Argentina is in obsessing about such matters I wonder whether they would be so keen if their rather large group of Spanish originating inhabitants were told that in future that as a result of being imperial invaders they no longer have any influence on the future of their nation?

  16. Anthony, why is Yougov polling so inaccurate regarding UKIP? All the other polls and indeed by-election results are far ahead of where Yougov has ever put UKIP.

    The excuse given all last year was that UKIP weren’t prompted for because prompting for smaller parties gives inaccurate results. This has now been proved not to be the case with UKIP as not prompting for them gave inaccurate results in underestimating their support.

    The fact that the last 3 by-elections have all seen UKIP hgher than Yougov has ever shown them to be is a testament to that. Opinium which has UKIP on 17% is at least closer to the truth.

    Corby 14%
    Rotherham 22%
    Eastleigh 28%

    so UKIP have shown higher results than Yougov has ever shown and these were three very different areas from the North, Midlands, and South. I think there is something wrong with YouGov’s methodology.

    I believe UKIP have never been higher than 12% in YouGov and are usually around 8-11%, this is clearly far off the mark.

  17. @jim
    There is a difference between by-election results and national polling.

    Or are you suggesting that You Gov are massively over-estimating Labour support, because they only got 9.3% in Eastleigh?

  18. John Ruddy,

    but labour got 48% of the vote in Corby and 46% in Rotherham.

    UKIP are consistently outperforming YouGov national averages over wide geographic and demographic spread. Other polls like Opinium how UKIP on 17% while YouGov has them on 11%, there is clearly something off in the methodology.

  19. Jim
    Until we have another general election, we won’t know which methodology has the highest accuracy.

    By-elections often have strange results (see: Bradford).

    YouGov is also actually in the mid-range for UKIP polling, with Survation and Opinium at the high end and ICM and ComRes phone polls at the low end.

    However, you may be right in the assumption that methodology and a lack of prompt for UKIP distorts the figure downward – we’ll find out in 2 years time when comparing pre-election polling to result.

  20. @Jim,

    I am pretty sure it’s the reallocation of Don’t Knows to their previous party of support. Very few current voters have UKIP as their previous party of support, so they will get a small share of DKs. Not sure though, I am 3.56% the psephologist of some of the other contributors here….

  21. @Jim and John Ruddy

    I have long felt that although companies ask the question “If there were a General Election tomorrow how would you vote?” (or similar) and then factor in various variables.

    What in reality they are getting the answer for, despite what they actually ask is “If there were a by-election tomorrow, and you have seen no leaflets, and know nothing about the candidates, how would you vote?”

    Lord Ashcroft’s second question proves that a straight national question gives us very distorted outcomes, however you tweak the responses, as electors do know who their candidates are in many cases, and also know who the main challengers are in their constituency, and alter their votes accordingly – quite dramatically in fact from the hypothetical question that pollsters usually ask them.

    On another matter, a friend told me there was an interesting poll in The Times yesterday of Conservative Party members about their own perceptions of their chances – was that a voodoo or a real poll? has anyone any details please?

  22. I’m just waiting for the USA to realise that the Jason Islands (or Islas Sebaldes) within the archipelago are actually owned by Bronx Zoo, and for them to claim a share of the oil resources.

  23. @Neil A and Jim

    I am pretty sure that reallocating DKs back to their previous voting habits in General Elections is correct. However, for by-elections it is wrong, especially when dealing with a protest vote party that is making an impact – using the usual apportionment criterea to previous habits completely dulls down the dynamic that is going on – and actually moves much faster in the recipient of protest vote vehicle in an election “that doesn’t matter”, rather than at a GE where this dynamic is less likely.

  24. Hmm..
    Quick question for those who are knowledgeable about this sort of thing.

    I was looking through Opinium’s tables to try to come up with an explanation for why UKIP is so much higher – they don’t prompt for UKIP on the first question, only prompting for UKIP after you select ‘Some other party’ and they do weight the figures by turn-out which boosts UKIP’s VI by 1% (still not enough to explain the discrepancy).

    Opinium calculates it’s headline VI by taking the unweighted base figures, which puts UKIP on 16.5%, rounded up to 17%.
    But shouldn’t they be using the weighted figures? At which point UKIP’s VI is at 16.3%, rounded down then to 16% for the headline VI.

    Or have I missed something here?


    “I am pretty sure that reallocating DKs back to their previous voting habits in General Elections is correct.”

    Under stable party allegiances, it’s probably fair enough. It might even still be valid in England currently, but the total collapse of the LDs in Scotland would suggest that there are circumstances where it’s a pretty daft thing to do.

  26. “Results have been weighted to nationally representative criteria.”
    It says on their site, but then the headline VI figures are using the unweighted numbers.
    Con 27.4, Lab 38.4, Lib 8.3, UKIP 16.3
    Con 26.6, Lab 39.2, Lib 8.0, UKIP 16.5
    From the tables:

    Colour me confused.

