There are two new polls on the EU referendum today. While the YouGov and ComRes polls conducted after the draft renegotiation showed a sharp movement towards LEAVE, these two paint a far steadier picture (though given one is online and one was conducted by phone, their overall figures contrast with each other!). ICM’s last poll had shown LEAVE nudging ahead, today’s new online figures are back to REMAIN 43%, LEAVE 39% (tabs here). Ipsos MORI’s latest telephone figures are REMAIN 54%, LEAVE 36% – virtually unchanged from their previous poll (tabs here).

MORI also released their monthly voting intention figures, which stand at CON 39%, LAB 33%, LDEM 6%, UKIP 12%, GRN 3%


353 Responses to “Latest MORI and ICM referendum polling”

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  1. On a separate point, what (if any) effect do posters think Zac Goldsmith declaring in favour of leaving the EU will have on the 5 May London mayoral election?

    The general thinking seems to be that London is more pro-EU than the rest of England – possibly the most pro-EU part of England. This is partly based on UKIP vote in London in EP elections in 2014 being 17% and the aggregate UKIP/BNP vote in London not having increased since the 2004 EP election. It’s also partly based on the fact that the Conservative vote in London in every general election from 1997 to 2015 has been between 31% and 35%, with only 0.5% increase from 2010 to 2015, even though the Conservative vote rose significantly in the rest of England.

    In the London mayoral elections all EU citizens registered to vote can vote. Based on the electoral registers as of 1 December 2014 there are 443,435 EU citizens who can vote in the London mayoral election who can’t vote at general elections. That’s 7.7% of the electorate at the mayoral election. Remember that these are EU citizens who have bothered to register to vote (many don’t) so they may be just as likely to vote as UK/Commonwealth citizens.

    To me it’s interesting that so many of the prominent Conservative MPs supporting leaving the EU represent London seats – Boris, Zac Goldsmith, Theresa Villiers, Iain Duncan Smith.

  2. Peter

    “the Channel Islands and Isle of Man are part of the U.K.”

    No, they aren’t.

  3. @profhoward

    Well most brexiters are saying that the UK will negotiate a free trade agreement with the EU so the exit will be painless and seamless a far as trade is concerned. In which case a an EU Scotland and a non EU rUK would not be in different trade blocs. As far as personal travel is concerned why do you think the CTA could not continue with Ireland and extend to Scotland?

  4. Hireton

    While I’m not a great Gordon Wilson fan, he does introduce some interesting ideas on post Brexit options in this article –

    http://www.optionsforscotland.com/2016/02/21/scotlands-role-in-the-european-referendum/

  5. @oldnat

    Indeed , they are Crown Dependencies legally and not part of the EU.

  6. @hireton

    What Brexiters don’t understand is that what is important for the U.K. is trade in services not trade in goods. The U.K. runs a massive deficit with the EU in trade in goods and a relatively large surplus in trade in services. Look at the graphs on the top of page 5 of this House of Commons briefing paper from last month: http://researchbriefings.files.parliament.uk/documents/SN06091/SN06091.pdf

    Agreeing a free trade arrangement re goods is quick and easy given that most of it is already covered by the WTO accords. This means that the rEU can keep its surplus in trade in goods with the U.K. Agreeing a free trade arrangement re banking, insurance, asset management, etc. is difficult and time-consuming. This means that the U.K.’s trade surplus in trade in services will disappear.

    Brexit screws the U.K. economy, not the economy of that of the rEU. I am not a fan of the EU and the way it works. However, the level of support for leaving the EU is a reflection of how bad the U.K. education system is (part of the reason why jobs go to EU immigrants and not British graduates).

  7. They are indeed Crown dependencies, but that’s effectively little more than a tax dodge.

    It is just another example of how different Countries can designate different parts of their territory to suit themselves or circumstances.

    I seem to recall that during the civil war the French tried to get Algeria classified as part of France so that it could invoke NATO’s common defence provision.

  8. @ Hireton

    If I follow the discussion on this list, those who vote to “leave” are less inclined to factor in the “economic” as their basis for voting yea or nay.

    In the 2015 GE in Scotland it is quite probable that given the large number of previous Labour MPs, that the best way to try and defeat the SNP was vote Labour and the best way to try and defeat the Conservatives and get a UK Labour government.

