Newsnight has made a bold attempt at actually commissioning some polling to try and shed some light on whether there will be substantial immigration to Britain from Bulgaria and Romania once restrictions are lifted at the end of this year, commissioning polls from Vitosha in Bulgaria and Gallup in Romania to find out what proportion of Bulgarian and Romanian people actually are likely to move to Britain.

Let’s start with the Bulgarian survey. 37% of Bulgarians said that in the last 5 years they had considered moving to live and work abroad. “Consider” is a fairly low bar to begin with though, does sitting back and pondering whether it would be quite nice to live in the south of France count as “considering moving to live abroad”, or does it require serious consideration? To put this in context, in 2012 YouGov found 6% of British people are actively considering moving abroad and 42% would seriously consider doing so. Have half the British population actually upped sticks and left? Of course not, for most of those people it was an idle whim or a pipe dream. No doubt it is the same for most of those Romanians and Bulgarians surveyed.

To try and set the bar a bit higher, therefore, Vitosha and Gallup asked people whether they had any actual plans to move aboard, 31% said they intended to go and work abroad in either 2013 or 2014. 19% said they are looking for work abroad, 15% they have actually started to prepare plans to work abroad.

The next consideration is whether those people are looking to move to Britain – there are, after all, several other countries in the EU! Asked where they are planning to go, just under of third of those intending to go to seek work abroad in 2013 or 2014 said Britain (it looks as though they could say more than one place) – equating to 9% of the total sample.

This is still largely just measuring aspiration though, so the poll then asked if they have made any concrete preparations for the move, 52% said they had, 47% had not (in terms of what this meant, a majority said they made been in contact with someone working in Britain, half said they had looked for a job there through a recruiting agency, 16% that they’d looked for somewhere to live). What it boils down to is that just under 3% of Bulgarians say they have looked for a job in the UK through a recruitment agency, just over 1% without.

The working age population of Bulgaria is just under 5 million, so in the unlikely event that all those Bulgarians who have enquired about job opportunities in Britain find one (and the majority of respondents said they were only interested in moving if there was a firm job offer, hardly anyone said they were planning on moving speculatively), it would equate to something under 200,000 Bulgarians.

The Romanian survey was structured in much the same way, though there was less interest there in moving to the UK (the most popular destinations for would-be Romanian emmigrants were Italy and Germany) and those that did mention the UK as their favoured location were less likely to have actually made any concrete plans. Only just over 1% of Romanians had made any attempt to enquire about job opportunities in the UK. The working age population of Romania is about 15 million, so in the equally unlikely event that all those Romanians who have enquired about job opportunities in Britain found one, it would equate to something under 150,000 Romanians moving to the UK.

I would still urge a lot of caution with even these figures. The margin of error on a normal poll of 1000 is plus or minus 3%, so one should hardly read too much into figures of about 4% and about 1%. Equally people will naturally overestimate their likelihood of taking major life changing decisions – it is far easier to ring up a recruitment agency and ask if they have any jobs going in Britain than it is to actually uproot your life and move to a foreign country, far easier to look for a job than it is to find one. What we can say with some certainly is that bonkers claims about half the entire population of Bulgaria and Romania moving to the UK are, indeed, still bonkers.

261 Responses to “Newsnight polls of Bulgaria and Romania”

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  1. Ed might have decided that if he accepts the Blair/Thatcher consensus he would have to goven that way which would make him a one term prime minister and likely the last labour pm for a generation, just maybe ed is thinking ahead more than one election. Well we can hope

  2. @Colin – “I meant to ask-please can you provide a source link to your claim that expenditure has suddenly been treated on a cash basis rather than an accruals basis.
    Is it somewhere in the ONS statement?”

    Not that I am aware of, but it has been reported widely in the media. The Telegraph ran a report around mid March detailing how the Treasury was desperately trying to get departments to delay making payments committed in fy 2012/13 until after the start of the new fy, and I’ve seen similar reports in the Guardian and on the BBC, including from a number of city commentators commenting on the figures today.

    My own experience also shows this, with the unheard of situation where I’ve been told not to spend grant money allocated last year until after April 6th. In any previous scheme we have had to complete and draw down such grants before the year end or lose the money.

  3. Turk and Woodsman,
    We buy our hens from Abergavenny market,from the splendidly named Mr
    Welsh Egg.The hens are Warrens who lay an egg a day all year round,although we do feed them very well on chicken food and all our household scraps.

    Regarding matters in hand,surely things must be awry if narrowly avoiding a
    Triple dip recession is regarded as some sort of political triumph?

  4. STEVE2

    “Confusing ‘weariness with austerity budgets’ with ‘a preference to increase borrowing and spending’ is an extremely weak correlation at best.”


