This morning there was a substantial YouGov poll on EU renegotiation in the Sun – the full tabs are here. YouGov have done regular tracker polls in the past on how people would vote in a referendum on the EU, which tend to show a slight majority for leaving as things are, but a hefty majority for staying in if David Cameron manages a renegotiation of some sort and recommends a yes vote. It raises the question though of what exactly would past muster as a renegotiation.

On the principle of renegotiation most people think it is desirable – three-quarters of people want to see some renegotiation of Britain’s relationship with the EU, but are split over how extensive it needs to be. 24% think our current relationship is broadly okay as it is, and just needs some reassurances and rule changes. 27% want to see more substantial renegotiation with opt outs or changes to EU powers. 25% think there needs to be massive and fundamental changes for EU membership to be in British interests. Asked what things they’d like to see as part of renegotiation, what powers they’d like to see returned, immigration unsurprisingly came out top (and the related issue of benefit rights for EU migrants came third).

However, whatever they might like to see, in practical terms only 15% think that other EU countries would agree to significant changes. 43% think only minor changes and clarifications are achievable, 24% think other EU countries wouldn’t agree to any changes at all.

So, how would people vote if there was only a modest renegotiation?

  • If David Cameron secures a major renegotiation of Britain’s relationship with the European Union, with substantial changes and opt outs then 52% of people say they would vote to stay in, 23% would still vote to leave.
  • Realistically however, the chances of David Cameron getting massive British opt outs are probably quite remote – more likely if it happens he’ll get some more modest rule changes and guarantees, but no major changes in which areas the EU has powers. In that scenario then the vote would be much closer – 39% say they would vote to stay, 38% would vote to leave.
  • Finally, if David Cameron secured no renegotiation at all and had to come back and hold a referendum on the relationship with the EU as it is now 32% say would vote to stay, 45% would vote to leave.

Of course, these are just snapshots of the present situation, not predictions of what would happen after a referendum campaign… a lot could change in an actual EU membership referendum campaign (remember early AV referendum polls!), but it underlines the importance of the renegotiation and how it ends up being framed in the public debate – a referendum in the wake of what is portrayed as a win that protects British interests would be very different from a referendum in the wake of a perceived failure to get a good deal for Britain.

Meanwhile, tonight’s regular daily YouGov poll for the Sun has topline figures of CON 34%, LAB 38%, LD 10%, UKIP 11%


174 Responses to “EU renegotiations and referendums”

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  1. On the subject of the colour-coding of posts according to political affiliation, why don’t we re-introduce the practice but include a colour for what I call the faux-neutrals. You know the ones;” I think they’ll all as bad as each other, I wouldn’t vote for any of them, I’m a definite non-Tory but….. blah de blah”

    Wouldn’t yellow be an appropriate colour? Mr Holier-than-thou rides again! lol.

    As an aside, I must say that some of this retrospective rubbishing of our old friend Eoin Clarke smacks of humbug to me. I had my disagreements with him but recall his rather eccentric contributions with a degree of fondness. If I remember rightly, when he took his leave of us after a long running spat with Rob Sheffield, the very people now denouncing him rode to his defence then, accusing Rob, another old friend of mine(!), of bullying Eoin. My recollection of that turbulent episode, when even law suits were threatened, was that his defence team numbered Colin, Neil A and, remarkably, Roland Haines amongst its leading lights. The now lionised Rob was the villain of the piece in those days!

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  2. Robert Newark

    I suspect our wives would get on rather well.

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  3. ROSIE AND DAISY

    “Sounds a bit like a rough area NIck”

    I don’t know about that . All I see from my window is the wall of the next prison cell……

    HOWARD

    “Gut Instinct etc”

    My reference to my own street was simply to illustrate my point that tribal politics is not what it was. In 1970 something approaching 90% of the electorate voted for the two main parties. Perhaps you can remind us how that compared to 2010.

    VARIOUS OTHERS

    Please explain why when Party A increases its opinion poll lead over Party B it is correct to describe it in such terms as pulling away but when the lead narrows it is wrong to say it is slipping and therefore of no statistical consequence. I am 66 so I do get confused these days when attempting to acquaint myself with modern interpretations of the stats. I know that several of you out there will want to help an old man get to grips with this. Be kind.

    COLIN DAVIS

    I enjoyed your lucid and reasoned response to my last post. I would just like to ask you a question or two about austerity.
    You said in your post that “…But its not hard to show that Austerity is not the only option…..” Austerity and cuts are at the heart of the political debate all over Europe I think you”ll agree. This scenario is going to continue for many years because what the banking crisis did was bring forward the day of reckoning for the future of the European state funded social welfare model. In the UK for example neither the NHS nor pensions can be funded at their present levels without more money from somewhere. The centre right and some on the non socialist left have of course argued the case for austerity and have implemented this right across the continent where the voters have put them in office which is pretty well everywhere except France.

