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. @ Old Nat

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

    They pretty much are interchangeable in common parlance; even within international law their usage is determined not by a pre-defined criteria but by context.

    If you like, we can decide on Old Nat/ Amber definitions which we ‘sign’ a treaty to adhere to – or I can just continue being mistaken for an English imperialist who lives in Luxembourg. ;-)

  2. Syzygy

    “And makes the decision as to why to vote to leave in the EU referendum much clearer”

    Given the difference in VI between Scotland and rGB, presumably you would now support Scottish Independence, so that we can abrogate a TTIP treaty accepted by a Tory UK Government?

  3. @ Old Nat

    Given the difference in VI between Scotland and rGB, presumably you would now support Scottish Independence, so that we can abrogate a TTIP treaty accepted by a Tory UK Government?

    A separate Scotland wouldn’t be in the EU to exercise a veto over TTIP. Scotland would be in a queue applying to join the EU; & joining after TTIP is signed = accepting TTIP.

  4. Amber

    I never, ever, suggested that you were an “English imperialist”!

    The English Empire was fairly minimal in the 17th century. It was only when they brought the Scots in, in the 18th century, and the Irish in, in the 19th, that the Empire really developed.

    You have always portrayed yourself as gloriously British – that probably makes you imperialist as well, of course. ;-)

  5. As I understand it, the Scots begged to join England because they were bankrupted by the Darien scheme. And we did already have the same monarch of course, despite later attempts to change that. These attempts failed of course, most notably at Culloden.

    P.S. Can we PLEASE shut up about Scotland for a wee while (maybe 5 years for starters).

  6. @ Old Nat

    I know you didn’t – somebody else inferred it on another thread & Carfrew turned it into a bit of a running joke. :-)

  7. Amber

    It really amazes me that anyone disagrees with you. You “know” what would happen under all circumstances. Remarkable!

    According to you (and I think you are correct), individual states in the EU would have no facility to exercise a veto over TTIP, so your first point seems remarkably pointless.

    You then assume that, in an independent Scotland, voters would reject the terms of TTIP (whether agreeable to EU and/or UK) but would then apply to continue their membership of the EU.

    Like most sensible people, I have no idea what set of circumstances will eventually transpire.

    To have prior knowledge of all things must allow you to make big gains on the betting market!

  8. @ Old Nat

    It really amazes me that anyone disagrees with you.

    It amazes me too.

  9. Amber

    Yet still most Scots (and most Brits as well) do!

    Why can’t they all see that you are right (that appellation seems appropriate) and everyone else is wrong.

    It’s probably a conspiracy.

  10. @ Old Nat

    Why can’t they all see that you are right (that appellation seems appropriate) and everyone else is wrong.

    You are over-reaching (as you so often do); at no point did I say that everyone else is wrong.

    Indeed, I’m sure that lots of people would agree with me, thereby making them right too.

  11. @oldnat

    Would you ditch the serial misrepresentation of Amber and putting words into people’s mouths etc.

    Kthx

  12. Considering Scotland’s dependence on US investment (partly due to a silly Westminster rule), I would be very surprised if Scotland as an independent country could oppose anything that the US offers (gentle word). The basic legitimising narrative of the TTIP also suits SNP.

    It actually may serve the Scottish economy well. However, it is not equivalent of the peoples of Scotland. I would need some convincing evidence for that.

  13. iPad …

    However, it is not equivalent of SERVING WELL THE INTERESTS OF the peoples of Scotland

  14. Picking this up halfway through… I do think that if the EU signs TTIP (though given the size of the German demo today, not a certainty) there will be greater support from the left, including some unions, to push for a leave vote. There is now a clause to remove public services from the remit on a country by country basis, but it’s up to individual states to opt out. Cameron has been clear that the UK would not seek to remove any, including the NHS. There was a meeting against TTIP tonight in London, addressed by McDonnell , Adrian Weir of Unite and Natalie Bennett – Greens.

  15. My nagging thought is that even after a Brexit and opting out of TTIP, ISDS might continue to apply to contracts with multinationals which were completed under the TTIP. I don’t know if you know the answer Amber?

    The commitments of nations signed up to TTIP are no re-nationalisation; no changes which affect profitability; acceding to a tribunal of three corporate lawyers (from private companies specialising in international law) and another that I can’t immediately remember.

