Things remain very quiet on the polling front, but we do at least have the weekly ICM tracker of EU referendum voting intention. Latest figures are REMAIN 46%, LEAVE 38%. 46% is the highest ICM have recorded for Remain in their weekly tracker, though it’s still well within the normal margin of error. For now the picture from ICM’s regular polling remains one of a small but stable lead for Remain, rather than any movement in either direction.

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122 Responses to “Latest ICM Euro poll – Remain 46%, Leave 38%”

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  1. 38 % still very high when you consider that Con,Lab,SNH,LibDem, Green all favour staying in. Key is whether Labour under JC will stick to that line when referendum is imminent. The temptation to support what most working class voters probably want may be too great …

  2. Welsh Borderer

    “The temptation to support what most working class voters probably want may be too great …”

    Fair point, but it does assume that that is the demographic that Labour are primarily aiming at.

    In this poll the crossbreaks are –

    R. : L. : Crossbreak

    53 : 31 : AB
    51 : 34 : C1
    41 : 40 : C2
    34 : 48 : DE

    and for age groups

    63 : 21 : 18-24
    61 : 20 : 25-34
    41 : 41 : 35-64
    35 : 54 : 65+

    by current VI

    40 : 44 : Con
    59 : 28 : Lab
    9 : 84 : UKIP

    So, if they want to try to get back the geriatric DEs who already vote UKIP, they could try changing positions. But, if they hope to attract votes from younger folk ij other social groups ……

  3. Looking at those cross breaks this may be difficult for the pollsters to call with the group most likely to vote being strongly in favour of leaving. Could come down to differential turn out – the pollsters worst nightmare.

  4. @Welsh Borderer

    I wouldn’t say that the Greens are greatly in favour the ‘Remain’ camp.

    The party has people, both ground level and at a senior level who are in the ‘Leave Camp’.

    Baroness Jones is a part of the ‘Leave EU’ campaign.

  5. As The Monk says, the older age groups are more against than the younger. Could this be because they can remmeber how things were before we joined the Common Market, and prefer that, or perhaps because with more experience of life they are wiser?

    It’s similar to the fact that older people are more likely to vote Tory. The left seem to think that if they wait long enough, the older voters will die off and they’ll have an automatic majority, but an alternative theory is that as people gain more experience they tend to move rightwards (there are always exceptions such as Corbyn of course). Has any polling been done on this?

  6. Pete B

    There is some evidence that in one’s later years, deterioration in the pre-frontal lobes can affect the ability to measure risk – as criminals who prey on the elderly well know.

    Could be that it is mental deterioration that is affecting us oldies, rather than increased wisdom. :-)

  7. ON
    It’s a pretty poor show if youngsters are the ones that eschew risk, and the oldies who are up for it.

  8. Next week’s poll may be more interesting given that Cameron has now announced the terms he wishes to negotiate.

    Let me declare my position. I am not prepare to vote to stay in the EU unless Cameron at the very least negotiates action to address the democratic deficit, and therefore gets changes to the EU Treaty..

    I think that many people are staggered at the weakness of the terms Cameron is prepared to accept, and that therefore there should be a swing next week towards “Leave”.

    It must be said that most people in the “real world” currently have approximately zilch interest in the Referendum campaign. Us oldies are frantic that younger voters may fail to learn from 1975 and will sell their political souls for a metaphorical mess of pottage.

  9. Frederic Stansfield

    I think that many people are staggered at the weakness of the terms Cameron is prepared to accept, and that therefore there should be a swing next week towards “Leave”.

    Of course, it could equally be that those who think that way were already in the “Leave” camp, and that this will have precisely no effect on the polls.

  10. @Pete B

    “Or perhaps because with more experience of life they are wiser?
    It’s similar to the fact that older people are more likely to vote Tory.”

    ——–

    There are numerous explanations one could posit. For example, it’s possible that the dominant concern might not be to preserve assets and therefore advantage, but that being perhaps not the most appealing argument to all, alternative motives are proffered.

    An issue which cuts across party lines. One can posit similar for peeps who may vote to retain welfare/benefit advantages, but may not give that as their real reason.

