Tomorrow’s Times has a YouGov poll on the EU, conducted after the announcement of the draft renegotiation proposals. Topline referendum voting intentions are REMAIN 36%(-2), LEAVE 45%(+3), DK/WNV 19%. While the changes since YouGov’s last poll a week ago aren’t huge, since summer YouGov’s referendum polls have tended to show the race neck-and-neck, so today’s nine point lead for leave is a significant departure, and the largest YouGov have shown since 2014. The Times’s story is here and the YouGov tabs are here.

Asked about the details of the draft renegotiation (the emergency brake, child benefit changes, the “red card” and so on) most people were broadly supportive. However, these things are more than just the sum of their parts, and overall the draft agreement is seen as a bad deal for Britain by 46%, with 22% saying it’s a good deal. A majority of respondents said they thought the deal did not go far enough (17% thought it was about right, 4% too far) and 50% thought the deal represented little or no real change. In short, the public’s reaction seems to be “nice as far as it goes…but not nearly enough”.

The poll was conducted on Wednesday and Thursday so in the context of some very negative press coverage. To some degree this may be a short term reaction based upon that, and we may see things revert back to the neck-and-neck position as the impact fades. Indeed, when people were asked in the poll how they would vote if Cameron managed to secure the draft deal at the EU meeting in February the LEAVE lead dropped back to three points, far more typical for YouGov’s polling. We shall see.

(On other matters, the Daily Express have tragically got their front page headline as the latest results from an open-access voodoo-poll on their own website. I really can’t be bothered to rehearse my usual rant, so here’s one I prepared earlier)

68 Responses to “YouGov poll on the draft EU renegotiations”

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  1. TOH

    Totally agree with you on Scottish referendum. When Scotland voted to stay in UK there was no let out clause “unless the rest of you vote to
    leave EU”.

    However I think you are optimistic for your side on the polling lead. The Opinion Polls ask how peeps would vote in a GE, not the local and regional elections in May. By-elections show no evidence of a 10 point Tory lead. They paint a picture of apathy interspersed with protest – as a former Shropshire resident I can say that electing a Green by a resounding majority in Oswestry yesterday is an unusual signal. Last week’s Labour gain in Thanet does not fit your guess either.

  2. Millie

    Is that “serious renegotiation” for the 2 years during which the terms of leaving will be determined; the negotiations to join EFTA (and therefore the EEA); bi-lateral negotiations (like the Swiss) with the EU; or negotiations with the international banks to keep some remnant of that volatile industry in the City of London?


    I think you misunderstand what I was forecasting. I agree there is a lot of apathy out there and the voters are no great fans of the current Tory Party. However the question was “how would you vote if there was an election tomorrow”. If there was an election tomorrow I would expect the Tory lead over Labour to be about 10% and I would expect a comfortable Tory majority. I say this because at the moment I think Labour is unelecteble. All IMO of course.

  4. @welshborderer

    ‘re the EU and Scotland, the problem with your line of argument is that we were repeatedly told that the only way to remain in the EU was to vote No. So if Scotland is taken out of the EU because of English votes the Unionist promises have been broken and we are in a new situation. If it does not trigger a referendum it will at the very least further weaken the Union significantly.


    I agree free trade is likely to remain, but that isn’t the only issue. The EU might not insist on Schengen, but it’s not that simple. One of the main reasons many want to leave the EU is to control immigration. The Schengen exemption only means that EU citizens have to show ID documents at the UK border; they still have a right to enter and live in the UK indefinitely after entry. If that is the case with Scotland but not rUK, how would rUK enforce any restrictions it might want to impose on EU immigration in practice? If there is an open border between Scotland and rUK, people can simply drive across without any controls at all. One possibility is the introduction of mandatory ID cards and residence registration in rUK, like on the continent; another; perhaps more likely, possibility is document checks at the Scottish border.

    Personally I tend to doubt that the EU is going to be highly receptive to any Scottish demands for special treatment, even continuing special treatment previously granted to the British. Popular opinion on the continent is that Britain has far too much already, and was only granted that because of its size, wealth, and political and military standing. Scotland would not bring any of that to the table and would be known to be unwilling to walk away from the negotiations. So I think most likely terms are the standard terms – there might well be a Schengen exemption because that would also affect Ireland, which would remain a member, but I think the Euro is very much on the table.

  6. Polls are currently showing Tory leads of 5 – 11% . Local byelections do not show a clear trend either. Of the three elections this week for which swing could be calculated two showed swings to Labour – indeed the Hexham result sowed a swing even compared with 2013.

  7. MICO

    If rUK was outwith the EU and Scotland & Ireland within it, what would be the policy difference between the borders in the two islands, in terms of rUK imposing border controls?

  8. @OLDNAT

    Very little; we might well see “border controls” between GB and NI too. However that would be much less disruptive for obvious geographic reasons. I doubt that there would be border controls between NI and Ireland as that would be more disruptive of the peace there.