    It is now obvious that, according to current polls, the SNP are going to win the Scottish General Election, and it is now also unclear, according to some polls, that Labour are the “main” opposition party to the SNP.

    Dare I suggest that there might be, in line with Marx’s analysis in the Eighteenth Brumaire, a section of the poorest sector of the Scottish working class, who not unlike their counterparts in Northern West and Yorkshire and Humber England who voted BNP in the 2009 Euro elections, decide to go with UKIP.

    Beyond the clear distatste for lack of “national sovereignty that exists on this list, there is a very real perception among some UK citizens that they are competing with the “refugees” and “migrants” for jobs, housing and other government services.

    That without these entrants into the labour market, zero hours contracts would not have so much traction.

    I speculate that UKIP has it’s Welsh stronghold in the very valleys where coal mining used to be the largest employer and that, for example, is true for the Midlands and potentially similar areas of Scotland.

    Those who feel most abandoned by the current government’s economic policies and feel they have gained the least by being In Europe as the most open to UKIP and other leave propaganda, when from my perspective the problem arises from the failure of both the Conservatives and Llabour to build a proper economic transition and protect the most vulnerable in society.

    UKIP will have and has had a field day precisely because no UK government has effectively dealt with the economic transition and the decline in real incomes.

    It is therefore quite ironic that while joining Europe probably saved the UK economy from stagnation and further decline, by opening up access to the European market, those who have not benefited from that transformation, in the former industrial heartlands of the UK, are in fact voting to leave under the misunderstanding that the UK can go it alone, like it did in the 50’s and to a lesser extent the 60’s.

    The problem is that the “Commonwealth” countries that the UK used to so heavily trade with, have all moved on and entered trading blocks and trading agreements, with groups organized like the EU.

    If I get to vote, as an overseas elector, it will be to “remain”, because if nothing else UK workers will get to keep European Labour and Human Rights protections.

  9. @andyshadrack

    If your hypothesis is true, the effect should surely have been seen before now. I still see no grounds for thinking that UKIP will suddenly achieve the significant momentum in Scotland which has eluded them to date especially given their general anti Scottish stance (for example slashing Scotland’s budget).

  10. @oldnat

    Thanks for the link, will read and digest.

  11. @Andy Shadrack

    A very cogent analysis. I note that, although EU immigration may have depressed wages, there has been relatively little EU immigration to the Welsh valleys or the deindustralised north. (Non-EU immigration to such areas (e.g. Asians in mill towns) is much higher.) I think it is true that EU immigration has depressed farm labourer and casual tourism business wages in parts of rural/coastal England, e.g. Lincolnshire.

    However, the U.K. has a relatively low unemployment rate – currently the lowest in the EU apart from Germany and Malta which are slightly lower. The economic pressure in England is driven by housing costs and tax credits. Housing costs are a reflection of the high cost of building new houses and infrastructure – most of which results from government regulation and some of which results from a failure of management culture in the sector (which government has not addressed). Tax credits have subsidised low paid jobs to a ridiculous extent – employers don’t may more because tax credits have created an artificial labour market where those earning at or £1/£2 above minimum wage are concerned. Neither of these has anything whatsoever to do with U.K. membership of the EU.

  12. Boris needs to start looking at UKPR!

    “I also accept there is a risk that a vote to Leave the EU, as it currently stands, will cause fresh tensions in the union between England and Scotland. On the other hand, most of the evidence I have seen suggests that the Scots will vote on roughly the same lines as the English.”

    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/newstopics/eureferendum/12167643/Boris-Johnson-there-is-only-one-way-to-get-the-change-we-want-vote-to-leave-the-EU.html

  13. @Oldnat .

    Maybe Boris expects two-thirds of English voters to also vote to remain in the EU.

  14. RAF

    A touching lack of faith in his own contribution? :-)

  15. AS
    “is therefore quite ironic that while joining Europe probably saved the UK economy from stagnation and further decline, by opening up access to the European market, those who have not benefited from that transformation, in the former industrial heartlands of the UK, are in fact voting to leave under the misunderstanding that the UK can go it alone, like it did in the 50’s and to a lesser extent the 60’s.”

    50’s &60’s? Surely you meant to say, From 1066 to 1973?

    What saved the UK from further stagnation was the deregulation of markets, the privatisation of state owned industries (most of which were very successful) and bringing over powerful trades union leaders to heel in the early 80’s.