    Regarding polling in the matter, I don’t know that polling companies do enough control questions to get to the bottom of such things. It’s interesting, because despite the views of some, who seem to think everyone inevitably partisan and focused on self-interest, clearly some do vote against their own interests in some significant respects.

    (The police peeps have taken quite a lot of the pain of the cuts for example, but some still vote for the cuts…)

  11. 8% a small lead?

  12. Oops…

    That should be…

    “For example, it’s possible that the dominant concern might be to preserve assets and therefore advantage, but that being perhaps… etc…”

  13. “8% a small lead?”

    ——–

    What with margin of error, outliers and polling errors, it might not be a lead at all!!

    Who knows, in a couple of years we may be mourning the demise of the straight banana and affordable Polish plumbers!!

    The oldies can regale the younger with tales of how it used to be!!

  14. CARFREW
    I think I understand all that, but it’s an 8% lead. If it was 8% behind I would be worried. Early days, I know but momentum is important.

  15. Carfrew

    “The oldies can regale the younger with tales of how it used to be!!”

    We never do that.

    We regale the younger with tales of we fondly misremember how it ought to have been and have convinced ourselves it was!

  16. I fondly remember rationing, TB, polio, diptheria, leprosy, 3 day week, leg irons etc. It’s only because of the EU that these things have gone.

    First paragraph meant humorously, in case no-one realised.

    Oh, no I forgot. Mysteriouly TB and leprosy have come back for some reason.

  17. I’m not sure that “propensity to take a risk” is a very useful measure of how people will vote on EU. I suspect people are judging different risks: eg: will I be financially better off? Will I lose my job? Do I want millions of immigrants? Shall I be able to write to my MP, and if it’s my MEP will s/he take any notice or have any clout? Does it matter if our laws are made in Strasbourg?
    Which question matters most to you to sway your vote, then what is the chance of getting the answer you want if you vote IN or OUT?
    As for memory, there was a time in the 1970s and 80s when I read the title of every Directive from the EEC, and the full convoluted texts of those relevant to the industry I served. Today I cannot conceive of anything which which would persuade me that any organisation which produces legislation of that nature is fit to run anything.

  18. I can’t help feeling that the paucity of ambition in Cameron’s letter ( or recognition of EU’s implacable inflexibility, depending how you see it) will swing the pendulum a little towards OUT.

    But a cleverly mounted Project Fear should pull things back. I thought DC’s dismisal of “will UK be successful outside? ” with -“of course we will-but the real question is -will we be more successful ?” was a signal of the ground he will fight on.

    The contents of his his letter haven’t made the IN offer very attractive.

  19. I am alone in seeing the possibility that Cameron will not survive the ‘negotiations’? Like Frederick Stansfield, above, I am happy to declare how I will be voting – no matter what Cameron triumphantly comes back with – and that is to stay in. My question relates to the noises coming from some of his back benchers (people such as Patrick Jenkin) – whose view of the world I find, frankly, bizarre.

    The Cons have a small overall majority in the Commons. Were ‘twinning arrangements’ to be wirthdrawn, every Tory would have to be at every vote. Before long the cracks would become fissures. Arriverderci Cameron.

    Or am I missing something…..?

  20. First phrase ought to have been ‘Am I alone….?’ of course.

  21. Given that recent polls have indicated that there is an increase in the remain VI if the prime minister recommends it (and I take that to mean if the Conservative party supports it) and given the implacable hostility shown to the EU by a significant number of Conservative MP’s (Cash, Jenkin, Bone et al), and given that there is a leadership contest in the offing at some stage in this parliament, is the positioning of some of the leadership candidates on this issue going to become crucial? What I mean by this is that if a credible leadership candidate came out in favour of Brexit, gaining the support of that group of MP’s will that have an impact on VI in that separate wings of the party would be likely to take some VI with them.
    I recall that the split in the Labour party in the 1980’s essentially (albeit on different policy issues) involved the same personnel on each side as those who opposed each other in the 1975 referendum campaign. This to me raises the question of VI for the 2020 election if there is such a split in 2017, whatever the result, could the losing wing of the Conservative party forgive the other side? Remember the SDP!

  22. Pete b.

    Tb rates are falling here and worldwide Despite your begging of the question.

