What does business think about the EU referendum? Well, define what you mean by business. The source for official government numbers for the number of businesses in the UK is the business population estimate – 2015 figures are here. According to those figures there are 5.4 million businesses in Britain. The overwhelmingly majority of businesses are extremely small – 62% of businesses are sole traders, and 76% have no employees. Only 0.7% of businesses have 50 employees or more, only 7000 have more than 250 employees.

In terms of government statistics UKPollingReport is a business… yet when people talk about business opinion, I suspect they are largely thinking of people who run shops and factories and banks, people who buy and sell and pay other people’s wages, not people reporting some secondary income from running a website.

If you carried out a representative survey of all British businesses then the majority of your sample would be made up of sole traders. In a survey of 1000 business representatives, you would probably have about seven people employing more than 49 people, and likely no one at all from a large company. If you did a survey of businesses employing at least one person, less than five percent of the sample would employ more than fifty people. But that assumes you weight it so the views of the CEO of BP count the same as a local newsagent – one could equally make a case for weighting by turnover, or number of people employed.

There is no “right” answer, and definitions like this tend to become a political football because people running large companies are often very pro-European, but people running small businesses and sole-traders are often far more similar to the national average. I don’t intend to open up that can of worms in this post – I’m just going to look at what polls and surveys we’ve seen have said about businesses of different sizes.

Surveys of business organisations

Most of the polls claiming to represent business opinion are actually surveys of membership organisations, like the CBI, FSB, Institute of Directors (IOD) and Chambers of Commerce. Even if these are done well, they will be representative of businesses who are members of that organisation, not businesses as a whole. For example, the CBI has a large proportion of members who are large employers, with over 250 employees; the FSB, as its name suggests, is made up of small companies. All four of these organisations have published surveys attempting to measure the opinion of their members.

The CBI has commissioned two polls of their members, one carried out by YouGov back in 2013 which found 78% of members in favour of staying, 10% wanting to leave (details), one carried out by ComRes at the end of last month which found 80% thought that Britain remaining in the EU would be better for their company, only 5% thought leaving would be better (details). The ComRes poll was sampled and weighted to targets based on the overall profile of CBI members, so should be representative of the CBI… but not necessarily of business as a whole. Based upon the profile in the ComRes survey the CBI membership heavily favours large companies, almost three quarters of the respondents were from companies employing more than 250 people.

The Federation of Small Business commissioned a representative poll of their members last June and July, conducted by a professional research company called Verve, and weighted by region. They found 47% of their members would vote to REMAIN, 41% would vote to LEAVE. (details). Verve have done a subsequent survey of FSB members this year, but I don’t think it asked whether respondents were in favour of staying or leaving.

The British Chambers of Commerce conducted a survey of their members in late January and early February, conducted by Research by Design and weighted by region. They found 60% of members would vote to stay, 30% to leave. While the majority of respondents to the survey were “microbusinesses” with fewer than 10 employees, compared to the profile of businesses nationally the BCC are also skewed towards businesses with more employees (BCC members are also more likely to be exporters than the national profile of businesses). They did provide a useful breakdown by number of employees though – among member companies with more than 250 employees the split was 75% REMAIN, 20% LEAVE; medium companies (50-249 employees) split 69% REMAIN, 23% LEAVE; small companies (10-49 employees) 60% REMAIN, 31% LEAVE; micro companies (0-9 employees) were 54% REMAIN, 34% LEAVE.(details).

Finally the Institute of Directors conducted their own survey of their members straight after Cameron’s renegotiation. This appears to be a straw poll they did themselves, so it won’t necessarily be representative of their membership. 60% of members taking part said they’d vote to remain in, 31% to leave (details).

There have also been various surveys of specific trade associations, such as the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders, or TechUK. I haven’t tried to collect all these up, but obviously they will only be representative of the particular sector.

Polls of business as a whole

As well as surveys of membership organisations, there have also been some polls of business in general. For practical reasons, these tend to either be surveys focusing specifically on large businesses, or surveys focusing on Small and Medium Businesses. This will be both because of the difference in scale (as discussed earlier, the number of small and micro businesses utterly dwarfs the number of big businesses) and the practicalities of conducting the polls (you cannot randomly cold call the CEOs of FTSE companies and expect to get through.)

Ipsos MORI carry out a regular “captain’s of industry survey”, which covers board directors and chairmen of the 500 biggest companies by turnout and 100 biggest financial companies by capital. Results there were that 87% thought REMAIN would be better for their company, 7% thought LEAVE would be better (results for how they would personally vote were 83% REMAIN, 12% LEAVE (details).

