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. “The German chancellor will hold wide-ranging talks with Cameron at the prime minister’s Chequers residence in the afternoon with signs that both the Germans and French are growing frustrated at the lack of precise details emerging from the British side.

    “They want the UK to be more specific over its demands for Cameron recommending Britain stay in the EU in the forthcoming referendum due to be held in 2016 or 2017.”
    Today’s Graun

    I think it would also be fair to let the British public know!

  2. @ Amber

    One can’t help but get the feeling that given the referendum was decided on for reasons of party management, rather than any matter of principle, Cameron himself has no real idea as to what his specific demands are. .

  3. @ Amber Star

    Perhaps it is because for all the promises at the party conference he will need the EU, e.g. for all those houses he promised, builders from Eastern Europe.

  4. @ Kentdalian

    I agree; Cameron will ask Germany & France what they would be willing to give him that he can ‘sell’ to his own party. But what ‘sells’ to Tory back-benchers may well be things which would move Labour voters into the Leave camp. So I think Cameron has landed himself between a rock & a hard place.

    @ Laszlo

    You are quite simply the best at nuanced irony! I salute you :-)

  5. I think it is in just about all the EU leaders’ interests for Cameron to have a deal that he can make a decent stab at selling as a good deal. Nobody in Brussels wants Britain to leave – not just because Britain is an important economy and still politically influential, but because if Britain leaves it won’t be long before other northern European countries start thinking seriously about leaving too and then the EU would have a serious problem. So I expect they’ll give him something that isn’t expected and most, if not all, of the stuff he’s been explicitly talking about. Of course , even that won’t be enough to satisfy lots of people, which is the major problem – if you dig into the polling data what the public would like to see (significant limits on freedom of movement etc.) is just not going to happen. So even an ostensibly successful renegotiation can easily be painted as a failure by opponents.

  6. @Jack Sheldon

    They’ll give him hardly anything new. He may dress up something that already exists or is already permitted by EC/EU law to be something new but that’s his prerogative.

    And it’s only really Germany that wants the UK to stay. France has always seen the UK’s involvement in the European project as merely assuring that it never succeeds but also never fails.

  7. @raf

    “it’s only really Germany that wants the UK to stay”

    Nope, the French want us to stay too. So do the Nordic countries.

    https://yougov.co.uk/news/2015/06/25/europeans-oppose-brexit/

    I wish YouGov would poll some of the others but there you go

  8. The EU doesn’t give the impression these negotiations are its top priority.

  9. @Wolf

    The EU knows it could the UK ‘the moon on a stick’, and we would still whinge about it.

    Given that, why should they expend much energy to please a nation which seems to be unpleasable?

  10. @Omni

    It’s a brave call on the figures in the poll to say that the French want us to stay. 43% stay, 34% leave and 23% DK. Hardly a ringing endorsement of the UK as part of the EU.

    Nordic/Baltic countries – fair enough.

    I also find the Cameron “concessions” highlighted to be strange:

    1. Firstly, kicking out migrants who have failed to secure work after 6 months. That can already be done!
    2. Secondly removing the right to pay child benefit where children are living outside the country providing the benefit isn’t particularly controversial in EU law either. It would depend how the policy is worded.
    3. Finally, excluding EU migrants from claiming UK benefits for 4 years would be consistent with EU law provided that we apply the same rules to our own citizens. Most EU states only play benefits to their own citizens based on how much they have already contributed in taxation. They apply the same rules to those from other EU states. This is fine under EU law as there is no discrimination on the grounds of nationality. The UK’s problem here is that its benefits are largely income based.

  11. @raf

    The French are just being tsundere… some things don’t change.

  12. TTIP is enough to push me to a Leave vote, but maybe tactically a Remain, then next indyref getting kicked out of the EU would be a positive selling point for Yes.

  13. A coupe of people here have said TTIP would be enough to tip (ha) them into voting for exit. But does anyone know the UK government’s stance on TTIP? It sounds like exactly the sort of thing this government would support, and indeed be keen to sign up to independently post-Brexit.

  14. @Somerjohn

    I have heard very little from the Government on their stance on TTIP, and nothing I would class as negative against it.

    I imagine some old-fashioned libertarians in the Tory party might object – David Davis, for example.

  15. @ SomerJohn

    It sounds like exactly the sort of thing this government would support, and indeed be keen to sign up to independently post-Brexit.

    Any agreement signed by a UK parliament can be over-turned by the next UK parliament so TTIP, in the circumstances which you describe, would be reversible.

  16. Hi, gang! Im s**t busy so cannot comment (and given I’m a fan of TTIP and fervently hope it succeeds, perhaps that’s in my interests). This post is just to say “hello” and say “carry on the good[1] work”.

