Yesterday there were two EU referendum polls showing the race essentially neck-and-neck. Today there are two more EU referendum polls, but both of these have REMAIN with a solid looking twenty-plus point lead. ComRes for OpenEurope have topline EU voting intention figures of REMAIN 56%, LEAVE 35% (tabs are here). Ipsos MORI for the Standard have topline figures of REMAIN 58%, LEAVE 32% (full tabs are here)

Note that MORI asked the referendum question as a split-sample. Half the sample were asked how they would vote in a referendum, stay in or get out (MORI’s long term tracker question), the other half were asked the actual referendum question. The stay in or get out question had a split of 53%-36%, the actual referendum question question produced a bigger lead for staying in 58%-32%. Wherever possible, I am using questions that use the actual referendum wording, so those are the figures that have gone in my EU referendum tracking data here.

The difference between EU referendum voting intentions appears to be a gap between online polling and telephone polling. It’s always difficult to be certain of course – there are many differences between different companies’ approaches and there haven’t been that many telephone polls – but the phone polls from ComRes and MORI are averaging around REMAIN 55%, LEAVE 35%, DON’T KNOW 10%, the online polls from ICM, YouGov, ComRes and Survation are averaging around REMAIN 43%, LEAVE 40%, DON’T KNOW 18%. The telephone polls have “remain” substantially higher and, intriguingly, “don’t know” substantially lower. As ever, it’s difficult to be confident what the reasons are – it could be a difference in sampling (if for some reason online or telephone samples reach respondents who are substantially more or less pro-European) or it could be an interviewer effect (if people are less willing to tell a human interviewer they would vote to leave or they haven’t yet decided).

Meanwhile the monthly MORI voting intention figures were CON 38%, LAB 31%, LDEM 9%, UKIP 9%.

89 Responses to “And some more EU referendum polling…”

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  1. I am not sure as to their present positioning, but I seem to remember that the Liberals were quite eurosceptic which is one of the reasons that they are not Lib Dems. Whether this had anything to do with them winning a council seat, I have no idea. I would think this election had more to do with personalities than politics, perhaps someone with more local knowledge may know.

  2. Prof C opines on the Race for Second Place in his first post on What Scotland Thinks since October. He opines:
    the main reason why we are asking whether the Conservatives could possibly come second [for Holyrood] is not because the polls are pointing to a transformation in the party’s position, but rather because they suggest that Labour’s situation remains dire.

    Nothing much new but worth a read.

  3. Barbazenzero

    Thanks for the link.

    I’m not sure about the usefulness of the Prof’s conclusion though – “Labour is at risk of starting the New Year with its focus on internal battles when what it really needs to do is to start talking to voters.”

    “Talking to voters” isn’t a lot of use, if there isn’t clarity and consistency in what one is talking about.

    While every government takes decisions that turn out not to be the best, oppositions not only have to point those out but also have to persuade the voters that their lot would have taken better decisions “back then” (and evidence that claim).

    Even harder, they have to create a “vision” that is clear, comprehensible and believable, that they will take the best decisions in the future.

    That is difficult enough for a party that operates within a single political system, but for LiS (when so much media coverage is concentrated on its divisions in England) that seems an exceptionally severe challenge.

    Dugdale does show a lot of promise as a leader and the 2016 elections may allow her to create a more widely known persona as someone of vision who can be trusted (even if folk don’t vote for LiS in 2016).

    If she can avoid being drawn into, or damaged by, the fratricidal war then she can build a base on which to stabilise LiS in the 2016 council elections, and to make advances in 2021.

    It seems a hard and lengthy process, however, and may well be overtaken by “events” (as McMillan might have said, but sadly didn’t).

  4. Republican primary voters asked whether they support/oppose bombing Agrabah.

    Support 30% : Oppose 13%

    Worrying times.