The ICSA do a twice yearly survey of company secretaries of FTSE 350 companies. They did not ask preferences directly, but 71% of respondents said Brexit would be damaging for their company, 28% that it would make no difference and 2% that it would be positive. (details).

Deloitte do a quarterly survey of Chief Financial Officers of FTSE 350 companies. In the last wave of that (conducted in Nov/Dec of last year) they found 62% thought it was in the interests of business to stay in the EU, 6% that it was not, 28% that it depended upon renegotiation. This may, of course, have changed post-renegotiation! (details) .

Moving to smaller businesses, Zurich do a quarterly poll of small and medium enterprises (their “SME Risk Index”). The most recent wave of that included a question on the EU referendum, with results of 49% remain, 39% leave (details)

YouGov conducted a poll in November 2015 that attempted to be broadly representative of businesses with employees. As discussed earlier, in practice that meant over 95% of the sample was made up of small businesses. This found 47% in favour of remaining, 42% in favour of leaving (details.)

As you’ll see, there’s a clear pattern here: polls of leaders of big business (and polls of membership organisations that are dominated by business) tend to be overwhelmingly pro-European. However, polls conducted of small and medium businesses (or surveys of organisations that are dominated by small and medium businesses) tend to have a more even split. That said, even polls of small businesses still generally find the balance of opinion in favour of remaining.

That doesn’t, of course, mean that all business is made up of emphatic pro-Europeans. In this post I’ve tried to restrict myself to business surveys asking purely about Britain remaining in or leaving the EU. If you widen the net you’ll find plenty of surveys of business showing dissatisfaction with the EU and EU regulation, and businesses that would rather have free trade without some of the EU’s political integration. However, when it comes to the either or of whether Britain should remain or stay, the polling evidence consistently suggests business is in favour of remaining – big business by a big gap, small business by a smaller one.

UPDATE: The BCC survey of their members was actually conducted by an external market research company and weighted to their membership profile, I’ve updated the post to reflect that. According to the BCC their members are also more likely to be exporters than businesses on average, which will also have an impact on their results (companies who export appear to be more in favour of EU membership).


69 Responses to “What Business thinks about Europe”

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  1. “I don’t intend to open up that can of worms in this post…”

    ———–

    I think maybe you just did? I mean, it wasn’t on my mind at all before, but now it’s all I can think about. Well, that and allotments…

  2. So the more likely it is that your business depends on competitive labour costs, the more likely you are to be in favour of EU membership and the supply of hard-working, conscientious but cheap immigrants? Go figure!

  3. Is there any polling on what those with allotments think of the EU?

  4. CBI membership is doubtful on many fronts.

    In the Indyref, a flurry of public bodies resigned their membership as the CBI registered as a campaign organisation for “No” [1].

    Few people would consider Universities or the Law Society of Scotland as being “business” bodies, and the membership of bodies like the BBC (which never once reported its own membership when talking about the CBI – and unlike STV didn’t resign) was probably of more interest.

    [1] The Electoral Commission hastily allowed the CBI to withdraw its registration as a campaigner on somewhat dubious grounds.

  5. ICM EUref Tracker

    “The proportion of Leave supporters holds steady in ICM’s EU tracker this week, with 41% of the public in favour of a Brexit. But there’s a significant dip in the proportion of undecided voters since the previous poll – down to 16% from 19%, the lowest point in our tracker since early November – while support for Remain In has increased to 43%.

    Excluding the undecideds, this leaves the Remain side narrowly in the lead with 51% vs 49%.”

  6. Welsh Election Study – Westminster VI

    Labour: 36% (-1)
    Conservatives: 25% (-2)
    UKIP: 16% (-2)
    Plaid Cymru: 14% (+1)
    Liberal Democrats: 6% (+2)
    Others: 3% (+1)

    Plus Scully on the EU question – “So, after a record eight point lead for Leave in the last Barometer poll, our new survey places Remain back in the lead – albeit by a far from comfortable margin. Why do we see such dramatic change since the previous Welsh poll? This is the same survey agency, YouGov, and the same survey question was used both times – one based very closely on the actual question to be used in the referendum itself. So what could be happening? It may be that the change is partially explained by sampling variation – the February Welsh Political Barometer poll featured very strong scores both for Leave and for UKIP; this time around both do significantly worse, and that may reflect simply differences in the samples that even YouGov’s weighting procedures have not been able to iron out. Or it may be the case that this is, at least in part, a genuine change, and that the warnings against a Leave vote, and its particular potential impact on Wales, have started to hit home”

  7. Carfrew

    Straw poll of myself and friends at our allotments.

