ICM’s latest weekly tracker on the EU referendum has voting intentions of REMAIN 44%(-1), LEAVE 38%(+2). The gap has narrowed since last week, but doesn’t reflect any real trend: looking at ICM’s EU polls since the referendum wording was changed they’ve been very steady, REMAIN at 42%-45%, LEAVE at 36%-40%. These week’s figures are pretty much in the middle of that range. Tabs are here.

I’ve collected up the polling on the referendum so far here.


49 Responses to “Latest ICM EU Referendum figures – REMAIN 44, LEAVE 38”

  1. Where is the Cobyn effect?

  2. Oops, Corbyn obvs.

  3. I don’t expect a Corbyn effect on EU Referendum polling.

  4. @ CatmanJeff

    Whoosh…?

    Or maybe BeeKeeper didn’t have his tongue-in-cheek when he wrote his comment. :-)

  5. @Amber @Beekeeper

    Doh! I missed that one! Sorry all.

    It already feels like we in a very long phoney war regarding the forthcoming referendum.

    While there has been some commitment, there is a huge amount of ‘wait and see’.

  6. on the topic of corbyn miss spellings, how about a miss pronounciation?

    my grandad (die hard tory) recently equired whether i was a ‘cobbin’ supporter

    I replied I was a lob dim fan myself.

    he didn’t get it.

  7. Looks like this referendum is going to be close enough to need a South African referee.

  8. @Alec

    I wouldn’t be too sure, the campaign hasn’t yet kicked off and I think the “Remain” side might have the edge in terms of resources. I don’t think the UK economy will be in a very good place in 2017 if the situation in China and the rest of the global economy keeps deteriorating, so that might also add a bit of preference for sticking with the status quo rather than jumping into the abyss..

  9. I followed Anthony’s link to the roundup of polling.

    I found it interesting that since the wording changed there has been the occasional lead for the ‘Leave’ faction, whereas that never happened before.

    Also, I know pollsters try to account for this, but I think ‘Leave’ voters will be more committed, and therefore more likely to turn out. It will be interesting, especially when the campaigns really get going.

  10. @ Pete B
    ‘In 1955 96% of voters went for either Tory or Labour. In 2015 it was 67%.’

    But that is really a false comparison – simply because in 1955 there were very few other candidates contesting seats. Most were Tory v Labour straight fights with a mere 110 Liberal candidates, and this meant that in over 80% of constituencies support for both main parties was artificially inflated by being in receipt of second preference votes from people who otherwise would have voted Liberal or another smaller party.

  11. Pete B

    “I think ‘Leave’ voters will be more committed, and therefore more likely to turn out.”

    Maybe, though much will depend on whether this referendum can energise people like the indyref.

    Roger Scully has an article on attitudes to the EU in the three GB nations [1] which suggests that “if referendum turnout were to differ across the three nations in roughly the same way as it did in the general election – where Scottish voters turned out in somewhat greater numbers than did those in England and Wales – then the ‘Remain’ side would be very marginally ahead. But it would be achingly close.”

    [1] He also notes that the usual practice of ignoring voters in NI gives an incomplete picture. “if the referendum were to end up being as close as suggested by the figures here, their votes could really make all the difference!)”

  12. Graham
    It’s a bit chicken and egg isn’t it? Perhaps in 1955 there were few other parties standing because there was no demand for them?

    ON
    If, as you suggest, Scots votes could keep us English in the EU, then the sooner you go independent the better. Indeed, it’s a good argument to hold an English referendum on independence from the Uk though I know full well that it will never happen.

  13. A factor which is uncertain in my mind is whether we will be voting to remain on the terms of Cameron’s proposed reforms or on those of others, including Labour, Greens and SNP. If borders control and restrictions on the rights of migrants to benefits are the apparent basis of remaining, and these are not restrictions or conditions which would be supported by the opposition parties, how do with stand?

  14. @John,

    I suppose the other parties would campaign to remain, regardless of the deal, and announce their intention to reverse those changes if elected?

  15. ALFONSO E

    I take your point about the economy but of course the EU could be in an even worse state economically, in which case that would help the “out” supporters.

  16. @TOH
    Unfortunately, most voters take not the slightest interest in the economy of other countries.

  17. RMJ1

    I’m not sure that is a valid comment. I think one of the reasons the Tories won the election was that the UK was seen to be outperforming the EU economies under a Tory led government. If the EU was to be seen to be falling apart economically at the time of the referendum I am sure the “out ” campaign will make use of that fact.