    The preservation of profitability is really open to interpretation and could include everything from changes in taxation, environmental and employment laws, abandoning nuclear (Germany has just been sued for 4bn) and tobacco packaging.

    Given the speed at which this government is allowing private healthcare companies to take over NHS functions, it might be that dipping out of the EU and TTIP might not make that much difference if ISDS were still to apply to existing contracts.

  16. Good morning all from a sunny and rather pleasant Maida Vale in the heart of Westminster North.

    Unfortunately those wishing to remain in the EU appear to be still in the majority but I reckon when the campaign starts public opinion will lurch towards No.

    However what’s more concerning is the fact that I have ordered 3 No to EU signs for my flat and just discovered it will be a waste of time putting them up because I’m in a basement flat and damn few will see them.

    I could always try and convert the postman though..

  17. OLDNAT
    Amber
    “I never, ever, suggested that you were an “English imperialist”
    ________

    LOL oh the banter…..Francie and Josie, you two behave yourselves. :)

  18. Actually I’m thinking polling on the EU is a waste of time. None of us know at present what Cameron will be offed after EU negotiations so we are actually polling blind side here but I suppose it will be interesting to see how the polls change when the negotiations are over.

  19. Vaz ‘s Select Committee to interrogate Watson. Should be interesting.

    The Labour leadership duo seem to generate controversy like static.

  20. The content on Momentum’s Facebook is really interesting:-

    https://www.facebook.com/Momentum-England-993849940660252/timeline/

    Labour MPs are going to have plenty to think about.

  21. Allan Christie: I feel that, for most people, the EU is a matter of ideology. It is unlikely that many British citizens pay enough attention to even notice the minutiae of whatever deal Cameron achieves – so I doubt it would have an impact greater than a percentage point or two.

  22. Syzygy

    Governments can easily ignore international law if they are powerful enough.

  23. COUPER2802

    ” I would encourage people to find out about it, it is a very bad thing.”

    Alternatively many people might find it a very good thing. It’s just a matter of opinion.

  24. @Syzgy – “The commitments of nations signed up to TTIP are no re-nationalisation; no changes which affect profitability; acceding to a tribunal of three corporate lawyers (from private companies specialising in international law) and another that I can’t immediately remember. ”

    I think this is where the TTIP debate is falling down. The above quote appears to suggest that governments could not nationalise anything under TTIP, which is not true. All the TTIP says (as far as we know, as the negotiations are secret, but I’m taking this from a draft text from July 2013 leaked by Die Zeit) is basically that governments cannot nationalise anything “unless it is for a public purpose, under due process of law, on a non-discriminatory basis, with compensation” (quote from Wiki). ‘Compensation’ is defined as “fair market value of the investment at the time immediately before the expropriation or the impending expropriation became public knowledge plus interest at a commercial rate established on a market basis”. (quote from the TTIP draft itself).

    I don’t know about anyone else, but subject to other clauses, I don’t find this a problem. I wouldn’t want to see my government nationalise anything unless it was legally correct and for public benefit, and I would expect due market value remuneration in return – in the case of bankrupt private sector infrastructure businesses, this might not be very much.

    However, there are many areas that concern me, but the critical point being that while many tell us what TTIP will mean, no one actually knows, as the negotiations are taking place latrgely in secret.

    If the experience of the recent TPP deal is anything to go by, we can see a direct correlation between the level of multinational financial support for US senators and representatives who voted for the bill as opposed to those against, so presumably big business thinks these deals are good. This may or may not mean such deals are good for cisitzens, but it isn’t automatic.

  25. Can anyone say -with certainty -that this is incorrect ?

    http://trade.ec.europa.eu/doclib/docs/2015/march/tradoc_153266.pdf

    I note at 5:-

    “And not renewing a company’s
    contract to provide a public
    service would give no grounds
    for compensation.”

  26. There is a reason for security on the actual negotiations for trade treaties, because otherwise all sorts of vested interests start sabotaging them. Remember that free trade is in the public interest (something all economists agree on, whatever their flavour), but always affects some interests very negatively by opening them to competition.

    Of course once an agreement is negotiated it cannot possibly be secret.

    From what I have gathered personally, most of the opposition to TTIP (and TPP) appears to be pure paranoia, flavoured by the usual vested interests who will lose out. I will however follow the detail carefully as it appears, as there are one or two people I consider sensible who have reservations.