    Stay 50%, leave 50%, make of that what you will.

    :-)

  8. Carfrew

    Straw poll of all my friends, leave 65%, stay 35%, don’t knows excluded from both polls.

    However at this moment in time my view of what will actually happen is of the order stay 55% leave 45%, sad though that is IMO.

  9. My sense is that people who want to leave are more vocal than those who would remain. I’d like very much to see more work done on how those don’t-knows are likely to break come polling day. My feeling is they will break heavily for remain.

    We really need to get to the bottom of the online-phone gulf too.

  10. @ Old Nat

    Mike Smithson is reporting ICM as 41% remain 43% leave?

  11. So is Britain Elects

  12. So, the Captains of Industry want us to stay in the EU.

    Time to have another serious look at the alternative argument, methinks.

    :-)

    @Bantams

    Expect those Leave figures to improve still further on the back of these business surveys.

  13. Maybe the kiss of death for the Remain campaign will be this headline:-

    “Bankers overwhelmingly in favour of remaining in the EU.”

    Slam dunk for the Brexiteers!

    :-)

  14. Good morning all from a little bit sunny Hampshire.

    I’m not surprised businesses are more pro EU than not. If they had their own way then the entire World would be one union without borders. Big Businesses can be so negative regarding change.in the EU yet all of the ftse 100 companies in the UK do business outside of it so why all the hysteria?

    The company I work for is based in the Southside of Glasgow with offices in London and Reigate employing around 160 full time and 20 part time workers and despite the company not holding (to my knowledge) a particular view on the EU vote, they have however said regardless of what way the EU vote goes it wouldn’t have a detrimental impact on the business and they said the same regarding the Scottish independence referendum.

    On a daily basis we are dealing with some clients who have operations in Glasgow, Livingston, Hull, Cardiff, London and across the South East, meaning we have to also deal on a daily basis with about 6-8 different local authorities and two devolved parliaments in the process and the company easily adapts to different areas of legislation within the UK.

    We also deal with clients who have operations on the continent mainly in and around airports and again we easily adapt our business to the different areas of legislation in each country.

    The doom and gloom some within the business community come out with over the EU vote in my view is a sign of weakness. Any good organisation which is well run should adapt to change and should not see any constitutional or treaty change as a threat but opportunity.

  15. In the light of the recent ructions in the Tory Party, and the weakening positions of both Cameron and Osborne, a lot of the commentariat are now thinking that the worst possible EU Referendum result for the Government would be a narrow win for Remain.

    Exactly my view too and the more one looks at these polls the more it seems as if that might be the result

    Nick

  16. AW

    “In terms of government statistics UKPollingReport is a business… yet people talk about business opinion, I suspect they are largely thinking of people who run shops and factories and banks, people who buy and sell and pay other people’s wages, not people reporting some secondary income from running a website”
    _______

    Do you pay yourself the minimum or living wage? :-)

  17. @CB11
    “Bankers overwhelmingly in favour of remaining in the EU.”
    Slam dunk for the Brexiteers!

    The bankers’ support for No is also why Scotland is now an independent country. Oh, wait…
    I mean it was banker bashing wot won the election for Labour. Hang on…

  18. There’s a difference between thinking that The Bankers and Big Business are a bunch of amoral crooks who fiddled whilst the rest of us lost our houses, jobs, credit, second holiday in Tuscany etc. and thinking that they are a bunch of incompetents who know nothing about economics. One could argue that they’ve rather cleverly not fought the amoral fat cat charge and perhaps positively welcomed the demonising of a very small number of people and that as a result they’ve retain more credibility than they are entitled to. I think that reduces the traction for Crossbat’s argument (although I still think it’s one Leave should make).

    I think that big business has far too much influence today and I think that’s reflected in the weight attached to what business thinks. Did ‘business opinion’ count for so much back when the UK last voted on the EU? Would be genuinely interested in the comments of those who remember this.