  23. “I think I understand all that, but it’s an 8% lead. If it was 8% behind I would be worried. Early days, I know but momentum is important.”

    ——–

    Well, those bothered about leaving the EU might nonetheless be worried, is my point. Labour had a lead around twice that at one point…

  24. I think it is foolish for us oldies to characterise the enthusiasm of the young for international bodies and internationalism generally.

    All of my kids are strongly pro-EU, for a whole variety of reasons, but principally among them:
    – they think there is a reasonable to good chance that they may want to live and work abroad and want to retain that option
    – they think the world is likely to be a better place if like-minded countries work together
    – they feel European as well as British, perhaps as a result of many holidays in Italy, France, Spain, Greece and Portugal.

    I don’t think this is lack of wisdom; more about enthusiasm for future opportunities, which is understandably greater in the young.

  25. Sorry – that should read ‘mis-characterise’

  26. @Pete B

    “I fondly remember rationing, TB, polio, diptheria, leprosy, 3 day week, leg irons etc. It’s only because of the EU that these things have gone.
    First paragraph meant humorously, in case no-one realised.”

    ———-

    I don’t know that the argument for the European project was based on ending stuff like leg irons or TB, but more about stopping another World War etc.

  27. “We regale the younger with tales of we fondly misremember how it ought to have been and have convinced ourselves it was!”

    ————-

    Yes and strangely they never seem to include Winter fuel payments etc. in these assessments…

  28. @Colin

    “I thought DC’s dismisal of “will UK be successful outside? ” with -“of course we will-but the real question is -will we be more successful ?” was a signal of the ground he will fight on.”

    ————

    Possubly an attempt to innoculate against Indy-style attacks, whereupon to simply mention how leaving a Union might possibly be to some detriment in some way is hyped into “OMG you think we can’t survive without you!!!!” etc.

  29. Whatever other issues emerge as salient in DC’s conspectus for stay or go, the Valletta Summit is likely to be a reality check on migration. Primarily focused on sub-Saharan African migration to Europe it will reflect long-term projections and policies rather than the urgency and poorly prepared responses to migration across the Eastern Mediterranean of Syrian, Somali, Eritrean and other ME and of S. Asians fleeing conflict or seeking a back door for economic migration.
    The response of EU and African countries will not, pace BBC and the broadsheets, be primarily increased aid to provide economic alternatives to surplus labour, though the UK can point to its good record and capacities as the model, or policing of borders and deterrence of people smugglers, but rather on the legitimisation of spontaneous migration and regulation and funding of the process, including guidance and training of migrating people, in transit countries – for which the EC, by contrast with its failure to plan for or cope with the current crisis, has done substantial preparation based on demographic projections in the EU and in countries of origin. A key question for the UK is whether it can negotiate a planned basis for increased migration from the Commonwealth countries to balance that from Europe, rather than the cutting or delaying of benefits as a deterrent. In care, catering and construction, we need the labour force and the skills to expand services and the economy in response to the market.

  30. There was an interesting article by Simon Jenkin in the paper that must not be named on this a while back.

    What has surprised me a little is the lack of any real Lefties for Leave (perhaps more accurately ‘democrats’ for Leave) campaign. There are clear arguments for leaving from this perspective: EU is anti-democratic, lacking in accountability, that if you take devolution/localism seriously then having too much decision-making at supranational level is nonsensical etc. etc. One might also argue that the EU is now too big for its governance structure.

    I think a lot of the group who might incline towards Leave on those grounds would find it very difficult to be joining Farage in the lobbies, metaphorically speaking. Ad hominem fallacies can be very powerful and can be viewed as useful heuristic, if you don’t have much information or aren’t prepared to invest much time in making your choice: ‘all these people whose views I’m generally in tune with are voting Remain, so I guess that’s the right choice….’

    It would be interesting to see whether any credible Leave campaign along these lines would (a) shift the frame of the debate and (b) shift VI.

    Without some big change in the pool of arguments in play and the voices making them I can’t see opinion shifting, other than the expected flight to status quo and safety in the dying days of the campaign.

