We’ve had two “new” polls on EU membership this week (the inverted commas are there becuase while the ICM poll out today has fresh fieldwork, the ComRes poll earlier in the week was actually done at the end of September). ICM’s latest figures have REMAIN on 44%, LEAVE on 39% (tabs). ComRes meanwhile had REMAIN on 55%, LEAVE on 36% – a far more solid lead for those wishing to stay in the EU (tabs)

There is obviously sizeable gulf in the figures different polling companies are reporting on the EU referendum. ComRes have done several polls on the EU referendum since the election and have consistently shown REMAIN with a strong lead, in contrast two YouGov polls last month both showed LEAVE with a small lead (though they had been showing a modest lead for stay earlier in the year). ICM have been conducting a weekly tracker on EU voting intention, and their figures tend to show a modest lead for those who want to stay.

Polling methodology is in a period of flux as pollsters reassess their approaches in the light of what went wrong at the general election, but I don’t think that explains the difference here. ComRes have indeed adopted a new turnout model based on socio-economic factors… but the nineteen point lead is without that extra turnout weighting, it would be even bigger with it. It could be a online vs telephone difference – YouGov and the regular ICM tracker are both conducted online, the ComRes polls by telephone – but that’s hardly enough evidence to be confident, there will be many other differences in methodology.

While we can’t really tell why there is a difference, we can say where the difference is: Conservative voters. All three pollsters have Labour voters splitting strongly in favour of staying, albeit with some difference in quite how strongly (ICM had 55% of Labour voters backing REMAIN, YouGov had 58%, ComRes 73%). The contrast among Tory voters was larger, ComRes has Tory voters wanting to stay, ICM has them broadly split, YouGov has them favouring exit: in the most recent polls YouGov had only 33% of current Tory voters wanting to stay, ICM had 42% of 2015 Tory voters, ComRes had 56% backing remaining. In practice, of course, how they Tory vote ends up splitting will depend to a significant extent on the leadership David Cameron gives in the referendum and which senior Tory figures come out in favour of leaving – there’s a long way to go yet.

190 Responses to “Latest EU referendum polling”

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  1. @ Bill Patrick

    Lest we forget, David Cameron began his premiership by issuing an apology on behalf of the UK for Bloody Sunday & the Queen has shaken hands with Martin McGuiness.

    The Telegraph piece isn’t even a news story, it’s an opinion piece (slur piece?) which posits some rather random questions.

    And, at the end of the day, I’m fairly sure that gullible Telegraph reading, Labour voting, Scottish Orangemen are pretty thin on the ground anyway.

  2. @ Syzygy

    It’s always a pleasure to discuss such issues with you.

    I also think we also both appreciate RAF & Laszlo making the effort to confirm that my understanding of the TTIP ISDS framework accords with theirs.

  3. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sovereignty

    “Sovereignty is understood in jurisprudence as the full right and power of a governing body to govern itself without any interference from outside sources or bodies. In political theory, sovereignty is a substantive term designating supreme authority over some polity.”

    TTIP is as bad as the EU imo, if not worse.

  4. Amber Star,

    Do you mean the Andrew Gillgan piece? Because that’s an investigatory article, not an opinion piece, and none of the claims in it have been denied by Corbyn or McDonnell, possibly because they’re in print.

  5. “Vaz ‘s Select Committee to interrogate Watson. Should be interesting.”

    The questions over Dolphin Square came about because of allegations made during the inquiry into child abuse at the North Wales children’s homes that boys from those homes were taken to London to service VIPs.

    Panorama seems to have missed that bit.

    Those allegations weren’t allowed to be discussed in the inquiry – only the stuff that happened in Wales was allowed, anything to do with London was disallowed.

    That’s why the stink never went away.

    All Watson needs to do is demand the inquiry is re-opened to settle the issue once and for all whether boys from the children’s homes were driven to London.

    If it turns out to be no then that’s that.


    I’m just remembering what it was like Laszlo-Benn was the last exponent-and I was around then.

    I read that Corbyn & his key people are “Bennites”.

  7. I still think most of the objection to TTIP is paranoia – worst case thinking, depending on an assumption of hostility and bad faith in those promoting it.

    Yes of course private corporations, particularly large ones, will seek to use whatever legal framework is available to promote their interests. But this is very different from saying that inter-governmental agreements are designed to facilitate this.