  18. NEIL A
    I guess so, but this is a complex prospect, since given that a remain vote is likely and supported by the opposition parties, which reforms and how they would be achieved and would work – including those relate to immigration, but also reforms to the CAP, structural funding generally and treatment of Greece – will become more important, but more difficult to agree and convey, than the simple question of remain or leave.

  19. I suspect that this time it won’t be “the economy, stupid” but “immigration, immigration, immigration”
    The status quo won’t be whether we are EU members or not, but whether we attempt to, or are forced to, absorb large numbers of foreigners, making a permanent change.

  20. @TOH

    Sorry for the tardy response, just back from walking the dogs.

    Perhaps it is because I come from a very Laboury area but I often have it quoted to me that other countries do things better. I have even had France, a country I know very well, suggested as a country whose example should be followed. When I mention the fact that unemployment in France is twice the UK figure and government debt is higher than ours I am apparently talking rubbish.
    France, incidentally, demonstrates perfectly that there is no economic problem , that incompetent government, can’t make worse.

    This, I think, all stems from the fact that people don’t really know what is happening elsewhere. If they did I think the Conservatives would now have a large commons majority. Given the exposure that our financial sector had to the crash, I think we are in pretty good shape, so much so that our membership, or not, of the EU, is, in economic terms, becoming irrelevant.

  21. RMJ1

    Thanks for replying. You are bold to be walking the dogs. It’s very wet here at the moment.

    You make the point well, especially about the size of the majority, and on reflection you are probably correct.

  22. RMJ1

    The key (and important) difference between France and the UK is that France has much lower personal debt.

    http://www.economist.com/news/economic-and-financial-indicators/21578669-household-debt

    If government debt and its reduction was the true indicator of economic competence, then the UK should model itself on Romania in the 1980s.

  23. HAWTHORN

    I’m not going to get into a discussion of the French v the UK economy, that’s for elsewhere. In terms of how people vote, it’s the voters perception of which party is most competent in running the economy which is important in how they will eventually vote. At the election, and in current polling the Tories are miles ahead of Labour, as they are on leadership the other very significant factor. As I understand it in the UK, no party which is behind on both running the economy and leadership has ever won and election, not in recent times anyway.

  24. @HAWTHORN
    You are, of course, correct although debt is just one part of the equation and we should also include asset values to give a balanced position. The reasons for low French personal debt are partially cultural – the French are very debt averse and will happily spend many years on a building project for example, rather than borrow to complete it. They buy almost nothing on hp. They happily drive old cars.

    Until very recently, credit cards were virtually unknown in France and banks will still freeze your account if you can’t meet a bill. It’s a different world.

  25. If the Tory Party can split over tax credits what will something serious like an EU referendum do? Women back benchers in particular appear to have no loyalty to the present leadership.

  26. DAVE
    “The status quo won’t be whether we are EU members or not, but whether we attempt to, or are forced to, absorb large numbers of foreigners, making a permanent change.”

    Do you mean change to the numbers and composition of the population, change to UK society, or change to the legal and administrative system governing immigration?

    If you means numbers immigrating and the impact on UK population size or composition, based on ONS figures for the previous years, the impact may not be significant (and according to the EC is necessary to achieving a demographic balance of young workers to elderly dependents in our population, so should be encouraged and legislated for up to the second half of the century – otherwise out economic capacity and wealth will drop and our care services will become inadequate.

    ONS:
    “Net long-term migration to the UK was estimated to be 243,000 in the year ending March 2014, a statistically significant increase from 175,000 in the previous 12 months.
    While net migration has increased since the most recent low of 154,000 in the year ending September 2012, it remains below the peak of 320,000 in the year ending June 2005.
    560,000 people immigrated to the UK in the year ending March 2014, a statistically significant increase from 492,000 in the previous 12 months. Two-thirds of the increase is accounted for by immigration of EU citizens (up 44,000 to 214,000).”

  27. Jumping from Europe into domination by China is very much leaping from the frying pan into the fire.

  28. @Fred – don’t you mean ‘wok’?

  29. WOLF

    They did not split, some have criticised yes, but they all voted in the Government lobby last night which i suggest means loyalty is undamaged.

  30. Michael Meacher, MP for Oldham West and Royton, has passed away aged 75.

  31. @Hawthorn

    I agree with your comment on the previous thread regarding the outcome of the Canadian election.

    The stance that the left wing NDP took of essentially endorsing the Conservative government’s fiscal stance seems almost a carbon copy of the way MIliband tried to be portrayed here a few months earlier. It’s not surprise to me that the centre-left Liberals’ plans for a time-limited boost to borrowing for infrastructure investment gained more traction with electors used to borrowing to pay for their own infrastructure. Only one party seemed to be offering real economic change.