    Yes, it is important not to be confused by that. Because of course, you can simply spend the money differently to get a better outcome. As opposed to just assuming that a different approach automatically implies lots more spending.

    The current approach did not bring down borrowing the way it was claimed. Austerity has been extended years into the future.

  5. @ Spearmint.
    “We’ll have to see if Labour’s slump persists, but at the moment I’m inclined to lay most of the blame at the feet of Mr. Farage.”

    Thanks for data. Nice to move on from the (tedious) debate about Thatcher’s obsequies. I would interpret yr comment re UKIP as the following:

    A high Labour VI — i.e., 41-44% — depends on:
    (a) Lab retaining 90%+ of 2010 Lab voters (b) 38-40% of 2010 Lib-Dem voters declaring a Labour VI.
    Whereas, (c) Variations in the no. of 2010 Tories defecting to Lab are irrelevant as they are few in no & static?

    Labour’s “slump” to 38-40% reflects:
    (a) an increase in proportion of 2010 Lab voters declaring a UKIP VI, from say 2-3% to 10%+.
    (b) Lab’s “loss” of some 2010 Lib-Dem voters, but these have not shifted back to the Lib-Dems, or to the Tories, but to UKIP?
    (c) Tory VI is, one or two slumps aside, pretty steady in the low 30s; slightly firmed up by their recent tactic, as Woodsman nicely summed up, of picking a fight with all & sundry, esp. “opponents” to whom the word Unioin could be attached.
    This strategy has won back a trifle from UKIP & slightly increased their share of the 2010 Lib-Dem voters.
    Again, movements between Tories & Lab are tiny & thus irrelevant.

  6. Steve

    Labours share has been around 40% (MOE +/-3%) for the last 2 Years

    I posted some figures a week or so back on this. I’ve gone into a bit more detail on the numbers today.

    If my records are correct, since 1 Dec 2010, there have been 588 YG polls posted. Of those, a grand total of TEN have shown Labour outside the range 42% +/-3% MoE.

    Nine of those had Lab on 38. One had Lab on 36.

    All bar 2 of those 10 came in the period 12 Jan-23 Feb 2012, immediately after the abortive putsch by the Blue Laborites where there was a concerted effort to destabilise EM.

    It’s clear to me. As long as the Blue Labour mob keep their public gobs shut, the Tories cannot rely on Miliband winning them the election in 15.

  7. @ Paul Croft

    Yeh, this site needs an election: we usually do.

    I’ve been hiding in my shed recently to avoid blanket coverage of Thatcher & Boston manhunt.
    Now my daughter tells me a Royal baby is due & it might be twins. I have ordered a nuclear shelter for this event, but doubt it will be ready in time.

  8. All very interesting stuff Robbiealive but how about by May 2015 it just might have dawned on enough people that although its hurting there really is no other way out of the mess the last Labour government played a big part in getting us to this awful position in the first place.
    Are they really the best ones to get us out of the financial mess we now find ourselves. – I think not may be the reply.
    Just a nice little Hypothocating like the others on here!

  9. Yes I agree Robbie thanks to Spearmint for the rolling average.
    Labour VI certainly appeared to drop with some going to UKIP in early March and like the Tory – UKIP VI most can be expected to come back in 2015.

    LD-UKIP is a new protest home so harder judge if it will return.

    So for example, UKIP down 7 between now and the GE might be a net 4% for the Tories with a 5.5% – 1.5% split. (Ignoring those that become WV)

    I think though there has been at the very least a consolidation of the Lab VI fall and possibly a slight further decline. Let’s see if it sustains or it rises on the 5 poll average and/or on Statgeeks MAD numbers.

    As a LP member I am not concerned just yet but watchful.

  10. Mark – pleeeese.


    Nice summary .

    Regarding your point c a “good” example yesterday would be Hunt “accusing” the Royal College of Nursing of being a trade union which is of course their core role and chipping in to say they didn’t pick up on Mid Staffs which of course isn’t their role at all as they aren’t the regulators of the NHS.

  12. “Are they really the best ones to get us out of the financial mess we now find ourselves. – I think not may be the reply.
    Just a nice little Hypothocating like the others on here!”


    Well you can always look at the polling Mark. Are people enamored with the government’s economic strategy vs how they view Labour on the economy…

    But that is a snapshot. You then have to consider how people may feel if growth continues to elude. ..

  13. But then again, the ongoing slow demise of the Tory party support from the heady days of the depths of the 08 recession shows no sign of abating.

  14. AW – your mod-correcting beats my attempt to beat the automod. Apologies for the multiple posts.

  15. Actually that might be an interesting polling question. To ask people how they might vote if the economy fails to puck up sufficiently. ..

  16. @ Mark
    “Just a nice little Hypothocating like the others on here!”

    Mark you ought to look up the difference between the meaning/spelling of hypothecate and hypothesis.
    I I cannot spell for toffees or a sausage — both words horrors for me — but these things can be checked.