  9. MICO


    That sounds suspiciously like border controls would only be required on a land border with England. That’s the only “obvious geographical reason” that I can see.

    EBCEB! :-)

  10. Does anyone know if the SNP are putting another referendum in their manifesto for the Holyrood elections?

    There can only be another Indy ref if a) the SNP put a ref in their manifesto b) they win an overall majority and c) Brexit occurs triggering the Indy ref.

    If it’s not in their manifesto, there is no mandate for an Indy ref, no matter if Brexit occurs. Ditto if they don’t win an overall majority.

    I notice Sturgeon is very anxious about the Brexit vote being in June – possibly because she doesn’t want people to vote against her in May to prevent an Indy ref being triggered.

    Cameron of course wants the EU ref vote to be held before the summer migrant crisis, to help Remain. If Sturgeon was really as pro-EU as she claims, she would be in favour of a June ref too – but she’s not…

  11. Always interesting to see posts from mind readers, who can illuminate our understanding of the thoughts of political leaders!

    Sadly, we only see posts from those who only know their own mind. :-)

  12. @oldnat

    Indeed the certainty of thought is impressive especially as it seems to have little foundation in knowledge of the subject matter.

  13. @micro

    Well both the EFTA/EEA and the bilateral Swiss agreement with the EU provide for freedom of movement. So it seems highly likely that EU nationals will still have the right to move to work and live here post Brexit and in practice there will be little difference with the present arrangements.

    The UK has been comfortable with the CTA arrangements with Ireland both between NI and with GB so it seems odd that somehow post Brexit England will be rushing to build border posts if Ireland and Scotland are still in the EU.

    It seems especially odd re the Irish as the UK Government has made clear that any restrictions on EU migrants which might apply if the UK remains in the EU will not apply to Irish citizens where other legislation applies. And I look forward to the UK government explaining to its citizens in NI that they will be subject to internal movement controls.

    But it seems that

  14. @OLDNAT

    In reference to “we might well see “border controls” between GB and NI too.”, or…?

    I do believe that there will not be border controls between NI and the Republic, but it’s hardly a problem, since NI isn’t exactly a big target destination for economic migrants!

  15. @Hireton

    The UK isn’t Switzerland. I consider it very unlikely that the UK would leave the EU and then agree to unlimited freedom of movement with the EU. Not having to do that is largely the point of leaving, for many of those who support leaving.

    Border controls would not affect Irish citizens, any more than delaying them briefly at the airport which would also be the case for British citizens. Border controls means checking the citizenship of entrants, and turning away those who don’t have a right to enter, not denying a right of entry to those who previously had it.

  16. @Mico

    OK well it will be interesting to see how the Fortress England approach plays out in the real world but it is slightly alarming that proponents of Brexit don’t appear to know what status they are seeking and what it entails.

    You are missing the point about the CTA. It treats Irish citizens as internal travellers within the CTA so no you will not be treating them the same as UK citizens ( other than NI citizens who will be singled out for special treatment when they travel within their own country).

  17. @GRAHAM

    Sorry, too busy watching the rugby etc to keep up with the posts here. I wouldn’t set much store by local by-elections giving any sort of national guide. Generally the candidate list is vastly different to normal and independents completely mess things up. The Hexham result was a case in point where people voted in a former councillor under a different label. Swings are meaningless.

  18. @Hireton

    Imposing border controls within the UK between NI and GB would not discriminate against Irish citizens as the regulations would just as well apply to a British citizen resident in NI and a British citizen resident in London returning after a visit to NI. If anything it would create conditions nearer to a united Ireland than they are at present, though that would not be the aim.

    I haven’t proposed Brexit and certainly shouldn’t be considered some kind of spokesman for the Brexit campaign; I have discussed its likely consequences if it happens.

    The agreements that Norway, Switzerland, and Iceland have with the EU differ substantially enough just from one another that it seems vanishingly unlikely to me that the UK will simply adopt one of them outright, even leaving aside that the UK is a much larger, richer, and more important country with many unique political, economic, and geographic attributes. What precise form a deal may take is very difficult to say with certainty but I think we can say with certainty that it won’t look exactly like anyone else’s deal, that it will be substantially adapted to UK circumstances.

    My reading is that most Brexit proponents want free trade but not free movement. This is a real status that already exists and is currently enjoyed by among others the following countries:

    South Korea
    South Africa

    Whether this will happen in practice for the UK is another question, but looking at the EU’s actual relations with real countries at present, the most likely outcome seems to me to be an Association Agreement with the EU, which means partial participation in EU institutions. My guess is that an eventual deal on immigration would preserve the rights of British retirees and tourists in the EU and middle and upper middle class EU workers in London but end reciprocal automatic immigration rights of low skilled and jobless working age people.

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