    @Candy

    The NDP’s disasterous plunge from 35% to 20% in the polls occured after their leader committed to the Conservative fiscal stance. I am sure that the niqab controversy played a part in that too, but not more than just a part. I’m more inclined to believe James (“it’s the economy, stupid”) Carville’s view of the importance of economic arguments in deciding elections.

  32. On the poll breakdown – if the numbers stay as they are it’s going to come down to which voting block dominates the A/B/C1 or the 65+. With the former breaking strongly for remain and the latter for leave.

    Given I believe their is a definite hit to turn out amongst the D/E and 65+ if the weather is bad – then I would not be surprised to see a late Nov/Dec 2016 or early Jan/Feb 2017 referendum to give the Remain vote the best chance.

  33. Canada has been extremely volatile for two decades now, and I still think Britain is trending the same way. FPTP is very sensitive to this volativity (The Conservatives in Canada were completely wiped out in the Maritimes, after completely wiping out the Liberals not so long ago).

    It’s pretty easy, despite the 2015 election in the UK, to be a pollster when there are foundations. When there’s nothing but shifting sands it’s much more difficult.

    The NDP’s attempt to appear “responsible” has indeed backfired. Not the first time that optimism has been a winner. Humans seem hard-wired to optimism (see Kahnemann inter alia). Negativity therefore has limited traction in most circumstances. Elections are a matter of fear versus hope.

  34. @MRNAMELESS

    He was MP for Oldham West – ultra safe Labour seat.
    The by election will still be interesting as it was one of many seats where UKIP came second just pipping the Conservatives, and so may show us if they are slipping back or moving forward in public awareness.

  35. It’s sad to hear of the death of Michael Meacher who was one of those MPs who kept on campaigning on green and environmental issues whether they were fashionable or not. Although always on the Left, he was prepared to serve under PMs or Leaders of the Opposition who weren’t of his exact politics, which is more than some other MPs we have seen.

    He held a lot of important shadow cabinet positions but Blair obviously could not stand him (despite a very similar personal background) and refused to have him in the Cabinet and eventually got rid of him in 2003, to general disapproval as he was seen as a highly knowledgeable minister in his field. He was also a Commons stalwart and must have been one of the few MPs left who served in the Wilson Government (Margaret Beckett and Gerald Kaufman would be others).

    Meacher actually had a 9.3 point increase in his vote in May, so there must be a substantial personal vote in that and it suggests he must have been very well regarded as a constituency MP.

  36. I am sorry to hear of the death of Michael Meacher. He was widely respected.

    A Lady Meacher has recently been reported as supporting some compromise proposals on Family Credits, to retain them for the lowest paid at the expense of relatively better-paid claimants. If she is the same Lady Meacher it seems she may well be the ex-wife of Michael Meacher.

  37. I met Michael Meacher in the 1980’s at a student debate, he was, amazingly for a politician, personally very shy, but incredibly generous of spirit. He was very kind to me on that occasion. I wish his family and friends the deepest condolences.

    I would imagine, based on knowledge of his personality and that he has been the incumbent since 1970, he has amassed a large personal vote.
    In by-elections after the death of a long term MP is there a loss of that sort of personal vote or do remnants remain for a period (is there any polling evidence on this sort of thing?

    @ jimr
    This will also be a test for the theory that any positive Corbyn effect will be seen in seats where Labour is already strong: presumably if that effect is in place the Labour share of the vote should increase! If not is it an indication that there is no positive effect? An interesting test!

  38. LISTER1948

    If she is the same Lady Meacher it seems she may well be the ex-wife of Michael Meacher.

    It is. They divorced back in 1987, but she retained her married name, presumably for professional reasons. Confusingly she remarried someone who then became a member of the House of Lords before she did, so she became Lady Layard and then Lady Meacher when she got elevated to the Lords herself in 2006.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Molly_Meacher,_Baroness_Meacher

    Interestingly she’s a cross-bencher rather than a Labour peer, though her current husband is Labour as well. It probably makes her well-placed to broker such compromise deals.

  39. Thank you for confirming that, Roger Mexico.

  40. I worked with Molly Meacher for most of one day in Moscow, I suppose in about 1993, when the CIS Ministry of Labour Team could not come up with a draft request to the TACIS programme on employment market reform, on which I had been working on a separate project for training in the regional government in Siberia, and we whacked out the document together in the lunch-hour. Richard Layard, whom God preserve, was a fellow undergraduate of mine at uni.
    I was sorry to hear of Michael’s death; a very decent man of great integrity.