  31. With the EU in such turmoil, anything could happen. The result will depend on what the dominant narrative becomes as we approach the referendum date (whenever that might be). If the EU comes to be seen as a source of instability rather than a counter to it, Leave might win. I for one have gone from a weak Remain to a probable Leave voter, largely because the undemocratic nature of the EU has come to the fore through Merkel’s dominance. Germany seems to be calling all the shots these days and her choices are taking Europe to the brink.

  32. SORBUS
    “Without some big change in the pool of arguments in play and the voices making them I can’t see opinion shifting,”

    One possible alternative is that two or three big issues stick up out of the morass and are clarified. E.g. if it can be shown that actually the ending of warfare in Europe has been brought about by the Atlantic Alliance rather than the EU; if it can be shown that we could without loss to working families absorb substantially more migrants, and could better balance those we need and those from the Commonwealth against those from the EU; if it can be recognised that Greece would benefit more from emigration and tourism than from emulating the economies of Northern Europe, so we can all get out of CAP and structural funding.

  33. Some very interesting work on the British Social Attitudes Survey by NatCen and OU looking at attitudes by educational attainment.

    Graduates have significantly (in a statistical sense) different attitudes to non-graduates on a whole range of issues. The proportion of people with degrees in the population and, especially, the workforce has increased sharply in the last generation and over 40% of employees have degrees,

    Needless to say, at present, graduates don’t have a Government that reflects their views on, well, on very much. (Nor does the Opposition for that matter).

    It is clear from the persistent stances that the media adopts that press culture and political discourse have not adapted to these social changes at all. It will be interesting to see what follows.

    Research is here: https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/474228/BIS-15-89-the-effect-of-higher-education-on-attitudes.pdf

  34. I suppose the membership of the EU does promote a sort of liberal capitalism that makes an extreme right-wing or left-wing direction much more difficult. Enoch Powell, and a rather decent Labour politician called Peter Shore realised that in the previous referendum and urged voters to reject the then Common Market.

    With those kinds of exceptions most people chose being in a club to being outside and may do so again.

    Why the Conservatives are risking throwing away a fair chance of a 1950’s style run of election wins is baffling. Perhaps they think they’ll get it out of the way early in the parliament.

    It does make prediction even more difficult than usual. Still, that’s what UKPR is for.

  35. @Carfrew
    ” European project was … more about stopping another World War etc.”
    I see.That’s why we need an EU army, then. And why it’s a good idea to extend the EU’s borders right up to Russia’s – or to those of Syria, Iraq and Iran for that matter.

  36. Dave

    I’m puzzled. Are you suggesting we should not have allowed Finland, Poland, Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania to join the EU because they share a border with Russia?

    I agree it wouldn’t be a good idea to let Turkey join (unlike our government which is still in favour), but not because of its borders – I think the cultural differences are too great for it ever to be truly European.

    If you accept that avoiding another war between European countries was a prime motivating force behind the setting up of the proto-EU, then subsuming national armies into a single defence force makes perfect sense. It would be very difficult for any UK politician to say so, of course, but actually a single force with, say, 75% of the manpower of all the current armies would probably do a much more effective job at far less cost.

    It would be interesting to see responses to a polling question along the lines of, “If forming a single EU defence force saved the UK enough money to eliminate the deficit without any further spending cuts, would you be in favour?”

  37. @Riley

    There’s a lot to be said for research that investigates conventional wisdom, as “common sense” is wrong at least as often as it is right. However this must qualify as confirmation of the bleeding obvious.

    The key point here is information – the better educated have more of it. The secondary point is that all institutions of higher education (whether you live at home or not) contain a large variety of people, so your prejudices (and everyone has them, whatever their background, particularly when they are 18 years old) get challenged – so you acquire more information…..

    Social change has of course been enormously rapid in the last 50 years as education has expanded. This is personal and not just theoretical if you have lived through it. And politics has adapted to it substantially. The Conservative Party has been making a big pitch to ethnic minorities as part of its switch to social liberalism, which reflects the trends shown in this survey. Always seeking the locus of power.

    I therefore cannot agree that “press culture and political discourse have not adapted to these social changes at all”. The opposite is self-evidently true.