    I remember reading that someone (might have been Tom Nairn, but might not) said during the Scottish referendum words to the effect that communities tend, in the end, to vote for independence when they’ve reached the point where having control of their own affairs and having their own identity are important enough that they trump all the practical arguments. Whoever it was seemed to be saying that independence referenda are not won because of the practical arguments, but because people reach the point where they’re prepared to say ‘We don’t care about the oil price/ the jobs/ the special relationship, we just want to speak for ourselves.’ I thought there was merit in that, and I think there were plenty of quite impressive Yes people in Scotland saying things that seemed consistent with that. But not enough to win.

    Leave haven’t yet mustered the same positivity. The tone is still more a peeved, anti-Brussels bureaucracy one than a ‘we want to run our own show’. And I don’t think there are enough people who think being British is incompatible with being European in the same way that I got the impression that some people have started to feel that being Scottish is incompatible with being British.

    All of this is speculation on my part. But at the moment I’d say it still looks like a fear-driven vote for the status quo.

  19. @THE OTHER HOWARD

    “Straw poll of all my friends, leave 65%, stay 35%, don’t knows excluded from both polls.
    However at this moment in time my view of what will actually happen is of the order stay 55% leave 45%, sad though that is IMO.”

    ————–

    We need to know how the don’t knows break. This could be crucial…

  20. “There’s a difference between thinking that The Bankers and Big Business are a bunch of amoral crooks who fiddled whilst the rest of us lost our houses, jobs, credit, second holiday in Tuscany etc. and thinking that they are a bunch of incompetents who know nothing about economics.”

    —————

    Why can’t it be both?

  21. TOH
    Morning.
    I think Allotments are wonderful. A public sector success story, or maybe yours is privately owned?

  22. A friend of mine was on a flight from Stansted to Germany and she was saying that two old ladies talked about the referendum citing all the arguments used by Stronger In (Remain campaign) and they concluded that the best is to stick to the status quo.
    So even though many people rumble about “sovereignty, border control, immigration, etc.”, in the end, it will all come down to the “Are we afraid of change? Yes, we are”..

  23. TOH
    There are some near where I live. I used to rent one. People are always worried the council will have to sell them off to raise money.

  24. @ Sorbus
    “I remember reading that someone (might have been Tom Nairn, but might not) said during the Scottish referendum words to the effect that communities tend, in the end, to vote for independence when they’ve reached the point where having control of their own affairs and having their own identity are important enough that they trump all the practical arguments. Whoever it was seemed to be saying that independence referenda are not won because of the practical arguments, but because people reach the point where they’re prepared to say ‘We don’t care about the oil price/ the jobs/ the special relationship, we just want to speak for ourselves.’ I thought there was merit in that, and I think there were plenty of quite impressive Yes people in Scotland saying things that seemed consistent with that. But not enough to win.”

    I think you may have a point my mother is anti EU and has been for as long as I can remember. It is an entirely emotional response and not based on rationality (as she readily accepts), she tells me that she does not care if Brexit damages the economy because it will then be OUR economy.
    Her reaction is very similar to her position on the existence of monarchy. As someone who is positively working class, has never voted for any other party than Labour and who also has a healthy disrespect for “the landed aristocracy” she nonetheless is appalled at any call for republicanism. She is in her mid seventies and always votes.
    I am pro remain and in my mid fifties (from the polls I seem to be in the minority in that age group if Professor Curtice is right) I am afraid that my reaction which is based on my opinion of the likely economic effects of exit and the arguments I advance in support may prove to be of limited impact against such emotional calls, which prove immensely powerful as rhetoric in comparison to my “nerdy” arguments.

  25. Big business wants to stay IN. By a long way.

    And small business wants to stay in. By a smaller margin but still pretty comfortably IN.

    That says a lot.

    These people know what is good for business better than any politicians or newspaper moguls….

  26. @Alun009

    “The bankers’ support for No is also why Scotland is now an independent country. Oh, wait…
    I mean it was banker bashing wot won the election for Labour. Hang on…”

    Blimey, it wos the Bankers wot won it then in both the Scottish referendum and the UK General Election.

    Mind you, that’s quite often the way. If you get the respected pillocks of the community all lined up on one side of the argument then that side inevitably wins. Captains of industry, journalists, MPs, bankers, Golf Club Chairmen, the RFU etc etc…

    An irresistible force.

    :-).

  27. Im always a little bemused by headlines declaring “Business” thinks this or that.

    I wasn’t aware “Business” was a sentient being, capable of forming its own independant opinion.

    What they mean is the senior managers think this .. I dont for one moment imagine that the board of Tesco has consulted the staff working in their stores.

  28. @Kentdalian

    “What they mean is the senior managers think this .. I dont for one moment imagine that the board of Tesco has consulted the staff working in their stores.”