    The main aim of TTIP is to deal with non-tariff obstructions to free trade. This particularly affects services, and as a service exporter Britain does have an interest here. Of course non-tariff obstructions to free trade are often dressed up as “health and safety” or “anti money laundering” or something equally spurious.

  27. @Colin

    There’s going to be a lot of violence.

  28. Nicola Sturgeon has suggested she might initiate another independence referendum if Britain votes to leave the EU. Some Scottish voters who are desperate for independence might be inclined to vote to leave the EU for this reason, especially if they believe independence would be won. Does anyone have any thoughts about the potential size of this effect?

  29. Should the UK decide to leave the EU, and this is used as an excuse to hold another referendum on secession of Scotland from the UK, the wording of the question ought to be:
    “Should Scots live in an independent country?” with a pro-EU SNP leading the “No” campaign.

    Alternatively, it might be accepted by both sides that any mention of independence in a referendum question could be construed as both leading and as a value judgement. So now that it has set a precedent, I would expect the Electoral Commission to decide that any referendum question on secession ought henceforth to be couched in terms of “remain” or “leave”.

  30. @ Colin

    I can’t comment on the particular publication (there are factual errors, or rather spun facts on the right hand side), but in the UK in railways there is no compensation, while in NDA contracts there is. so, I suppose it would depend on the contract, and I would be very surprised if the treaty covered this.

  31. @ John Chanin

    Free trade is generally beneficial to the more productive firm (the interpretation of the comparative advantages for nations is quite dubious in the era of liberalisation), and generally disadvantageous for the less productive ones, however, contextual factors can modify this.

    As to the point of the treaty once signed, it cannot be secret – simply, and unfortunately untrue as it assumes that there is no room for interpretations (some of the treaties on taxation). But it can go further: the published (and voted for by national parliaments) and implemented interim agreements between East European countries and the EU were somewhat different (e.g. the one with Hungary gave both customs duty reduction and quota increase in textile. This is what was voted on. Then some member states protested, and the then Hungarian government was told that they could choose only one of them. It became the treaty, although nobody has ever voted on it.)

  32. @ Phil Haines

    I would expect the Electoral Commission to decide that any referendum question on secession ought henceforth to be couched in terms of “remain” or “leave”.

    That decision (regarding avoiding yes/no) which the Electoral Commission have taken applies to all future referendums including Scottish Independence (if there is another one), unless a post-referendum review of the coming EU campaign reaches the conclusion that some other wording would be even more appropriate.

  33. @Colin – I can say with complete certainty that not renewing a contract would not give any cause for compensation. This is one of the big myths that has worried me about the presentation of TTIP. It’s completely illogical.

    If you have a contract with anyone – government, business, neighbour, whatever – you can potentially sue them for breach of contract if they break the terms. As a business owner myself, this seems prefectly reasonable.

    However, once that contract is ended, renewing it means a completely new contract is being negotiated. Neither party has any obligations (other then fairness and due process etc in public procurement) to the original contracted party.

    From what I have read, TTIP does not require governments to privatise anything, but it does mean that the contracting parties must treat each other fairly once a contract is entered. Equally, once a privatisation contract ends, then the government can return the service to public ownership if it so wishes.

    I see little to be overly concerned of at this point regarding TTIP and privatisation. There are elements of this deal that may worry me, and I do want to see the final agreements before making a judgement, but I do get the sense that there is an element of ‘Tory Scum’ about the TTIP protests.

    It’s a knee jerk reaction about anything related to business, with little knowledge of the facts. This is a shame, as there may well be big problems with TTIP that need campaigning against, but in my mind, much credibility has been lost by the demonstrators in dreadlocks playing large percussion instruments loudly and badly already, to make an effective case if and when it is needed.

  34. @Amber

    Thanks. I hadn’t realised that they had already stated as much. In which case the wording used in polling needs to change accordingly.

  35. @ Syzygy

    My nagging thought is that even after a Brexit and opting out of TTIP, ISDS might continue to apply to contracts with multinationals which were completed under the TTIP. I don’t know if you know the answer Amber?

    Under international law, only ISDS cases which had already commenced would continue unless both parties to a bi-lateral treaty agreed otherwise.