    The point of TTIP is to prevent discrimination in favour of domestic companies over foreign companies (this is what free trade means). Clearly issues of interpretation can arise, particularly when there are no local companies, as happens in some oligopolistic markets. So such agreements provide for independent arbitration. It’s daft to assume that such arbitrators will as a matter of course favour large international companies over governments (and of course in an agreement between the EU and the USA governments are neither small nor powerless). The opposite is likely to be the case. However this is certainly a derogation of sovereignty, but only mad nationalists still believe in unencumbered sovereignty.

    What we have here is people opposing free trade for a variety of reasons, and seeking to construct hypothetical but unlikely cases in which the public interest is defeated. I don’t buy it.

    PS: Laszlo yes of course the benefits of free trade are asymmetric, and there are circumstances in which they don’t apply, but we are talking general principles here.

  8. CMJ

    @” I think in the end the democratic will of the nation is the trump card”

    You mean like when investors in Greek government bonds got a 70% haircut because the Greek Government changed the law (on collective action clauses) a few weeks before the Greek Government pushed that haircut through. (be it noted those who invested in English law Greek Government bonds got paid in full because the Greek Government doesn’t have the power to change English law.)

    These things work both ways.

    I don’t think “democratic will” is the right criteria at all-I think it is contract law & the courts are .


    Read this & tell me that JC is not merely influenced by Benn, but wanting to implement what Benn was unable to.


    I draw your attention to this section:-

    “As secretary of state he steered through the public ownership of shipbuilding and aircraft manufacture, supported the Triumph Co-operative at Meriden and spoke at enormous Institute for Workers’ Control conferences.
    I worked at the Engineering Union in the early 1970s and Tony came to our offices to seek support for his industrial strategy because he felt he was being obstructed by the dead hand of officialdom in Whitehall.
    He encouraged us to produce a blueprint for workers’ control of British Leyland. Sadly he was moved on from his ministerial position before this bold move could take place.
    Some of those who vigorously opposed Tony in the 1980s have surfaced again in the aftermath of his death, and are retrospectively trying to blame him for Labour’s 1983 election defeat.
    Yet the manifesto on which that election was fought would be highly appropriate today to deal with the finance and banking crisis that has been visited upon the poorest people in Britain and, indeed, across Europe.
    The real reason for Labour’s 1983 defeat was the defection of a number of leading figures in the Labour Party to the SDP, allowing Thatcher to be re-elected on the same vote as she had achieved in 1979 while calling it a triumph.”

  10. Against the head to head polls, in Vienna the Social Democrats got about 40%, the fascists (sorry, Freedom Party) 30% (which is still very high, but it it’s Wien).

    Not a good year for the polling companies. It seems that radicalisation causes all kinds of problems in the methodology.

  11. By the way, it means that Vienna has had socdem council for a hundred years (apart from the German occupation).

    But the polling companies have really been bad. The ORF’s exit poll was completely off the mark too …

    In any case, Freedom Party got only five percentages more than last time.

  12. “Not a good year for the polling companies. It seems that radicalisation causes all kinds of problems in the methodology.”

    I also wonder about this. Inevitably certain assumptions about “normality” are embedded in the format of polling questions. If there ceases to be a common understanding and acceptance of this, then polling will not, and cannot, achieve what it sets out to do.

    I’ve made this heretical point before, but VI is not the be-all and end-all of political discourse.

  13. @ John Chanin

    I still think most of the objection to TTIP is paranoia – worst case thinking, depending on an assumption of hostility and bad faith in those promoting it.

    Why is it that those who favour TTIP always feel the need to insult people who don’t?

  14. @ Colin

    Yes, there is an issue with social democracy (which is certainly not far left), and that England radicals and social democrats are in the same party. It is also true that Corbyn is a Benn pupil – but only upto a point (the tactic and the scene are very different).

    It is also true that foreign economic policy of Labour was too much influenced (in the wrong way) by the incomes policy, and then it had consequences to statism. Kaldor has a good critique of it.

    However, statism is not a prerogative of the far left – social democrats and radicals aren’t such. And time to time various factions of the right (including the conservatives) flirt with it.

    The legitimising function of “certainty” is a common element.

    Oddly, the civil service is also statist., so we have a pretty big coalition.

    My problem with statism is that it cuts through “natural” business linkages across sectors, purposes and goals (however, the anarchists are also wrong, but I don’t want to test Anthony’s patience).

  15. @ John Chanin
    The trouble with radicalism and polling is manifold.