  41. @TOH

    It’s not just the perception of a Chinese slowdown that would make people want to stick with the status quo, but the effect it would have on the UK economy by 2017. Even if the rest of the EU is doing badly, the effects of a Chinese slowdown would be felt globally, and in times of economic uncertainty it is customary to stick to the devil you know rather than to take a punt.

    The UK electorate has already been subjected to an unending stream of bad news about the EU’s problems over several years and voting intention – if anything – has changed in a pro-Europe direction. A new unending stream of bad news about the problems outside the EU and in the UK would arguably increase the electorate’s anxiety about quitting the 28-member single market and the 30+ trade agreements the UK has with non-EU countries through the EU, in the hope that maybe it will get the rest of the world to negotiate trade deals that maybe will make up for the lost trade with the EU, and maybe on a timescale that will not be beyond 20-30 years.

  42. @Phil Haines

    “The NDP’s disasterous plunge from 35% to 20% in the polls occured after their leader committed to the Conservative fiscal stance”

    Which is also what happened to Labour in the last parliament. Lessons to be learned…

  43. This Seumas Milne chap is an interesting addition to Labour’s team.

  44. I’m not convinced that the name of the new Lab group “Labour Together” will have the same resonance across GB.

    http://www.newstatesman.com/politics/uk/2015/10/new-group-labour-together-be-launched

    Reminds me of the marketing splurge for the “Orange” network, when it was launched. The claim was that they had chosen the name because their focus groups identified no negative associations. :-)

  45. John Curtice on the groups most likely to vote to Remain or Leave.

    http://whatukthinks.org/eu/analysis/britain-divided-who-supports-and-who-opposes-eu-membership/

    Very Strongly Remain – the young, well-educated.
    Majority to remain – Scots, Labour voters.

  46. @John Pilgrim
    I meant ” numbers and composition of the population, change to UK society” with the latter more important.
    People’s reactions and attitudes matter more than the calculations of statistical bodies.
    For example, if we are told that we need to build an extra 200,000 houses to meet existing demands, but also told that our population is increasing at the rate of more than 200,000 every year, and that we can do nothing about preventing that while in the EU, people will add together 2 + 2. They may get 5, but when we are also told that the fences are going up on the traditional borders all over Europe, and that migrants from outside Europe who do not share European values are seeking to overcome them by force, they may well decide the total is 6, and not count too much on some of those migrants looking after them in their old age.

  47. DAVE
    You’ll probably understand if I say I am sympathetic to your argument about perceptions, so don’t assume that I would oppose it.
    OTOH, ‘People’s reactions and attitudes matter more than the calculations of statistical bodies” may not be true if we are looking at the demography of change already taking place and caused by factors which are unstoppable. We are on that basis an aging society; we do need to replenish our work force to overcome the imbalances which will occur in the next half century.. The impact will, if we do not permit sufficient immigration,be that we cease to have the human resources to maintain production, and this will have an impact on public services. Since we are accepting a quarter of a million net immigrants per year,accepting or not accepting 50,000 more may not make much difference.
    But that is not what the argument is mainly about. it is mainly about not permitting migration driven by hunger,, violence and oppression to be suppressed by draconian measures which sees non-legal migrants, including women and children, as illegal and therefore to be denied asylum, when legitimising their movement and providing support to them and to their successful integration in the EU, or the UK, would benefit both parties.

  48. @John Pilgrim

    The two goals you have set out for immigration policy – provide replacement workforce for a low birthrate population and relieve suffering in the third world – are not complementary at all. Successful businesses do not choose their workforces according to who is most in need of a salary.

    Suppose the UK decides on technocratic economic grounds that it wants 500,000 immigrants per year. There are about 5 billion people in the world who live in countries that are poorer than the UK, so we want 0.01% of that. Ideally the best 0.01%. We won’t get that, because not all of them want to leave their own countries, and of those who do many will want to move to countries other than the UK. But we can reasonably expect that, say, 2% of the population of the world that is poorer than the UK would move to the UK if it could. That means that for each application we accept on technocratic grounds, we can throw away 199 that are not as good.

    Now my question is, what proportion of applicants who would be accepted on those terms do you think are currently walking from Syria or Afghanistan into Germany on the vague hope of being given a hammock in a school gym at the end of it? I would think that the Indian, Chinese, and South American lower middle class would be the places to look, i.e. people who are already doing OK in life.

    The technocratic economic argument – which may well be a valid argument for *some* form of managed mass immigration system – comes across more like a flimsy post-rationalisation in this circumstance.