    ISDS doesn’t actually apply to contracts per se. ISDS applies to investment by corporations regardless of a contract. Let’s say e.g. that a government decided there was sufficient evidence that coffee was bad for people’s health & decided to pass a UK law banning coffee from being sold in coffee shops. In those circumstances, Starbucks could sue the UK government for loss of future profits because it has ‘invested’ money in marketing its brand in the UK!

    People might think that’s fair enough (I don’t; to me it’s an inherent business risk which is why corporations are allowed to make profits i.e. for taking risks!).

    But where ISDS becomes really unfair is that a UK coffee brand would not be entitled to sue for compensation. Nor would UK franchisees of Starbucks who had invested in property, fittings, the franchise fees etc.

    So foreign corporations are given a competitive advantage (in the form of reduced risk) over domestic companies who are plying the same trade!

    That, more than anything else, is what surprises me about Tories & ‘Adam Smith’ capitalists who support TTIP. ISDS flies in the face of everything which they claim to believe in, namely:
    1. It penalises local SME businesses;
    2. It reduces the competitive playing field in business; &
    3. Undermines the concept that at least some part of profits is the reward for risk.

    I have used coffee as an example to get Carfrew’s attention. ;-) But it applies to more serious things as well e.g. pesticides which the government bans because they are affecting the local wildlife e.g. killing local birds (that’s for Colin) or drugs etc. Imagine the situation where a ‘designer’ drug is considered to be dangerous & a government bans it, only to have a lawsuit filed against the government for compensation from the manufacturer of the drug because they’ve invested in designing that drug.

    To conclude: ISDS isn’t actually about contracts at all. Normal contract law applies to contracts which governments have signed directly with companies regardless of ISDS. ISDS is about companies claiming compensation for loss of projected/ make believe profits which they might have made from their ‘investment’ where no contract with the government exists!!!.

    My apologies for the long post but the media simply does not cover TTIP because even parts of it, like ISDS, requires too many words!

  36. @Alec

    I am far from an expert on TTIP.

    However, the thought occurs that it is open to governments to enter into contracts that extend well beyond their term of office, and effectively tie the hands of their successor for their term of office, if EU law ensures that the successor government can only extract itself from those terms at a massive and punitive cost. Long term rail franchises and PFI deals come to mind.

  37. And as a general FYI, private businesses which are subsequently nationalised are already entitled to compensation for the market value of their assets.

    TTIP potentially extends that compensation to include projected/ make believe profits & the imputed (again, some might say make believe) loss of intangible value e.g. the value of having a UK presence where this might be considered ‘influential’ etc.

  38. @ Phil, Alec,

    As mentioned in my long post – which you might not have waded through – TTIP/ ISDS isn’t about contracts which the government have signed directly with corporations.

    It is about foreign corporations being able to sue governments for changing e.g. environmental standards related to pesticides or emissions which the corporations believe adversely affects an ‘investment’ which they’ve made in e.g. developing a pesticide or emission generating product!

  39. @Amber

    Precisely.

  40. ALEC

    @”It’s a knee jerk reaction about anything related to business, with little knowledge of the facts. ”

    I think it goes deeper than that with the Far Left.. They believe in an economy managed, directed, and largely owned by The State. So having corporate relationships with foreigners acts completely against their prefered model-the Self Reliant , Little England, Command Economy, in which The Socialist State will ensure “equality” for all citizens through a centrally directed economy. This is what Tony Benn believed.-British this , British that & British the other-and where are they all now ?

  41. Interesting news from Caroline Lucas:

    http://www.carolinelucas.com/latest/caroline-joins-the-in-campaign

    The open style of Green Party continues afoot, with Baroness Jenny Jones from the Lords joining the ‘Out’ (Vote Leave) campaign.

  42. @ Alec

    Have you ever looked at the contracts related to the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority?

    Anyway, Amber has given a pretty thorough first grasp of the problem.

    Just to return to my example of Phillip Morris suing Australia. It was simply: neutral packaging of cigarettes would damage PM’s profits (as there was a trade agreement between HK and Australia that they would not do such a thing to each other’s companies). Australia won, but it went all the way to the High Court and it was only a majority decision. Some other countries, however, gave in. By the way, the Ukraine also sued Australia (in the same case), although there is no tobacco trade between the two countries).

    If TTIP is signed, all these lawsuits would be much easier. Of course, everything is a political process irrespective of the treaties, but under the leaked TTIP the UK government could be sued because of its financing of BBC as it distorts the market (and it does indeed).