  17. @ Carfrew

    To ask people how they might vote if the economy fails to puck up sufficiently. ..
    With Mark Carney being Canadian, I like your (accidental?) use of the word ‘puck’ instead of ‘buck’. :-)

  18. Carfrew – god no! People are hopeless even at comparatively concrete hypothetical questions like “if X was leader”, more abstract hypotheticals on the state of the economy would be completely useless.

  19. @ Carfrew

    ‘puck’ instead of ‘buck’…. or instead of ‘pick’?

  20. @amber

    Lol, I actually meant to use the word “pick”. Auto-correct is the bane of our lives. And auto-mod. But it does sometimes by chance add something extra…

  21. @AW

    Yes, the minute I posted that I could see reasons why it may not happinate. I do think it would be interesting though, if not accurate. Because part of VI is about perception so it can reveal how people assume they think about things then you can compare with reality. It’s more info on how perceptions can get distorted etc.

  22. Two years ahead is way too far ahead for many people to think about in that sort of detail, this is why the usual GE question asks about a theoretical GE today (or soon, assuming there is an election campaign under way)

    With no details from the opposition (leaving aside the reasons why) as to what they would do, the question becomes even harder.

  23. mark johnson

    have you considered getting yourself a non wi-fi shed?

  24. @Paulcroft – what on earth do you mean?
    Do I take it you prefer to see only pro Labour remarks on here or you get a bit worked up about the fact that someone might have a different opinion to you – you puzzle me.

  25. @ Lefty
    Thanks for yours of 2.31. A timely reminder, despite received wisdom, of how steady Lab’s VI has been and that the real story is the churn below. It seems like the lesson might be that shutting up and letting EdM get on with the job is the way to go …

  26. @Keith

    I don’t know how true that is. I mean I wouldn’t deny it may well be true for a significant proportion, but equally there are others who take future political outcomes into account. God knows I do, and it makes life a lot easier. I mean there are obvious examples. .. it was likely given both Labour’s economic policy (and banks behaviour) that a “correction” was likely (though the scale of it was a shock). Equally I know people who work in education and you had to anticipate the likely outcome of the election on Ofsted so you could plan for it.

    Once austerity was announced that meant revising one’s expectations given the likely economic impact. I know plenty people who try and take this stuff into account. But that would partly be the point. To try and ascertain to what extent people do try and how well they read it.

  27. Woodsman

    I’ve got about 100 Sussex hens and about 50 Derbyshire redcaps, on about an acre of land as there good foragers, we had some fox problems getting in the coops lost about 15 hens which had an effect on laying for a short while but they’ve pick up again.

  28. What Austerity?

    I was really concerned at the Wimbledon winners picking up a meagre £10,000 a minute.

    Glad their pay has risen to £14000 a minute which interestingly is more than someone on minimum wage gets in a Year!

  29. Turk

    Ah, that would explain it! He’s always about somewhere that fox….

    Derbyshire Redcaps are a new one on me.

    Ann in Wales

    That’s good going!

    We’ve a few Black Rocks and Marans roaming round as they please, gorgeous plumage right now.

  30. “‘puck’ instead of ‘buck’…. or instead of ‘pick’?”

    There is another word similar to ‘puck’ that could describe our economy at present……

  31. @Steve,

    “Missing a Triple Dip real or imagined by 0.1% or so can hardly be regarded as a resounding success”

    I totally agree. But given the current expectations of GDP for the first quarter of 2013, anything that isn’t in minus territory would be a huge relief for GO and the government, especially as it would avoid negative media reaction regarding a triple dip. That is certainly all the government can hope for at present.

  32. @ Alec

    There is another word similar to ‘puck’ that could describe our economy at present……
    Do army lads team it with ‘cluster’?

  33. @ Lefty

    All bar 2 of those 10 came in the period 12 Jan-23 Feb 2012, immediately after the abortive putsch by the Blue Labourites where there was a concerted effort to destabilise EM.
    I though it was the Purple Bookers, hoping to replace Ed with David, who were behind it; it just goes to show how cunning Labourites are when it comes to giving their leader the putsch; it’s not even clear who’s putsching & who’s pulling. ;-)

  34. Be sure to send Miliband a clear message by voting BNP at the next election, Reg.

  35. I did the rest of the rolling averages, since people seemed to enjoy the first one:

    Lib Dem:

    They’re all scaled the same except for the last, so the magnitude of the changes are comparable. You can see Labour and the Conservatives falling off their pre-Eastleigh plateaus as Ukip picks up.

    The post-Thatcher Tory bounce is clear, but weirdly predates the Labour decline, and Ukip aren’t declining enough to explain it. So it’s a minor mystery. MoE?