  5. @RNJ1
    “I am not sure as to their present positioning, but I seem to remember that the Liberals were quite eurosceptic which is one of the reasons that they are not Lib Dems. Whether this had anything to do with them winning a council seat, I have no idea. I would think this election had more to do with personalities than politics, perhaps someone with more local knowledge may know.”

    Libertarians with a social conscience?

  6. RAF @RNJ1

    The Liberal Party has a website

    “The Liberal Party believes that fundamental reform of the European Union is essential, and that the UK may have to withdraw, or threaten to withdraw, from the EU to get it. We believe that policies such as the common agricultural and common fisheries policies are protectionist, fundamentally illiberal and have proved disastrous. We are opposed to the introduction of the Euro in the UK”

  7. Nothing to do with the EU but this simple District Councillor would like to know what the polling figures are suggesting for us next May, assuming things stay much the same (silly assumption I know, but is there a better one?) and assuminmg a 4 year cycle i.e. taking 2012 results as the base line. I would appreciate your expert, informed comments.

  8. Although I am now a card carrying member of the Labour Party I can shed some light on the continuing Liberal Party. It is well to the libertarian Left of the Lib Dems and is pro-European culturally but anti EU Brussels establishment committment to capitalism.

    The continuing Liberals are essentially the old radical Left-wing “localists” who used to give Steel so many headaches at his annual Assemblies.

    There has always been some residual strength for the Liberals in Ryedale as I posted about 18 months ago in the run-up to another local election there. Unusually, at the time of the merger in 1987/88 most of the most active activists in the north of the constituency, who had been instrumental in getting Elizabeth Shields elected in the 1986 Ryedale Parliamentary Bye-Election, refused to acknowledge the merger and remained “Liberals”. They win seats up there occasionally with old-fashioned community politics leaflets that look like something from the 1970s! I am amazed that that dated style still works!!

  9. Further to my last above, I am informed that prior to this Bye-Election win in Derwent Ward the Liberals (as opposed to Lib Dems) hold three other Wards in Ryedale DC, namely Crompton, Pickering East and Pickering West.
    Truly a little enclave!

  10. FT suggesting EUref in 2016.

    Not impossible that he might make it coincide with English local elections (and, of course, devolved nation GEs and London) – however, perhaps unlikely.

    If June, then the UK media coverage will clearly have an effect on those elections, and even an Autumn referendum will doubtless have an effect on them.

  11. @OldNat;

    Why unlikely? If, generally speaking, In voters are somewhat less enthused than Out voters, by staging it at the same time as another election they may already have gone to, you ensure In doesn’t suffer low voter turnout too badly. If I were Cameron, I’d time it with the local elections.

  12. Top Hat

    Good point. I hadn’t thought that through.

    There is a reasonable argument that he could replicate the 2011 referendum strategy.

  13. “Republican primary voters asked whether they support/oppose bombing Agrabah. Worrying times.

    Support 30% : Oppose 13%”

    Not really. The geographical knowledge of the average American is extraordinarily poor, as anyone who has lived there knows, and is regularly advertised through stories like this. You wouldn’t find anything different from Democrat voters.

    The point is that the USA is a very large country, few of its inhabitants travel abroad, and it is highly nationalistic. China is very similar. Obviously it is a problem for the rest of the world when the most powerful countries are the most ignorant, but that’s life. The rulers are however usually formidably well informed.


  14. Good morning all from a tropical London and a city full of stinking pigeons.


    “Dugdale does show a lot of promise as a leader and the 2016 elections may allow her to create a more widely known persona as someone of vision who can be trusted (even if folk don’t vote for LiS in 2016)”

    Sorry but I fundamentally disagree with you here. Dugdale has had ample opportunities to shine but has failed. She has had all the exposure she could ask for but has failed to make any headway what so ever.

    I’ve watched her at FMQ’s and Dugdale acts like a immature spoilt brat. She flopped on the BBC Question time program and opposes everything the SNP stands for just for opposition sake. Nicola Sturgeon has said this herself plenty of times.