    I doubt it. They certainly don’t do it when they decide to donate shedloads of the Company’s money to the Conservative Party.

  29. VALERIE

    The land is owned by the Council but we manage it ourselves.

  30. @TOH

    “The land is owned by the Council but we manage it ourselves.”
    It ought to be sold off. I’m sick of my council tax being used to subsidise your vegetables.

  31. [email protected] the light of the recent ructions in the Tory Party, and the weakening positions of both Cameron and Osborne, a lot of the commentariat are now thinking that the worst possible EU Referendum result for the Government would be a narrow win for Remain.
    Exactly my view too and the more one looks at these polls the more it seems as if that might be the result’

    I suspect you may be right, the situation will be made even worse if the E.U. Parliament drags it feet over the agreed changes and a complete nightmare for Cameron if they change them

  32. @AC

    “I’m telling you, you lot have it all covered. Mind you nothing wrong with the ole crate digging, did some of it myself in some of the London weekend markets.”

    ————————

    It’s always sounded fun in theory. But I just know that I would only ever find stuff no one seems to want, only to find much later, that had I bought it, it would have appreciated loads. (Of course, if I do actually buy it then it will inevitably depreciate faster than Osborne’s poll rating after one of his more interesting budgets).

  33. TOH
    Same here. I am still a joint tenant on one of the plots, although now I am unable to do any work on it – I just sit there in the sunshine and watch other people. It is a great community resource.
    But the land is valuable and I’m private developers have an eye on it.

    [Snip – let’s stick to wider public opinion, rather than Howard’s opinion… AW]

  34. Anecdotal I know, but I am quite convinced that ‘remain’ will win fairly comfortably.
    I have a brother who is a Tory and arch Euro sceptic. He’s been campaigning for a referendum since 1997 when he joined Goldenball’s party . I thought he would be dead chuffed about the referendum finally happening but he is prevaricating about whether to vote to leave!!
    His reason is that given the inevitable confusion if Brexit wins, he doesn’t think Cameron and Osborne have it in them to degree steer the economy successfully through the inevitably troubled waters that are bound to result, at least temporarily.
    I told him you should always be careful what you wish for.

  35. Don’t know where ‘degree’ came from. Duh

  36. Bantams

    My post was a direct quote from ICM – though it seems that they had left the previous week’s comment in place for the new tables – now corrected.

  37. A W
    Fair enough – I sense I’ve been sailing a bit close to the wind :-)

  38. Sorbus

    Re practicality/emotion in voting

    You may want to have a look at John Curtice’s article on the recent ScotCen’s Scottish Social Attitudes survey,

    http://blog.whatscotlandthinks.org/2016/03/what-difference-did-the-referendum-make-to-scotlands-constitutional-debate-2/

    While support for “Independence” is at its highest ever level, 39%, that is well below the Yes vote in 2014.

    However, support for “The Scottish Parliament should make all the decisions for Scotland” at 51% is also the highest ever, while the classic Devo-Max stance of “The UK should make decisions about defence and foreign affairs ; the Scottish Parliament should decide everything else” continues to have 30% support.

    Since making “all the decisions” is equivalent to being an independent state, that does suggest a degree of loyalty to the idea of a Britain – while not wanting the practical effects of being in a British political union.

    As you point out, people are not always logical in coming to their views. Vulcans we ain’t!

  39. [Snip – let’s stick to wider public opinion, rather than Howard’s opinion… AW]

    AW .. A fine example of Jeremy Bentham’s Panopticon :-)

  40. @Carfrew
    “We need to know how the don’t knows break. This could be crucial…”
    Another straw poll ….
    I know INs and OUTs,and DKs
    I know a few DKs who have made their minds up. All are now for OUT.

  41. Business organizations are trying to bully ordinary people into staying in the EU, even though this is against the best interests of ordinary people.

    Every time I see business propaganda on this issue it makes me more likely to vote “Leave”.

    “Business” has said far, far too much on Europe already and it would be in their best interests now to keep their mouths shut.

    Opinion seems to be swinging towards “Leave” even though by far the larger amount of propaganda is to vote “Remain”. So I suspect I am not alone in my opinions on this, even although it is not a matter which has been formally polled.

  42. @Frederick Stansfield

    “Every time I see business propaganda on this issue it makes me more likely to vote “Leave”.”