    But what is the left’s response to this in an era where there is no money? Borrowing is no longer an option because both we and much of Europe have reached the limit of what we can afford to pay on our existing loans. So what does the Left suggest Colin? Where is the response to the prevailing centre right view? Taxing a few rich people won’t keep the wolf from the door. If austerity is not the only option then what is? A floundering President Hollande in France clearly has not found an answer but there and elsewhere the Left has to find an option or it will find itself outflanked as it was in Greece where the Socialist party has gone into meltdown. It could happen here. Don’t bet against it Colin!

    Happy Christmas everyone.

    [Hi Nick - this really isn't a place for political debate. If for discussing what polling suggests the wider public think of policies and parties, not debating what each other think. For discussing if policies are popular, not if they're right! I had to steer Colin away from getting into a debate yesterday, so the same to you - this really isn't the place to discuss if the government's economy policies are right - AW]

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  4. Nick Keene

    “This scenario is going to continue for many years because what the banking crisis did was bring forward the day of reckoning for the future of the European state funded social welfare model. ”

    So good to see another posting here who sees this as clearly as I do. I have been making the same point for at least the last two years although less eloquently.

    Have a Happy Christmas and please keep posting.

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  5. @ Nick,

    Please explain why when Party A increases its opinion poll lead over Party B it is correct to describe it in such terms as pulling away but when the lead narrows it is wrong to say it is slipping and therefore of no statistical consequence.

    It was wrong to say either, because we really should be looking at the VIs, not the lead. If Labour remains static but the lead increases, it is not pulling away, and if Labour remains static but the lead decreases, it is not slipping (but rather the Tories are gaining).

    Therefore, what occurred after the omnishambles budget when Labour VI increased to the mid forties was “pulling away”, and what occurred last spring when the Labour VI fell from the low forties to the high thirties was a “slip” even though falling Tory VIs kept the lead relatively static for most of the spring. What occurred this summer when the Labour VI remained static but the Tory VI increased and the lead narrowed was the Tories gaining, although we can’t call it “pulling away” until they’re actually in front.

    But what is the left’s response to this in an era where there is no money?

    Scandinavian taxation levels and fewer daft penny wise/pound foolish polices like cutting social care budgets so the elderly end up in A&E. (Not that the Labour Party will admit that the former is a necessary part of their vision for the public sector.)

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  6. Final Populus poll of 2013 is out, with an 8 point lead:

    Lab 40 (=); Cons 32 (-1); LD 12 (-1); UKIP 8 (=); Oth 8 (+1)

    Tabs http://popu.lu/s_vi201213

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  7. So…90 plus seat majority for Lab.

    []

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  8. CB11

    @”If I remember rightly, when he took his leave of us after a long running spat with Rob Sheffield, the very people now denouncing him rode to his defence then, accusing Rob, another old friend of mine(!), of bullying Eoin. ”

    You remember correctly-and are right to include me in that group.

    RS was capable of some of the most devastating put downs I have read-I was the subject of a few.

    When EC asked me to “support” his new blog-Green Benches I readily agreed & contributed. But the site gradually changed, and the EC which Rob had discerned & lambasted here-and I had failed to see , soon became apparent.

    RS was a very tough debater-but he was ( is !)honest & intellectually credible.

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  9. I like Eoin very much, whereas I thought Rob S, whilst very smart, was quite abrasive and rude. I don’t think I have “rubbished” Eoin. I just followed a link to his blog, had a glance at a recent entry that listed a few hundred “closed” Sure Start centres and spotted one that wasn’t. I recall that one of things that sometimes used to cause conflict was Eoin making assertions that weren’t always based on verifiable data, hence my remark about factchecking. I am sorry if it came across as an attack (and Eoin, if you still lurk here, a personal apology to you).

    Interesting polling picture to close the year (well, not that interesting but not quite polldrums). Tories will be ever so slightly encouraged by the slight tightening in YG scores, but the picture across all of the polls still puts them well outside any kind of “comfort zone” as they go into what will be a crucial year for party politics.

    They will really be hoping to see the average gap narrowing by at least a couple more points before this year’s key polling dates. So long as the story is about Tories trailing badly, party unity and morale will be a major problem for them.

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  10. @Spearmint

    “Final Populus poll of 2013 is out, with an 8 point lead:
    Lab 40 (=); Cons 32 (-1); LD 12 (-1); UKIP 8 (=); Oth 8 (+1)”

    The Populus polls are interesting. Although not quite as regular as YouGov, we’ve had 37 since they re-appeared on the scene earlier in the year and for much of that time, and slightly out of kilter with other pollsters, they were showing much smaller Labour leads. I’ve just been trawling the archives and it wasn’t uncommon for them to be showing 4-5% Labour leads, sometimes as little as 3%, and it was rare to see anything much bigger than 6%. However more recently, and it might be worth keeping an eye on this, they’ve been showing the Labour lead edging upwards, mainly on the back of a higher Labour VI score. They’ve had Labour on 40, or over, in five of their last eight polls. It may signify little or nothing, but interesting nonetheless. They’re not a pollster whose methodology traditionally overestimates Labour. In fact, quite the contrary.