  43. @ Colin

    “I think it goes deeper than that with the Far Left.. They believe in an economy managed, directed, and largely owned by The State. So having corporate relationships with foreigners acts completely against their prefered model-the Self Reliant , Little England, Command Economy, in which The Socialist State will ensure “equality” for all citizens through a centrally directed economy. This is what Tony Benn believed.-British this , British that & British the other-and where are they all now ?”

    I consider my position to be Far Left, yet I don’t recognise myself. Maybe there is a problem with the mirror you constructed (by the way, being statist is far from lefty).

  44. @Colin

    The big issue for me is the fact that should the democratic will of a nation butt up against the interests of corporations, I think in the end the democratic will of the nation is the trump card.

    I don’t believe the economy should be “managed, directed, and largely owned by The State”, nor does the vast majority of the left. I don’t think most of JC’s biggest followers do either.

    If the UK passes a law for the protection of it’s citizens, something on diesel engines for example, I don’t think there should be a sniff of hope a car manufacturer could complain or try to get compensation. They make polluting products that are no longer acceptable, tough on them, let them live with it.

  45. Very few people in the “real world” care much about the European Referendum yet. It could be two years away and we have lives to get on with. So small methodological differences in polls may make major differences in the outcomes.

    But we ought to be very concerned about the setting up of organisations with a pretence of co-ordinating the “Remain” and “Leave” campaigns.

    The appointment of Lord Rose as Chairman of the “Remain” campaign is to my mind particularly concerning. So far as I know he has never stood for anything in a public election; but has simply risen to the top in Marks and Spencer, a firm with which he always had connections (declaration of interest: I went to the same minor public school as Rose although I was a couple of years younger). This is exactly the objection that many of use have about Europe; it is run for businessmen who do not care for democratic input from “ordinary” people.

    The “Leave” campaign is no better, Again it is being constituted by an elite, and they cannot even get their act together (partly because of Nigel Farage, it must be admitted) to provide a united front (so Rpse and co are likely to get away with their democratic deficit).

    As the two sides are going to be give public money, why doesn’t the Government run two elections using the single transferrable vote to elect the campaign leaders?. Voters would register in advance to vote in one election or the other, not both. As we have two years to go, there is loads and loads of time to arrange this.

    Government sponsoship of the two sides undermines the democratic integrity of referendums in general. They are a bad idea.

    I was conned by Wilson into voting for the EEC in 1975. I am now most unlikely to vote for a Europena movement that did not keep promises to limit European integration, and current developments make it even less likely that I will vote to stay in the EU.

    If the EU leaders really wanted people like me to vote to stay in, they would make a reasonably sized European Commission responsible, for a limited range of matters delimited by a European Constitution, directly to a bicameral European Parliament on US lines, with a Senate voted on by states and a House of Represented voted for by equally sized constituencies. That is part of my “bottom line” on Europe, but I don’t think there is a snowball in hell’s chance of it happening.

    If we do vote to stay out, how many people think the EU will accept the decision? Won’t Cameron and the EU’s undemocratic elite simply re-run the elections, as has happened before elsewhere in Europe?

  46. @ Colin

    I think it goes deeper than that with the Far Left.. They believe in an economy managed, directed, and largely owned by The State. So having corporate relationships with foreigners acts completely against their prefered model-the Self Reliant , Little England, Command Economy, in which The Socialist State will ensure “equality” for all citizens through a centrally directed economy. This is what Tony Benn believed.-British this , British that & British the other-and where are they all now ?

    LOL! Just LOL! :-)

  47. @peteb

    No Scotland did not beg to join England. In fact it was the English Government which promoted the Union in order to ensure an undisputed Protestant Hanoverian succession north and south of the Border. Google the Alien Act to see how far the English were prepared to go and read the relevant chapter of Sir Tom Devine’s “The Scottish Nation” to see how difficult the Union was for the English Government to accomplish.

  48. I’m not sure how much of the Orange vote is still with Labour in Scotland, but I don’t imagine there will be too much left if the story in the Telegraph holds up. More broadly, I think that opposing the Anglo-Irish Agreement is a sign of bad judgement, and that history has redeemed the politics of compromise in Northern Ireland.

  49. Bill Patrick

    What story is that?

  50. @ Amber

    Thank you so much for your detailed explanation. It was effort well spent – I can think of quite a number of others who will benefit from your expertise (and not just on this site :) )

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