    There is nothing positive or constructive about her and to be honest Dugdale is the main problem Scottish Labour are on the slide

    Now take the Scottish Tory leader Ruth Davidson. You might not agree with her politics but at least she acts in a proper constructive manner and acts like what an opposition leader should act like…holding the governing party to account.

    Sorry but Kez don’t cut the mustard for me.

  15. I’ve never heard of Agrabah, which worries me, since I consider myself quite well-informed.

    A few years ago when this “free movement of workers” gubbins was being mooted, I strongly believed it would mean lots of people sloshing around the EU looking for a better life. And so it has happened: perhaps a lot more than was generally expected. I think while difficult economic times persist, there will be more movement, with people looking for a better life. It’s certainly going to be a very long time before it settles down to a steady rate, let alone slowing.

    If the referendum result is “remain” then I imagine that a repeat performance will be demanded, driven by continued and probably growing immigration.

  16. RE: Agrabah, I think it’s just silly news. If I was asked if I would bomb Agrabah, I’d say yes – it’s a fictional place and I know it, so I’d give a silly answer, same as I’d say support to “would you support or oppose a communist take-over of Narnia?”. I’m not exactly too enthused by Republican voters myself, but I imagine a fair few of them did likewise – Disney’s Aladdin is fairly well known, I imagine a reasonable number recognized Agrabah.

    If you actually wanted to test Republican propensity to bomb an Arabic-sounding city with no other information necessary, you’d pick an obscure city in Saudi Arabia – e.g, “What is your opinion on the United States Airforce engaging in bombing runs on Khamis Mushait?”; to minimize silly answers.

  17. I wonder if David Cameron thinks the memorial to Bomber Command was such a good idea.

  18. “Meanwhile the monthly MORI voting intention figures were CON 38%, LAB 31%, LDEM 9%, UKIP 9%.”

    Well, it seems the Corbyn is doing all right…that was the margin of victory Cameron had over Milliband earlier this year.

    So, with four years to go, this media hype that Corbyn is unelectable is a nonsense argument. He’s not doing worse than Milliband, who was practically a Blairite-lite.

  19. The latest Comres figures are likely a statistical aberration, but they’re showing Labour closing the gap to 4 points:

  20. TOH

    I don’t know if you have read this thread on pb -I think you will find it particularly interesting :-)

    “The GE2015 polls weren’t wrong – we were just looking at the wrong numbers”

  21. Good early evening from a warm Bournemouth East.

    Hello to you; I think that sometimes Ed M’s Party was in the lead over the Cons, that Oppositions ought to be in the lead, owing to the undisputed ‘swing back’ to the Government Party, silent Tory voters not picked up in the polls and the fact there will be a fresh Tory PM in 2020, repeating the pattern of 1990.
    The compliment about Ed as being Blair lite may exaggerate Ed’s successes, since he did not win any elections, I think, and in Scotland, I think, Blair’s party took the vast majority of seats, a long time ago.

  22. John Chanin

    The point of the Agrabah story isn’t to be anti-Republican or even to sneer at the USA (popular though that can be on this side of the Atlantic)

    Top Hat

    I doubt it really matters whether the name of a real place was used either. How many of those who “pore over” Disney scripts know whether the palace names are imaginary or not?


    Such spoof questions are a useful reminder, on a polling site, that a significant number of respondents may be giving responses that are wholly useless, for a variety of reasons.

    1. How many respondents to such a question would have answered differently if the place name was Raqqa?

    2. How many respondents (authoritarian followers?) simply trust that authority figures (such as Anthony!) must know what they are talking about, when such questions are posed?

    3. How many respondents are “taking the p!ss” in the answers they give to any question that polling geeks take seriously?

    We simply don’t know.

  23. Chris Lane

    “in Scotland, I think, Blair’s party took the vast majority of seats, a long time ago.”