    @AnthonyWells, any chance of a new box on the right-hand-side for the EU referendum? Similar to the AV referendum?

    [1] Or for those of you against free trade, “carry on the bad work.”…:-)

  17. Hi folks. I’ve done a wee write up on the TNS poll for Holyrood. Some focus on the regional voting (very pitiful samples, but that’s par for the course), and how they might translate to regional list seats – http://www.statgeek.co.uk/2015/10/tns-holyrood-poll-september-2015/

    In short, SNP win big, and UKIP might pop up.

  18. @Statgeek

    That’s pro-union 50, independence 79.

    Of course there won’t be another referendum soon….cough, cough…

  19. @CMJ

    Depends on the stance of the Greens. They’re are/were pro-indy too.

  20. CMJ and Amberstar

    Thanks for responses re TTIP. I must admit I’m baffled that we seem as a country so little engaged in EU decision-making processes. What, if anything, have any of our MEPs been doing? Are Tory MEPs for or against? Ditto Labour and UKIP MEPs.

    Why do we just sit back and let these major treaties get negotiated, without any debate here or apparent attempt to influence things? It’s as if we want to have nothing to do with the decision-making process, so that we can subsequently attack it as a dastardly EU plot foisted on us.

  21. @ SomerJohn

    It’s undemocratic, isn’t it? The EU won’t publish the text or debate it before signing the treaty. All sorts of shenanigans have been used to avoid any significant part of the deal being subjected to public scrutiny or debate.

    >3.5M people (including ~0.5M UK) throughout the EU have signed a petition to have the full text published & debated before any deal is signed.

  22. @Amber Star

    “It’s undemocratic, isn’t it? The EU won’t publish the text or debate it before signing the treaty. ”

    From todays Guardian re TPP

    “..TPP is now facing a rough ride through Congress where President Obama’s opponents on the right argue the agreement does not do enough for business while opponents on the left argue it does too much.
    Obama has pledged to make the TPP public but only after the legislation has passed.”

    It would seem to be the case with all these trade deals that democratic scrutiny is something to be avoided at all costs.

  23. Amber Star
    Well, I’ve just read in the paper that cannot be named of a huge anti-TTIP protest march in Berlin today. The report goes on to say, “The British government argues that the TTIP would boost trade and create jobs.”

    I can see why trade treaties – and indeed most other treaties – might be negotiated in secret. It’s one of the things we elect governments to do on our behalf, and I suppose in this case they’ve delegated that to the EU. But the treaty surely has to be published before it is ratified? And subject at that point to debate and approval or rejection? So if our government is in favour, and carries the HoC with it, then the European Parliament becomes the last hope for democratically stopping it. Which I suspect isn’t the point you were making.

  24. I think it sad, because many people in the UK would like to cooperate with other countries.

    It’s the high-handed, undemocratic way the EU does things that makes it so hard to love.

    It could have been so different.

  25. Amber

    “I don’t think that Blair McDougall etc. are particularly good at learning from their mistakes.”

    I agree – but, hopefully, the proto-Remain group will be able to learn from the BT mistakes.

    If you want to maintain a Union in the long-term, you really have to make a positive case for it.

  26. MITM
    ” (say what you like the NHS is currently still 100% publicly owned)”

    That may be true in a sense, but many front-line services such as GPs, pharmacists, opticians and dentists are private companies, and always have been. It’s just that in most cases their primary income comes from their NHS contract.
    ——————————
    Thanks to all for the discussion of TTIP. It was something I’d vaguely heard about but didn’t realize the ramifications. It does seem that it’s a highly secretive process and very undemocratic. I also agree that our government seems to have very little interest, unless they are beavering away behind the scenes (he said optimistically). All our governments seem to virtually ignore the EU in their public pronouncements, presumably to maintain the pretence that we are still an independent country, when actually many of the new laws that come in emanate from Brussels even when this is not admitted.

  27. Catmanjeff

    “I think it sad, because many people in the UK would like to cooperate with other countries.

    It’s the high-handed, undemocratic way the EU does things that makes it so hard to love.”

    Replace “UK” with “Scotland” and “EU” with “UK” and you accurately reflect the attitudes of a section of last year’s No voters!

    As you say “It could have been so different.”

  28. @Pete B

    Such trade deals are sold as being pro-Free Trade, but then it’s not like even the more left of the left are against free trade – their dream is lots of workers coops trading freely sans concentrations of capital stitching up markets – so why the fuss, and why hide the deals?

    Because they are not necessarily really about free trade. They might instead be about the elite carving stuff up amongst themselves even more and allowing those concentrations of Capital to stymie free trade even more, locking up markets even more tightly, and locking out democratically elected governments from levelling the playing field.

  29. Phil Haines

    Thanks for the response.