    I think you won’t be alone. I know I was being slightly tongue-in-check in my earlier posts, but in this era where politicians like Trump gain support by debunking the establishment, cleverly tapping into voter anger and disillusionment with mainstream opinion, any stance supported by establishment figures and bodies is likely to struggle.

    “If Stuart Rose backs it, then I smell a rat”. That’s the gist of the problem the Remain campaigners have and, writ large, the problem mainstream politicians have too. 6 million people didn’t vote UKIP or Green last May without a reason.

  43. Kentdalian

    ‘A fine example of Jeremy Bentham’s Panopticon’

    Haha, I had to look that up. You can always learn something on UKPR.

  44. OldNat

    Thanks for the link. Evidence, if further evidence were needed, that people aren’t rational. Or, in this context, that language matters. I would have expected more people to be in favour of some vague concept of independence than would endorse specific proposals amounting to independence. Then again, the voting figures were more closely aligned with responses to the vaguer question…

    Speculating wildly as to possible reasons people weren’t happy to endorse the fuzzier, more abstract concept of ‘independence’ I’d suggest that Ms Sturgeon or her successor might want to consider holding a second referendum when Charlie gets his mitts on the orb and sceptre.

  45. Okay so moving on from vegetables and allotments (cough cough) I came across this on twitter.

    Britain Elects [email protected] 3h3 hours ago
    EU referendum poll:
    Remain: 48% (-3)
    Leave: 41% (+2)
    (via ComRes, phone)

    Not sure when the fieldwork was carried but I reckon it was pre Belgium so the next poll will be interesting to see if it has picked up any momentum for leave on the back of the terror attacks.

  46. “[Snip – let’s stick to wider public opinion, rather than Howard’s opinion… AW]”

    —————-

    But Howard is the board Oracle, and is a useful surrogate for when polling fails.

    (Although he’s really up to speed on storage, but you can’t have everything…)

  47. Apologies for a long comment provoked by speculating about David in France’s comment upthread…

    David in France’s comment suggests that people don’t even have to think that ‘business’ is competent and knowledgeable about economics to lend considerable weight to their opinions on the Euroref. They just have to think that it knows better than most.

    This got me wondering – if it’s relative credibility that’s important – then how much does absolute credibility matter? If someone thinks the economic pronouncements of ‘business’ aren’t at all credible but still thinks they’re marginally more credible than those of politicians/media/some other group will they still pay attention to a poll of ‘business’ opinion on the Euroref? How close is the relationship between the perceived credibility of a source of info and the weight given to that info?

    I suspect that low-credibility info is given more weight when there’s relatively little information available or relatively few sources (on the irrational grounds that it’s better to use what little information you’ve got – even if it’s totally unreliable than to make a random choice). I think this is what happens in the case of weighing up the economic consequences of Brexit. Everybody’s guessing and economic modellers don’t have a great reputation. If you want to understand the rationale behind someone’s guess you have to actively look for it. Most of the information is at a very general level – what does ‘good/bad for business actually mean? – and it’s much rarer to find commentary on likely effects on specific economic variables.

    A variant of this argument explains why people give more weight to ad hominem arguments (which is what polls of ‘business organisations’ opinions on the Euroref amount to) when they don’t feel competent to evaluate direct evidence. You know what I mean: you judge your dentist/surgeon/solicitor/plumber on personal variables you like to think are correlated with his/her professional competence because you can’t actually evaluate how good he or she is.

    This works well for Remain. If memory serves there’s experimental evidence (might be able to dig up a citation if pushed, but I don’t have access to academic databases atm) showing that people attach disproportionate value to protecting what they’ve already got when they’re making decisions about risk. So without strong evidence that leaving would be economically beneficial most people are going to attach more weight to the potential negative consequences of leaving than the potential benefits of doing so.

    Actually, damn it, I’m going to have to try and find this paper and remind myself exactly what it showed as it was quite subtle. I think the driver of irrational behaviour was that if one didn’t actually work out the odds (it was a gambling task: card type A has high odds of a small loss and long odds of a big win; card type B has longer odds of a small loss, but is in the long run less profitable than type A) the loss was in some sense more salient.

  48. Labour in the lead- wow. I had no idea that Ian Duncan-Smith was so popular. Clearly a Tory government without him has no following.

  49. CROSSBAT

    I actually agree with the premise of your last comment but with 126 Tory MP’s and a 3rd of the cabinet backing Brexit then surely its establishment v establishment?

    You don’t get more establishment than ISD BJ or the wee Scots guy with the specks, the Lord Chancellor!!

  50. #IDS

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