    The SNP radicalism was well captured in the polls, so the methodology is justified. However, methodologically you have to follow the same pattern with all radicalisms, even though, as it seems to be the case in Vienna, a significant part of the loud radicals happen to support the status quo in the polling booth.

  16. @Amber

    “Why is it that those who favour TTIP always feel the need to insult people who don’t?”

    There’s no insult involved. It’s more bafflement, and I’ve explained why. I don’t think our political views are very far apart.

  17. Apologies, one of the exit polls was wrong in Vienna, the other pretty correct. However, all the pre-election polls were way out.

  18. @ Bill Patrick

    I was referring to the Tim Collins piece in the Telegraph not the Andrew Gilligan one.

  19. @ John Chanin

    Fair enough :-)

  20. Amber Star,

    That would make sense.

  21. @ Amber et al

    ‘I also think we also both appreciate RAF & Laszlo making the effort to confirm that my understanding of the TTIP ISDS framework accords with theirs.’

    Absolutely, thank you all three for giving me some more certainty about the implications of TTIP. Please don’t hesitate to ask, if you have any parasitological queries .. I’d be only too happy to reciprocate :)

  22. “I still think most of the objection to TTIP is paranoia – worst case thinking, depending on an assumption of hostility and bad faith in those promoting it.”

    When power is being shifted to places you have no influence over then worst case thinking is the only sensible option.

    Hence why the people promoting TTIP have been so sneaky about it.

  23. What is known about TTIP has been summarised by Amber, and then she expanded on it at points.

    The thing is: we don’t know much about the details (there are reports that the legislators object to some things in the US, but again not much detail – until someone gives the text to the NYT, which is then too late).

    As Ken pointed out the other day, and I fully agree with it, international business is pretty chaotic. After 30 years of the marching of globalisation, there is no discernibly global rules of the game. National characteristics with some “best practice” bits are stamped all over the global business, and I think it will stay.

    Among the questions about TTIP to me are: 1) is it an attempt to recreate Bretton-Woods with the adjustments to the developments 40 years on?; 2) is it an attempt to recreate the liberal world economy of the pre WW1 period, and of it is, what will substitute for the empires?; 3) is it an attempt to fend of the rising stars by trying to compete in economies of scale, and if so, how would it deal with the emergent economic cycles in the emergent economies – how it is possible to deal with a potential synchronisation of the cycles between the triad and the emergent economies?; 4) is it simply an extension of the privatisation of gains and nationalisation of losses seen at least since the mid 1990s, and if so what will crack in it?; 5) will it create institutions that are beyond the reach of the electorate and even companies, and more importantly, who defines the attributes of these institutions?; 6) while the openness of the negotiations would create an opportunity for lobbying, but the Germans have managed this pretty well (well, we have VW) – or will we have the English method of laws that cannot be implemented followed by lobbying and then secondary legislation (executive supplements) that makes them workable, and if so, how would that work?

  24. I really shouldn’t try to make a long comment on an iPad…

  25. Thanks all for some interesting stuff on TTIP, about which I knew little.

    I am wondering whether the date of the next Ryder Cup – Sept/Oct 2016 is significant for the selection of a date for the EU referendum. It is one of the few occasions where I feel genuinely ‘European’ and the only time I have heard British people chanting ‘Europe, Europe…’

    If we lose at Hazeltine in 2016, then there would be little impact upon the referendum, I would suggest. But if we were to win, then in a vote soon afterwards there would be a significant boost to the ‘Remain’ campaign, in my view.

  26. An interesting viewpoint:-Is Investor Protection really needed in TTIP where ” judicial systems are mostly independent and the rule of law is strong. ”

    It would certainly weed out those opposing ISDS as a cloak for stopping Free Trade between EU & USA


  27. @Amber Star

    Cameron’s apology doesn’t seem to have carried much weight.

  28. The polling for the Canadian election is continuing to take a remarkably similar course to ours – the incumbent Conservatives and the Liberals are now locked together on around 35% with hints of a breakaway always soon proving to be nothing more than margin of error stuff. The one development since the start of the campaign is that the NDP, who were also in what was then a three-way deadlock early on, have fallen away and are now polling in the mid-20s. Stephen Harper, the PM, has generally topped the best PM polls though Justin Trudeau, the Liberal leader, has edged him in three recent polls.

  29. @Amberstar (and others) – thanks for the TTIP info. I’m genuinely uncertain about what this will means and whether it will be on balance, good or bad, but more information is always useful.