  27. @ OldNat

    “…….the total collapse of the LDs in Scotland…”

    Is the proportion of diminution in support any worse north of the border than down here?

  28. Something is definitely happening with the ukip vi. Its now 9 polls in a row that they have been in double digits. I remember when we used to get excited if ukip got an 8 and many on here were dismissive of the idea that ukip could regularly poll in double figures


    I have no idea how deep the LD collapse is down there. If LDs there are likely to lose 91% of their existing seats then yes.

    However, I simply referred to an example of a situation in which allocating DKs to their previous vote would be less than sensible.

  30. @RiN

    “Something is definitely happening with the ukip vi.”

    Yes, it is bang in the middle of term for an unpopular Government with an opposition that hasn’t set out its stall or got a pre-Iraq Blair figure. So, the voters want a “respectable” protest party to vote for that makes noises they approve of. Richard – rmember how the LDs used to fayre at this time of the cycle during a Con government. If one adds the UKIP VI to the LD VI you have roughly the level of support which was commonplace for the LDs mid-term during a Con government. Of course the protest element was the first to start to drift back during a GE campaign – so in terms of holding onto what VI you have got now I’d rather be in Clegg’s shoes than Farage’s when it comes to the GE.
    I really think that is all that is happening.

  31. Surely it’s the trend that is important in polling rather than the difference between one pollster and another. We have not seen any significant trend in UKIP polling this last week on YG, and it is the only pollster that is polling daily?

  32. TF

    The notion I could confuse your writings with The Other TF is surprising. TOTF contributing the quality of that which you contribute, is like imagining Wayne Rooney delivering a lecture on the life and times of John of Gaunt.

    Mind, the latter has just scored with a wicked curling centre (that’s WR not JoG). I don’t know what TOTF does well; yes I do, he wins elections. :-)

  33. Howard

    I know that many people are less than impressed with my contributions here, so I thought I’d check.

    Although if it was sarcastic, now would be the opportune moment to engage in meta-sarcasm and deny sarcasm.

  34. Fascinating developments of the discussions on thes threads here, with this one standing out as a book example (the book being on sociology and/or psychology).

    The original post is about the Falklands and the positions of the UK and Argentine population towards them – yet the discussion to the o.p. trails off to UKIP and what some UKIP fanboys imagine to be “biased” poll results of… that party, plus some irrational, narcistic politicking of the “my party is better than your party, because my party is *my* party, and that alone merits its being better than your party”-kind…

    I wonder if there are any studies worth reading on the subject of people going totally off topic on websites dealing with polling data…

  35. Jim – you have to compare apples with apples – in other words, you can only compare general election polls with general election results, by-election polls with by-election results, local election polls with local election results, as people vote differently in each and answer polls different on each.

    As Jim Ruddy has pointed out, by your logic, all polls are overestimate Labour support massively because they only got 9% in Eastleigh. By-elections are extremely unusual and don’t reflect normal voting intentions. Even if you take the average by-election scores of a Parliament to even out the random chance of where by-elections are, they don’t reflect actual levels of support (for example, in the last Parliament on average the Conservatives got 23% of the vote in by-elections, obviously not a reflection of either the national polls nor the actual level of support they recorded in the general election). What you certainly can’t do is cherry pick good results in individual by-elections, ignore poorer by-elections, and claim that reflects actual support (for the record, the average level of UKIP support across all GB by-elections this Parliament is 9.5%).

    Obviously there is a methodological difference. Opinium put this down to the fact they do not use any political weighting. I agree that is probably the reason – and it is beyond me why they don’t use any! When it comes to Ipsos MORI, the other company that don’t use any political weighting, they recruit samples from the whole population by random dialing so can at least depend on random probability to give them samples that are roughly representative politically. For Opinium, recruiting samples from an online panel, then how politically representative their samples ends up will depend on who joins their panel. I can only assume that they must put great effort into making sure their panel as a whole remains politically representative.

    I always try to explain the methodological differences between companies so people can decide for themselves which to trust. In practice, far too many people ignore all of that information and instead decide the company that gives the party they support the highest figures must be correct and that other companies must be doing something wrong. That is their luxury, but as a pollster I actually have to make methodological decisions based on what I think will produce accurate results. I am content with my record so far.

    Tingedfringe – Opinium themselves wrote something about it a couple of weeks back and, as a mentioned above, decided the reason was probably because they don’t have any political weights or controls on their sample. That’s my view too.

  36. oldnat: I’m just waiting for the USA to realise that the Jason Islands (or Islas Sebaldes) within the archipelago are actually owned by Bronx Zoo, and for them to claim a share of the oil resources.

    Very little of Scotland is actually owned by Scots (estates, farms, reserves, lochs, rivers, urban developments etc.). Be careful what you wish for!

  37. STEVE2

    I really regret the demise of the smiley here! LOL

  38. TF
    All that (whatever it was) religious (was it that?) badinage passed me by, but your polling reports and analysis are much appreciated and admired, so I hope that is clear.

  39. I agree with Anthony.

    (Always wanted to write that).