  36. Amber

    It’s all the same to me. Any colour bar the deepest red is worthy of nothing but contempt.

    Errr… Present company except obviously.

  37. mark johnson

    It was a mild joke, as lots of people do seem to be retiring to their sheds and I am jealous. However, since you are kind enough to ask my opinion I prefer sensible analysis of any shade rather than somewhat pointless and petty partisanship. Its just a bit dull to read after a bit.


  38. Robbie,

    I broadly agree with all of that although I don’t think Labour are losing too many of the Lib Dem defectors to Ukip. I reckon most of the Ukip-inclined protest voters never returned to Labour in the first place- too establishment. It’s 2010 Labour voters they’re losing.

    But I wonder how much difference it makes electorally. Ukip seems to be doing extremely well in the North as the Acceptable Face of Toryism for ex-Labour voters disgruntled about immigration, falling living standards, and the yuppification of the political class. But as long as those votes are being lost in deep red seats, they don’t actually matter to anything but the midterm polling percentages. If you take a seat like Rotherham, Labour can afford to throw those votes away- they could literally take a few ballot boxes and set them on fire- and it would make no difference to the result.

    And in any given marginal a Ukip presence probably hurts the Tories, and possibly the Lib Dems, more than it hurts Labour.

    Also I’m not convinced the “Tough on teachers, tough on the causes of teachers” stuff is doing the Tories as much good as they think it is. Tory VI really only started firming up post-Thatcher, and we won’t know whether it’s a bounce based on the saturation coverage or genuine support for their stance for another few weeks.

  39. Woodsman

    Derbyshire Redcaps were an everyday bird before ww2 but went out of fashion after the war there not very good sitters but very hardy, it’s quite a rare breed these days,and as my daughter likes rare breeds and apparently she’s in charge since I retired from the farm we have 50 birds that do precious little than that look pretty and eat a lot of feed, must be some sort of political connection in that sentence, but enough of chickens more polls please.

  40. Lefty,

    Thanks for the data- that’s interesting, and it’s a good yardstick for us now. If Labour start getting a bunch of 38s we’ll know something is up.

    Good luck getting the Blairites to stop whining. Although the serving MPs have actually been pretty well-behaved, compared to the Tories in the past twenty years or the Labour Party ever. It’s Blair and Mandelson and the other people with nothing to lose but their tax cuts who can’t seem to control themselves.

  41. Turk – thought they sounded a bit leftist for you!

  42. Tough on teacher, tough on the causes of teachers, lol, that just too funny, I suppose that parents are the cause of teachers

  43. Is the notion of non-partisan discussion too abstract for some to understand ?

  44. The bit about the chickens was very non-partisan, I thought.

  45. STEVE

    @” “good” example yesterday would be Hunt “accusing” the Royal College of Nursing of being a trade union which is of course their core role ”

    They have dual status which many might consider unusual & questionable.

    ie as Royal College promoting excellent practice, and at the same time as a Union, promoting and protecting the welfare and interest of its members.

    The question must be -is there the danger of a conflict of interest between the promotion of best practice for maximum patient care; and promotion of the interests of practitioners ?

    Other Royal Colleges think so-The Royal College of Surgeons and of Physicians, for example, which focuses on patient care via best practice.

    The Francis Report appears to have reached the same conclusion, recommending that Royal College of Nursing break off this dual function, to become solely focused on excellent nursing and care standards, with a relentless patient, not practitioner focus.

    On Monday, the Royal College of Nursing Congress voted, by an overwhelming majority, to keep its dual status , rejecting the post Mid Staffs Francis Report.

  46. Ambivalent Supporter

    @” That is certainly all the government can hope for at present.”

    Well -not entirely all perhaps ?

  47. Paul Croft
    Why teh poor moderation activity?

    Anthony actually doing a job of work / bathing the kids / watching a crap TV programme ?

    – instead of wasting his time on here?

    It has been dire has it not today? Still, I’ve finished my coffee now and time for the footy Mrs H tells me.

  48. Mike Smithson speculates that the drop in fuel at the pump-5p to 6p /litre over the last couple of weeks-might have helped Con’s VI.

    Interesting thought -the sort of nitty gritty issue which does impact in the real world, away from all the psephological theorising.

    I could understand it being behind those Approval score improvements.

  49. LIZH

    If I may say so that is a ludicrous thing to say on any basis.

    Firstly this site is populated mainly by Labour supporters at present. Over the years this has fluctuated, with political representation of contributors varying with the popularity of their party of allegiance.
    At present, therefore Tory contributors tend to be in a minority, and intermittent.

    Secondly the political allegiance of the site’s owner plays no part in his administration of it, his thread opinions, or his moderation activities.

  50. LIZH…………Since you think UKPR is a Tory site, and I think that it’s a Lefty site, AW must be perfect.

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