    I suppose that odd statement depends on how you are using the terms “Blair’s party”, “Vast majority” and “long time ago”.

    It reads as if you meant to imply that Blair was enormously popular in Scotland (as opposed to the dark days previously, when Labour had only 68% of Scots MPs, and after his departure, when Lab had only 70%).

    Students of Scottish politics might prefer the interpretation that “Willie Ross’s party” made the Lab breakthrough in 1964 – gaining 61% of Scots seats – until the Blairite Murphy lost the lot in 2015.

  24. TOP HAT

    RE: Agrabah, I think it’s just silly news. If I was asked if I would bomb Agrabah, I’d say yes – it’s a fictional place and I know it, so I’d give a silly answer

    There were some people who responded like that, but most didn’t. In that case you would expect the main response from that to be from those under 40 (Aladdin came out in 1992) who had seen the film as children. Actually if you look at PPP’s tabulations[1]:

    you see that Republicans aged 18-45 (23% of ‘532 usual Republican primary voters’) were most opposed to bombing (21%) and significantly fewer said “Not sure” (46%) – the reverse of the normal pattern where older voters tend to be more certain about everything. So the response to the trick question from the Disneyfied seems to have been more to opposed to show that they were not getting caught out rather than to support.

    There do seem to have been some younger voters who joined Team Sarky however, as in the response to the same question from Democrats (p 102) the highest support for bombing (28%) comes from the 18-45 group – twice that of older Democrats. Again “Not sures” are lower for the under 45s, so knowledge does seem to be playing some part. Some people obviously really hated the film.

    [1] You really do miss British-style tables when looking at polls elsewhere, especially with regard to sample sizes and weighting.

  25. Roger Mexico

    It seems that “opt-in” Express readers are even more desperate for certainty than us oldies, in their “poll”

    Russian President Vladimir Putin has beaten David Cameron to be crowned the most popular choice for the next prime minster of the United Kingdom.

    The ex-KGB strongman attracted the support of four out of five readers, compared with just one in five who opted for the current PM running the country.

    Asked ‘Who would you rather was Britain’s prime minister?’, 78 per cent chose the Russian president, while 22 per cent voted for Mr Cameron.

    The 1930s caricature of Express readers as Hitler supporters maybe needs to be amended to their supporting “any tough guy who will make others dance to our tune” (as they hum the theme to “The Mouse That Roared”).

  26. OLD NAT.
    Good Evening to you. I think that Blair was not leader in 2010 and 2015.
    Some people think Labour’s poll figures would have been better if Tony Blair had been Labour leader, but we will never know, and I am not a fan of something called ‘counter factual history’.

  27. Colin

    Love it!

    Thanks for that. Saw the ROH “Nutcracker” with three granddaughters on Thursday. Magnificent evening.

  28. @Roger_Mexico;

    A silly response could be either “yes” or “no”. That’s the point – it’s silly, there is no “real” response. The tables could just as easily reflect random variation around whether people were likely to think “yes” or “no” was sillier. There’s probably some truth to the idea that Republican voters are more likely to want to bomb a generic Middle Eastern location with no further information, but this poll was a bad way of doing it and was really just a PR stunt.

  29. Chris Lane

    “I think that Blair was not leader in 2010 and 2015.”

    Indeed – nor was he in 1992 and previously – hence my description of your comment as “odd”.

    As a historian myself, I tend to prefer statements which are historically accurate. It remains unclear as to what point you were trying to make with your Scotland reference.

    I’m not sure who the “some people” are who think that Brown did less well in Scotland than Blair would have done. The evidence is not there, so we can presume that their opinion is that counter factual nonsense that we both deprecate.

  30. Top Hat

    “was really just a PR stunt.”

    I suspect you didn’t look at the pages of tables (hard to navigate, I know) in which that single question was buried.

    Do you equally accuse YouGov of organising a poll as a “publicity stunt” when they add the name of one of their staff members as a contender in some political race or other?