  38. Firstly, thanks to all of you who helped with the 75 referendum polls. There is still much to do but at least I can now hand in an article that’s longer than “um”

    Secondly, regarding leprosy comments above. One of my many excruciatingly picayune characteristics is that, somewhat bizarrely, I spent three months working on leper data from a colony in northern India. There are about 40 cases of leprosy diagnosed in the UK every year: they bounce around the system getting increasingly frightened until they encounter a doctor who has worked on India and can recognise the signs. They are them assigned to the tropical medicine specialist Dept’s in Liverpool or London for a treatment regime (you can’t cure it but you can stop it progressing).

    I realise that had nothing to do with polling but after you were so kind to proffer information, I thought I’d reciprocate.

  39. @John Chanin

    As a social researcher myself (I’ve worked with John Brennan, one of the authors of the paper, but half the industry have as he’s one of the best collaborators around), I can assure you that ‘the bleeding obvious’ is wrong as often as not and that a decent statistical examination of what is actually happening is useful and welcome.

    These days I have altogether too much exposure to both actual journalists and the policy process for my own good, so I can assure you that press culture and political discourse have not adapted to the idea that university graduates are now nearly half the working population.

    You can tell it’s not true because the debate about universities is still pitched as if HE is a bit of a middle-class luxury that is a frippery to most people, rather than the beating heart of what passes for the UK skills strategy and utterly indispensible to the continued effective functioning of the economy. Even the Green Paper pandered to that viewpoint, and David Willetts – one of the few political figures anywhere in the House in the last 20 years to get the issue – was marginalised by his own party for trying to get the seriousness of the issue raised repeatedly

    The Conservatives are not pitching to ethnic minorities because there are more graduates. They’re doing it because there are more minority ethnic voters and it’s often quite easy to spot them as they go about their business not voting for them in elections.

    It’s not quite so easy to spot graduates as they go about their business not voting for etc etc etc, but whilst one side of the political spectrum take them for granted, the Conservatives, their policymakers and their press supporters have very obviously not adapted because they systematically take up positions that are unpalatable to this group of people.

  40. Results of the Full English, Full Scottish and Full Welsh YG polls on EU for Cardiff Uni/Future of England now released – fieldwork 22-27 Sept. Each has different crossbreaks relevant to their political structure.

    https://yougov.co.uk/publicopinion/archive/

    Wales

    Remain 42% : Leave 38%
    VI Senedd Const – Lab 39% : Con 23% : PC 18% : UKIP 14% : LD 6%
    VI Senedd List- Lab 36% : Con 25% : PC 19% : UKIP 15% : LD 5%
    VI Westminster – Lab 43% : Con 26% : PC 10% : UKIP 16% : LD 5%

    Scotland

    Remain 58% : Leave 26%
    By 2015 vote
    SNP – R 56% L 30% : Lab – R 63% L 24% : Con – R 40% L 49%
    By 2014 Referendum vote
    Yes – R 58% L 26% : No – R 54% L 34%
    By Social Grade
    ABC1 – R 63% L 25% : C2DE – R 48% L 34%
    By age
    18-24 – R 67% L 13% : 25-39 – R 60% L 21% : 40-59 – R 52% L 33% : 60+ – R 51% L 41%

    England

    Remain 40% : Leave 43%
    By 2015 vote
    Con – R 35% L 48% : Lab – R 55% L 28% : UKIP – R 4% L 91%
    By Social Grade
    ABC1 – R 46% L 39% : C2DE – R 30% L 48%
    By age
    18-24 – R 51% L 24% : 25-39 – R 46% L 29% : 40-59 – R 37% L 46% : 60+ – R 33% L 58%

    Some differences there!

  41. @Chris Riley

    Thanks for sharing that, an interesting piece of research (though the results are entirely unsurprising).

    It may well offer some useful insights into the electorate of the future. In 30 years time there will be far less people who left school at 16, and even those that haven’t gone to uni will have been far more exposed to diversity, and to liberal social attitudes.

    History suggests that we can expect the parties to move with the times, though perhaps at different rates and in different ways as a consequence of the differing compositions of their respective electorates.

  42. @Oldnat

    It seems that the older folk have nostalgic leanings. Those who generally had a vote in the 70s, no less.