    @Colin.

    “RS was capable of some of the most devastating put downs I have read- I was the subject of a few”

    Good Lord, Anthony must have been asleep on the job, or might you be exaggerating somewhat!

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  11. No prior experience of Eoin Clarke, but someone rates him as 54th among the worst on twitter (I have no prior experience of the author of the 100 worst either, so I have to look further):

    http://100worstpeopleontwitter.tumblr.com/post/29775170778/54-dr-eoin-clarke-phd

    A quick browse of the Green Benches site shows me:

    http://www.greenbenchesuk.com/2012/12/an-apology-to-virgin-care-for.html

    “I, Dr Eoin Clarke, apologise wholly and unreservedly to Virgin Care, its employees, subsidiaries and service users, as well as my readers, for writing over 46 blog entries that contained false, inaccurate and defamatory statements. In light of this, I have decided to remove all of the articles from the internet and shall not publish them again. I sincerely regret this error of judgment and request that my readers take the time to reflect and reconsider any opinions they have formed as a result of reading my blog.”

    One or two might be an acceptable error margin, but 46?

    Looking at the Twitter latest, I see Chris Bryant, Lucy Powell, Glyn Davies and Ian Mearns, and I dare say many of the other Twitterati on there are similar. Don’t they get paid to be busy doing other things?

    He seems like a Katie Hopkins-esc type, where Twitter is a tool to stir up controversy, and so-what if the facts don’t fit.

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  12. CB11

    I suppose RS managed to mount his attacks & brutal analysis without breaching the rules on partisanity.

    Whatever-he spotted zealotry masquerading as open mindedness before I did..

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  13. Don’t know this person but can we stop slagging off somebody who ain’t here?

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  14. That seems like some sage advice to me.

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  15. @ Crossbat11,

    It’s down to their Ukip downgrading. Now that Ukip is drawing from Labour (or more precisely, defectors to Labour) as well as the Tories, pulling Ukip out increases both the Tory and Labour VIs, so it also proportionally increases the lead.

    I wouldn’t read too much into it, although I suppose it might be relevant to the marginals if the big parties can squeeze the Ukip vote there.

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  16. I agree with Colin. I looked at the Eoin blog for a while and wrote to it a few times, but then it was as though someone else had taken it over and it was no longer conciliatory in approach or careful with the facts, as has just been mentioned.

    Thanks all for so many replies. I had not realised so many went so far back. I had a long sabbatical from UKPR which lasted nearly a year but one day last year, on returning, regained enthusiasm.

    I do also miss Mr (oh dear forgot the non-de-plume) from Edinburgh – Amber Star knows who I mean. Really incisive analysis from this sophisticated mind. Of course, how could I not name Sue Marsh who was clearly just too interesting for Anthony to ban her for blatant partisanship.. I admire that girl immensely but then I am putty in women’s political hands, even if they just bake cakes like Nigella (see she’s like Boris, only needs a first name).

    Perhaps the old colleagues will look in after Yuletide.

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  17. @Howard

    Great to see you posting still, and nice to be remembered. I I remember the old times with you and Richard in Norway, Julian, Syzygy and Colin and Eoin. Much fun was had, and re breed fondly despite the range of political spectrum.
    Think it is strange that I first posted on here before the last general election, and so much has changed since them with the next election not so far away.
    perhaps I’ll be poll watching again .. But it does seem to jump around so much and I wonder how many will actually turn out and vote.
    in any case, I am still there on the blogosphere, and, as @LizH says, doing outdoorsy things too.
    Hope you all have a great Christmas. P

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  18. That should read remembered, and nothing to do with breeding – oh dear.

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  19. statso

    “Looking at the Twitter latest, I see Chris Bryant, Lucy Powell, Glyn Davies and Ian Mearns, and I dare say many of the other Twitterati on there are similar. Don’t they get paid to be busy doing other things?”

    That’s a bit like saying that they shouldn’t write letters or play tennis or watch footy on telly and could apply to everyone anyway.

    Chill out man – tis the season to be jolly.

    HO HO HO.

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  20. I remember Eoin tended to get very upset if anyone disagreed with him but was uncannily accurate in predicting how few seats the LibDems would win in 2010.

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  21. “I remember Eoin tended to get very upset if anyone disagreed with him ”

    Self-opinionated and rude some might say.

    Not me though: I found him much worse than that and told him so.

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  22. @Howard

    ‘I do also miss Mr (oh dear forgot the non-de-plume) from Edinburgh – Amber Star knows who I mean. Really incisive analysis from this sophisticated mind.’

    Do you mean ‘Hooded Man’ ?

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  23. iaj

    “That should be sobering for all optimistic Tories with “gut feelings” about things.”

    More of a reason to get drunk.

    However, to save them telling you themselves, the election is not until 2015.

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  24. Oops! I have posted to an old thread.

    I’ll try again on the new thread. Disappointed that we don’t have the colours any more.

    I’ll keep the Red Flag flying over my house in Worsley.

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