  31. OldNat

    But TopHat’s point is they chose the wrong name. It would be like YouGov offering “Francis Urquhart” in there list of possible ministers rather than the blameless “Andrew Farmer”. Some people of a certain generation would ‘get it’ and answer accordingly.

    If PPP had offered a completely made-up name or something vaguely Arabic but unrelated to terrorism, then it would have been better, though not as eye-catching.

  32. What Roger said.

  33. Roger Mexico / Top Hat

    What you are suggesting is that the spoof question might have been better phrased as a newly invented fictional location, or a real place, rather than as one that some (though not all) devotees of Disney would have known was fictional.

    Neither seems particularly plausible as a “more effective spoof” – unless someone can come up with some evidential support for the hypothesis that even those who had seen the 1992 version of Aladdin had greater knowledge that Disney had used a fictional name, rather than a real place.

    Just because we are all very clever people, it’s silly to assume that all those polled match our stratospheric levels of brilliance ! :-)

    For example, see this online Q&A

  34. Chrislane

    You keep repeating that the opposition ought to be in the lead at this stage of the Parliament because of subsequent ‘swingback’.despite the fact that it has already been pointed out to you that precedent does not really support your assertion – I have myself referred you to the examples of the 1987 and 1959 Parliaments .
    It is a rather different matter to suggest that the Opposition ought to have a reasonable lead at ‘midterm’ – but it does not apply to the early part of a Parliament. For the record we are now approaching the 12.5% mark of this Parliament ! Midterm is surely another 18 months or so away. As an historian yourself I am surprised that you do not rely more on the evidence available from earlier polling data.

  35. Opinium poll – and tables

    Con 38% : Lab 30% : UKIP 16% : SNP 6% : Grn 5% : LD 5%

  36. @Graham

    “It is a rather different matter to suggest that the Opposition ought to have a reasonable lead at ‘midterm’ – but it does not apply to the early part of a Parliament.”

    I agree with you and I’m rather baffled by any theory that suggests that Corbyn and Labour ought to be opening up opinion poll leads on the Tories at this stage of the Parliament. It was only 7 months ago that Labour were thoroughly trounced in a General Election and we’re still well into a Government honeymoon period. What political or economic events have occurred in these last 7 months that would have plunged this Government into unpopularity and/or driven voters to the opposition? The economy is still growing, employment is rising, inflation is low and average household incomes are increasing. Why would those who voted Tory in May be now flocking into Corbyn’s arms? Unless I’m missing something of course.


    By the way, comparisons to Miliband’s early performance against the Coalition in the last Parliament are erroneous. He was gifted about 10% VI in the polls by appalled Lib Dem voters. Fat lot of good it did him eventually in the poll that really mattered four years further down the line!

  37. Opinium poll provides an elegant mockery of trying to concatenate Scotland with E&W in VI polling.

    63% SNP for Westminster in the Scots geographic crossbreak of 108? Fairly obvious nonsense, but acceptable to the GB pollster mentality when translated to 6% – despite the usual concomitant of pretending that the methodology for dealing with absent Con VI in England, distorts the Scots data even more.

    Anthony has recognised this phenomenon, yet pollsters continue to pretend that this is the mid 20th century – when folk across GB did largely move their votes in unison.

    Now that Survation & Ashcroft have started to measure opinion on UK matters across the UK, will we finally see the point when opinion on issues are measured in the appropriate localities?

    Probably not. I suspect that pollsters (and the Westminster system as a whole) will remain locked into the 21st century equivalent of the League of Empire loyalists for some time to come.

  38. @OldNat;

    If you suppose that SNP voting intention for Westminster is 54%, which is not so outlandish, then 63% is within the margin of error for a sample size of 108.

  39. @OldNat

    Under the EU Referendum Act, as it now is, the referendum cannot take place on 5 May 2016 (or 4 May 2017). My best guess is September, allowing six months or so between a deal and polling day.

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