  40. Does anyone understand why the USA wants the dollar to be so strong, against € and yen (yes and against £)?

  41. James 2612

    “Brits … they’re even allowing the Scots to do so.”

    Who are these ‘Brits’? I understand that the phrase ‘A allows B’ implies that A and B are different people(s). But the Scots are British, and will remain so whether or not the political Union is dissolved!

    Well I wasn’t being entirely serious with that particular comment (we really do need smileys back). I was also deliberately using ‘Brit’ because of its vagueness – using ‘UK’ would have possibly led to discussion of Ireland (North and South) which is somewhere that Patria-style arguments play more strongly. But as it happens you’re wrong anyway.

    ‘A allows B’ doesn’t at all imply two separate groups of people. For example if the UK Parliament allows gay people to get married in England and Wales, that doesn’t mean that no gay people in Parliament.

    And to say someone is ‘British’ has all sorts of meanings. For a start it could refer to (i) nationality as per passport; (ii) location as on the island of Britain; or (iii) ethnicity as opposed to say Anglo-Saxon. If political union was dissolved (ii) would still be true, but (i) wouldn’t be and is probably the most common usage and (iii) is a whole other can of worms.

  42. Howard – don’t hold back, I’m happy for people to write it more often ;)

  43. @AW If a company ‘does not use political weighting’ does that mean that a) it does not adjust for differences in the sample from what would be expected from the last relevant election b) that they don’t have a rule for apportioning they don’t know c) they don’t have either of these things or d) something elee entirely.

  44. @Howard

    The US address it’s balance of payments problem by keeping the US Dollar much stronger than it’s actual internal purchasing power. This means that while it has a huge amount of imports, it’s ‘purchasing’ those imports far below the ‘real’ price in their internal market. Sudden devaluation of the dollar is a hard-landing scenario for the US economy.

  45. Whilst I agree that byelections are strange beasts and do not relect national polling and the figures can’t be directly comparable, Eastleigh did show similar drops in Coalition VI to national polling. With regard to UKIP out performing its national polling, I have a hunch that there may be a shy Kipper phenomenum, but this will only be seen after the event, not detected through polling.

  46. Howard

    Why do you think that the US wants the dollar to be strong, its true that the dollar is stronger than its balance of trade should allow and thats because of it beimg the worlds reserve currency, most notablly the fact that oil is priced in dollars means that all oil importing countries must have dollars and all oil exporting countries have more dollars than they know what to doo with(a lot of those dollars end up back in the states buying stocks bonds and property) and while the US will do whatever it takes to retain the dollar as reserve currency(iraq, libya, iran, all of whom have tried to price oil in something other than dollars) that doesnt mean that they are not actively trying to weaken their currency especially against the yuan. While the US does like to point the finger at other countries as currency manipulators(china) most of the complaints about currency manipulation are coming from emerging markets directed at the US. However it aint easy to devaule your currency in the present environment because every other country wants to do the same thing. We have now got to the stage of tit for tat printing, the Japanese in particular are desperate to get their currency down having over the years seen their currency rise from 125 yen to the dollar to until quite recently less than 80, it touched 95 last week and its thought that is the target of the BoJ. Of course for the US devaluing their currency is a dangerous game because its basically devaluing the savings of all the countries, companies and individuals that hold dollars, making them think twice about supporting king dollar. Indeed there has been a range of bilateral deals to use local currencies in trade instead of dollars most notably between russia and china. There also seems to be a block emerging arguing for a new reserve currency centred around russia, china and iran(them again). It might well be that the US seems to be making conciliatory noises in the currency wars to reassure holders of dollars that the US is committed to the dollar being a store of value but while they are printing 80 billion+ every month its going to be a difficult sell. So far the dollar remains reserve currency because of the lack of an acceptable alternative and because the US has proved that it will fcuk you up big time if you try and change the status quo

  47. Charles – the first one.


    “Better that they get their own house in order.”


    You may be waiting quite a long time for that to happen…

  49. @ Aw (Just to add to the questions!)

    I wonder if you have any view on the way that polling companies now weight etc in terms of anticipating late changes in voting intention.

    By that I mean that historically we have got used to the gap closing for the government party during the election campaign itself and maybe in the 6 months leading up to an election as people are more focused on chosing their party. If the don’t knows are being reallocated do you think this means late swings are less likely and this has already been incorporated into polling figures?

  50. Hello all
    What exactly does “swing” mean? I realised recently I actually don’t know, despite all those years watching Peter Snow’s pendulum.
    Say you have a vote share of Lab 29%, Con 37%, and then an “8% swing to Labour”, does that leave us on Lab 37% Con 29%? Or is it 4% each, leaving Lab 33% Con 33%? Or does it mean Con lose 8% of their 37%, i.e. about three percentage points, to Lab?
    Constituency results where, say, Con loses 10%, Lab gains 1% and other parties gained the rest can still be expressed as a swing Con to Lab, how is it worked out?

1 2 3