  43. SOMERJOHN

    “It would be interesting to see responses to a polling question along the lines of, “If forming a single EU defence force saved the UK enough money to eliminate the deficit without any further spending cuts, would you be in favour?””

    The entire uk defence budget is only half that of the current deficit so the EU would have to throw in a 40 billion euro sweetener.

    You may as we’ll ask whether they’d be in favor if it would cure malaria.

  44. @Riley

    I don’t disagree with you about the value of research and the changes in political culture as a result of education. I was a social researcher myself as a young man, and I read your study before commenting.

    I do however still think you are overstating your case, in applying this research to present political discourse, for the reasons I originally gave.

  45. JOHN B

    Good day to you.

    Just to ensure balance and to cancel your vote out, I shall be voting very positively to leave the EU as Cameron’s shopping list does not meet my objections to the EU in any way.

    I suspect you will win the day though as too many are scared of going it alone. IMO a shame as it may mean we are caught up in strife when the EU eventually falls apart as it will surely do.

  46. ” between July to September 2014 and July to September
    2015:
    • UK nationals working in the UK increased by 122,000 to 28.09 million
    • non-UK nationals working in the UK increased by 326,000 to 3.22 million”

    ” between July to September 1997 and
    July to September 2015:
    • the number of non-UK nationals working in the UK increased from 986,000 to 3.22 million
    • the proportion of all people working in the UK accounted for by non-UK nationals increased from 3.7% to 10.3%”

    ” between July to September 2014 and July to September 2015:
    • non-UK nationals from the EU working in the UK increased by 324,000 to 2.02 million
    • non-UK nationals from outside the EU working in the UK was little changed at 1.20 million”

    ONS
    11 Nov. 2015

    Grist to the mill of UKIP & the OUT campaign.

  47. How many of the estimated 2 million UK citizens currently living and working in the EU, and thereby taking advantage of the free movement of labour regulations , are likely to vote the leave in a referendum, do we think? My guess is not many and therefore I wonder if this latest poll may be under-estimating the “Remain” vote.

    I’m saying this on the twin presumption that the poll sample only included UK residents and that the 2 million citizens currently living and working abroad have the right to vote in the Referendum.

  48. @John B

    I think the negotiations are starting to become a problem for Cameron. Since the referendum pledge was made he has been able to neuter his anti-EU backbenchers somewhat (restricting them to relatively harmless rebellions such as those over the ‘purdah’ rules). But now that what was always likely from the outset – that he won’t be able to satisfy the most Eurosceptic group of backbenchers – is becoming increasingly clear the truce is breaking down. I don’t think this is an imminent threat to Cameron’s position, not least because the likes of Bernard Jenkin and Bill Cash have always wanted to leave regardless and are probably quite glad that the PM isn’t offering something more convincing at this stage. Where the danger comes in is if large numbers of MPs that were previously fence-sitters (probably the bulk of the party, including a lot of ministers) also decide to back exit. That could see big figures like Theresa May leave the government and, were Brexit to win, they would then – especially given Cameron’s pledge to go in 2020 – be well placed to launch a coup.

    All that said, I think that there must surely be something more to the renegotiation that we don’t know about. Keeping expectations relatively low may well be a tactical choice. And I do expect the other European nations to largely capitulate to Cameron’s demands because it would be very foolish for them to help facilitate a Brexit, not only because of our economic clout but because it would probably precipitate renegotiations and/or exit referendums in Scandinavia and the Netherlands.

  49. @the other howard

    If it’s any comfort, the clear trend is of the UK becoming more separated from the Eurozone (the dysfunctional part) as it tries to integrate. We are already quite insulated, for instance no UK money was used in the Eurozone bailouts except Ireland, which was the British government’s own decision not the EU’s. That process will continue if Cameron gets only some of his shopping list.

    The truth is that if the EU really does go balls up, we will be affected whether we’re inside the EU or outside. The continent will remain a major trading partner and vital for security however the nation votes.

    That is the hand geography has dealt us

  50. Well, it looks like the EU Referendum and Tax Credits are causing Messrs Cameron and Osborne trouble after all.

    Whoever would have foreseen that?

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