    We clearly disagree as to what constitutes “hostile”.

    On your definition, around three-quarters of Scots are “hostile” to the UK.

    In reality, around a third of Scots/Brits are hostile to UK/EU : around a third of Scots/Brits like the UK/EU : around a third of Scots/Brits have no strong preference (though it depends on how the question is asked).

  30. Carfrew

    “They might instead be about the elite carving stuff up amongst themselves even more and allowing those concentrations of Capital to stymie free trade even more, locking up markets even more tightly, and locking out democratically elected governments from levelling the playing field.”

    Sounds likely – and the elite would doubtless stitch up such deals, whichever set of politicians were negotiating on “my” behalf.

  31. While it is tempting to describe TTIP as an EU-USA stitch-up, it’s interesting to see that on the other side of the world 12 countries, from Vietnam and New Zealand to the USA have collectively negotiated TPP, the Trans-Pacific Partnership, described by Reuters as ” the most ambitious trade pact in a generation.”

    So this process is something that individual sovereign nations are willingly signing up to. The fact that the EU negotiates collectively on behalf of 28 nations isn’t in itself sinister, given that Trade is what most eurosceptics say should be the EU’s only field of interest

    It seems pretty likely that the UK government would be rushing to sign up to TTIP if it were doing the negotiating on our behalf. Indeed, I suspect that the EU negotiators will be far more diligent in safeguarding environmental and health standards than the UK government would be.

  32. @ SomerJohn

    TTIP won’t be debated in the UK HoC. Nor will it be debated in the EU parliament.

    A report by the TTIP commission might be debated but not the treaty itself. All attempts by the EU parliamentarians to debate the report, never mind the treaty itself, have been rebuffed by [? mis-] use of the EU parliamentary procedures.

  33. Just to be clear, the TTIP is not a free trade agreement as such, but an institutional redesign, essentially minted on the basis of the first decade of the 1900.

    However, there is absolutely no information of the actual texts (apart from odd leaks), and everything is in place to stop any information reaching the public (the FoI doesn’t cover it even in the UK, which has the most advanced regulations on this).

    Essentially, originally it was the legislation of the globalisation of speculative financial capital that spectacularly ended with the dot com and the fortunate collapse of the Neuemarkt. It was then revitalised after the Great Recession as a mean to make the people to pay for such a malfunction in the future.

    It actually addresses a very real problem: the inability of the advanced countries to increase the profitability of assets which started sometime in the early 1990 (the UK being the latest to join the club). The TTIP essentially an extension of the existing answer to the problem: M&A.

    The problem is capitalism and not its specific form. The productive forces that it created went beyond its ability to manage it (this para is partisan, the previous ones aren’t).

  34. @ SomerJohn

    So this process is something that individual sovereign nations are willingly signing up to.

    Because each country can unilaterally withdraw in the event that a future parliament votes to so do.

  35. Amber

    “Because each country can unilaterally withdraw in the event that a future parliament votes to so do.”

    Sounds like you are arguing that every “country” should have that right to withdraw, should they so choose.

    Damn difficult to use words appropriately, when you live in a multi-national state. :-)

  36. @ Old Nat

    Scotland’s parliament appears to have decided that a referendum is required to alter the Act of Union.

    What’s the SNP’s policy for 2016 regarding another referendum?

  37. @ Old Nat

    I’m not “arguing” that every country should have the right to withdraw from a trade treaty. I’m reporting the facts of the proposed TPP as I understand them. And the TPP treaty hasn’t actually been ratified yet; there’s still considerable opposition to it.

  38. @ Amber Star

    I think unilateral withdrawal from TTP by a country like Vietnam might be possible in theory but devastating in practice, given that economic development will have been moulded by TTP.

    My biggest concern over TTIP is that we might be forced to accept lower environmental standards, e.g. having to allow in US agricultural products that are produced with agrochemicals, hormones etc that are banned here. And I read that US cars have significantly lower crash safety than European ones – and so on. Do we trust the EU to safeguard its citizens in this regard? Clearly, a lot of people don’t, but then a lot of these are the same people who resent the EU’s imposition of over-zealous environmental and health protections…

  39. Amber

    No idea – why don’t you ask them?

    Of course, if we are going to to breach Anthony’s policy that posters are not representatives of a party, then I have a huge list of questions for you. :-)

  40. @ Old Nat

    I wasn’t asking you to justify the SNP’s policy, or lack thereof; I was simply asking whether they have one yet. That’s in the spirit of the site. Attempting to hold you to account for the SNP having or not having a policy or for the content of that policy, if there was one, would not be acceptable.