    And now, onto energy matters:

    Carlton Energy have just announced that they cannot find any financial backers to build their proposed 1.9GW gas fired plant in Trafford. It certainly won’t be built by the 2018 target date, and looks like being scrapped completely. This is serious.

    The government is auctioning ‘capacity payments’, which companies bid for to get cost effective subsidies for new generation capacity. So far, apart from Carlton Energy, none of these have been taken by new build projects. The long and short of it is that the subsidies are too low to make new gas fired plant remotely cost effective.

    The ‘green carp’ has now been curtailed, to save consumers money on their energy bills, but we need about 1 new gas fire station every year for the next 10 – 15 years if the lights aren’t to go out. The existing levels of wind capacity now means that gas plants run at around 27% capacity (as they are used as standby ‘infill’ generation) which is, oddly enough, about the normal capacity utilisation of wind power, but far too low to make new gas plants cost effective.

    The only option will be to greater increase the capacity payments. To close the profitability gap for new generation capacity, these subsidies will need to rise to a level that equates to the green subsidies that have just been scrapped to save consumers money.

    So – we face a choice of living in the dark, or having power with no savings on bills but much higher carbon emissions.

    in truth, energy policy, such as we have one, is a total mess.

  30. @ Colin

    An interesting viewpoint:-Is Investor Protection really needed in TTIP where ” judicial systems are mostly independent and the rule of law is strong. ”

    That’s precisely the issue. ISDS isn’t needed to ensure that corporations are treated fairly in the EU/ USA. But they seem determined to have it.

    Corporations already have enormous influence over governments but the public get just one chance, every five years, to exert a little collective influence. ISDS increases that power imbalance in favour of corporations & away from the public.

    So, given that corporations are already well protected by the existing EU/USA trading agreements & by the existing legal protections which they enjoy, why are they intractable on ISDS? Why don’t they just take it out?

  31. ALEC

    The negotiations are ongoing-so we will see.

    But I think it would be interesting to separate the protests about TTIP between those-like ECFR which I linked to -who are in favour of Free Trade Agreements, but ambivalent about ISDS; and those who really just don’t like Free Trade.

  32. Interesting and depressing to note that the number of jobs paying below the living wage has grown. Here’s an article on the ONS Report:-


    I see also that the Redcar steelworks are to shut permanently. No buyers found. A devastating blow to the area, I should think.

  33. ALEC

    I see that TPP is reaching a conclusion-though ISDS might be a sticking point in that one too:-


  34. @ Colin

    That’s a fairly decent article which you’ve linked to. I think it aligns quite well with the points which I made in my long comment; but they have a whole article in which to make the same points in greater detail, so it’s worth reading.

  35. @ Colin

    For the avoidance of doubt, I meant the TTIP article which you posted the link to at 8:04am today.

    The link which you’ve posted about TPP (at 3:38pm today) is also very interesting to me; but it is quite technical therefore probably not so easy to understand as the earlier one.

  36. AMBER

    There does seem to be quite reasonable objection to aspects of ISDS.-though I am in favour of Free Trade in general.

    On progress with TTIP itself-you probably saw the reports of the Berlin protest.-and that Campaigners have presented a petition to the EU Commission signed by more than three million people to scrap it.

    This is well organised & impressive resistance-doesn’t look good for Atlantic Free Traders :-)

  37. @Nedludd

    The history of past EU referendums elsewhere in Europe says that the ‘problem’ you identify is a real one. That said, it may be slightly different where there is a perceived high risk to voting against the establishment, as seen in Scotland – most referendums in other European countries won by the anti-establishment side have been on treaties and so forth.

  38. ICM/Guardian telephone poll


    Eng : Con 41% : Lab 35% : UKIP 12% : LD 7% : Grn 3% : Oth 2%

    Small samples, as per normal, but FWIW

    Sco : SNP 54% : Lab 22% : Con 18% : Grn 3% : LD 1% : UKIP 1% : Oth 1%
    Wal : Lab 54% : Con 19% : LD 5% : UKIP 5% : PC 3% : Grn 2% : Oth 3%

    And the aggregation of the 3 political systems –

    GB : Con 38% : Lab 34% : UKIP 11% : LD 6% : SNP 5% : Grn 3% : Oth 2% : PC 1%

  39. A high response rate may have upwardly biased Labour support in Scotland in that poll.

  40. @ Anthony

    Sorry – I will try harder in future. :-)

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