  41. @Somerjohn
    “My biggest concern over TTIP is that we might be forced to accept lower environmental standards, e.g. having to allow in US agricultural products that are produced with agrochemicals, hormones etc that are banned here. And I read that US cars have significantly lower crash safety than European ones – and so on. ”

    It will be interesting to see how this pans out, and how much of this detail ever reaches the public domain. In the recent VW scandal I think it was said that the US had stricter diesel emissions limits than did the EU, so I suppose it cuts both ways.

  42. @ SomerJohn

    I think TTIP would be the end of progress on all sorts of issues related to public health, safety, agriculture, emissions etc.

  43. Amber

    Since we both follow the news, I think we will both know the SNP policy position (and those of other parties) simultaneously when they publish their manifestoes.

    I may be a little late in hearing the news, as I am still busy restoring my Victorian house – as I’ve been doing for the last 30 years.

    I gather that all the work that I did, when an LiS member, were morally valuable – but (on the basis of the Herald’s story) it seems that anything I have done since joining the SNP have been morally reprehensible.

    While not all journalists are spectacularly stupid, Magnus Gardham frequently is. :-)

  44. @ Amber Star

    ‘Because each country can unilaterally withdraw in the event that a future parliament votes to so do.’

    Are you sure about that? I mean obviously a determined government could do whatever they wanted but I thought that the whole point of nesting the ISDS inside the BIT was to ensure that the agreement was irreversible. ISDS is an instrument of International Law which takes precedence over domestic law. The intention is that a new government cannot overturn the legislation.

    When it comes to the EU decision making – the Lisbon treaty gave the Commission sole responsibility for negotiating and finalising trade deals. The MEPs have an opportunity to ratify it but, as in Fast Track in the US legislature, the EU Parliament can only vote to accept or reject the treaty in its entirety. There will be no discussion, amendments or voting for the separate provisions contained in the treaty. Furthermore, the UK parliament is unlikely to take a vote although this may not be true for CETA.

    The text of TPP will be released in November so that it can be fast tracked through Congress, ready for Obama to sign on the 5th January. In other words, scrutiny of the text will coincide with the Christmas holiday period.

  45. @Amber Star

    I think the plan is that the SNP will call a referendum when they think they can win it. My guess is the manifesto will include a commitment to a referendum if any of the following conditions A B C are met. Other than the EU referendum some of the conditions will be so woolly that they can be invoked opportunistically. That’s what I think but I don’t know whether the SNP will want to put an early referendum to one side, so not spooking the SNP\No voters, and concentrate on more powers. I suppose it will depend on whether they think they have a realistic chance of winning an independence referendum within 5 years.

  46. TTIP is seriously bad for democracy and will concentrate power even further in the hands of global business. Without opt-outs which our government seem to have no intention of applying for, we could, for example, be forced to privatise the NHS. Business would be able to sue governments for restricting access to markets – in effect sovereignty of the people is gone and ‘business is sovereign’ I would encourage people to find out about it, it is a very bad thing.

  47. As one of our right wing friends noted, we shouldn’t concentrate on the military achievements of the likes of Denis Healey etc.

    With the death of Geoffrey Howe, we should honour his service –

    He then did National Service as a Lieutenant with the Royal Corps of Signals in East Africa, by his own account giving political lectures in Swahili about how Africans should avoid communism and remain loyal to “Bwana Kingy George”. (Wiki)

  48. @ Syzygy

    Individual governments can’t over-turn the terms of the treaty or the outcome of an ISDS verdict whilst they continue to be signatories to the treaty; but a government can withdraw from a treaty to which it is an individual signatory on its own behalf.

    International law in a nutshell:
    “In practice, because of sovereignty, any state can withdraw from any treaty at any time. The question of whether this is permitted is really a question of how other states will react to the withdrawal; for instance, another state might impose sanctions or go to war over a treaty violation.

    “If a state party’s withdrawal is successful, its obligations under that treaty are considered terminated, and withdrawal by one party from a bilateral treaty of course terminates the treaty. When a state withdraws from a multi-lateral treaty, that treaty will still otherwise remain in force among the other parties, unless, of course, otherwise should or could be interpreted as agreed upon between the remaining states parties to the treaty.”

    So, for the purpose of TPP, any country can withdraw following a vote to do so by its own parliament.

    But for TTIP this is not the case because the individual member states have not signed individually therefore international law regarding sovereignty does not apply.

    That’s why TTIP (& ISDS, which you are absolutely correct to focus on) is a much bigger issue for members of the EU. There is no exit route for individual nations other than leaving the EU.

  49. Amber

    You use “state”, “country” and “nation” as if they were interchangeable terms.

    That may well be a valid view of the world – if you live in Luxembourg. :-)

  50. @ Amber Star

    That’s encouraging news :) And makes the decision as to why to vote to leave in the EU referendum much clearer. Thanks.

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