  16. @Andy S,

    I suppose the counter argument is that the EEC that British voters agreed to be a part of in 1975 was largely a trading alliance, and was composed of a much smaller number of countries, most of which were similar in wealth to the UK.

    So even if it is true that the UK economy was “saved” by joining the EEC and opening up European markets to it’s goods, what Leave voters are hoping to return to is something closer to the 1975 situation. It is not the political integration, the harmonization of policies and the free movement of workers that saved UK industries, it is the ability to trade freely with other countries.

    There would clearly be some sort of free trade framework in place between a post-Leave UK and the EU. No one seems to have given much thought to what it would be, probably because most of those who are in a position to give an informed opinion are in the “Remain” camp and have a political interest in vague premonitions of doom.

    I expect “Remain” to be virtually a carbon copy of the “No” campaign in the IndyRef. Project Fear etc.

    From a Canadian point of view, can you see any parallels with the question of whether Canada would be economically better off if she merged into the USA?

  17. For a free trade area to operate it needs the unrestricted free movement of the three components of trade; Capital, Goods & Labour! Two out of three won’t work, it’s a tripod with one leg missing.

    Peter.

  18. Robert Newark

    UK in 1066? You mean when you were forcibly united and dominated by Normandy? That ended long before 1973 – after you were gubbed by the French.

    Didn’t they teach history at your school? :-)

  19. Oldnat
    Robert was clearly talking about England, and used the abbreviation UK, as it is effectively the same thing with a few sparsely-populated poor areas tacked around the edges.

  20. It’s amusing that the two biggest changes in the EU since the 1975 referendum have been the Single Market, and eastward expansion, both of which were primarily driven by Britain (and most of all by the Thatcher government in the 1980s), yet it’s the Conservatives who are riven now, whereas in 1975 it was Labour.

    Notwithstanding this, I don’t expect a substantially different result from 1975, which like this one, was called primarily to heal an internal party rift and based on a largely phony “renegotiation” (though to give Cameron his due he got more than Wilson managed). I’d be surprised at less than 60%/40% for remain, or more than 65%/35%.

    Which leaves me to ponder Boris’s decision. Assuming for the sake of argument that his primary driver is personal ambition (not an unreasonable assumption), and also assuming that my predicted outcome is correct, one has to ask why he has opted to back a probable loser. The only rational explanation I can arrive at is that had he chosen “remain” he would still be behind Osborne and May in MP’s leadership votes, and hence would not have made the national party ballot, whereas if the electorate does vote to leave he’s a shoo-in as next leader. Small chance, in other words, beats no chance at all.

    Any other theories welcome (excluding the obvious but to mind unlikely one that he’s acting on pure principle).

  21. Moderated, and no idea why.

  22. The U.K. being the only advanced country where industrial production still hasn’t reached the 1992 level, and having the current account deficit being financed by privatisation and foreign acquisition revenue … I’m not quite sure if I could call it a success of the 1980s or the Blair years … Soon only Brenda’s heating bill will be available for auction.

    On the other hand, the last thirty years saw a spectacular rise in such “value creating” sectors as real estate, investment banking, advertisement, retailing and alike.

    One of the miracles (in a secular sense) is that the UK economy has done so well.

  23. @ Pete B

    Robert was clearly talking about England, and used the abbreviation UK, as it is effectively the same thing with a few sparsely-populated poor areas tacked around the edges.

    Is London (and a few outlining areas around it) then an abbreviation for England?

    I guess it was sarcasm.

    Just to add, both Liverpool and Manchester (far north from Potters Bar) have had a pretty good decade in spite of the recession, but now both struggle.

  24. Oldnat
    1066, was an invasion by the Normans not the French. I didn’t use the term, UK that was a quote from Andy Shadracks post. I’m sure you understood the general point I was making.
    The Normans themselves had settled earlier in what is today Northern France, from Scandinavia. After 1066, England hardly ever looked back. Of course Scotland was able to share in that success many centuries later when they themselves became civilised and joined the Union.
    There are those of course who say that the ‘true’ English are the Welsh, they being the tribes already in England who ran to the hills when the Angles and thes Saxons invaded!

  25. @ Andy Shadrack

    “Unless Bernie Sanders wins the Democratic nomination, there is a good chance that Trump will be President after November.”

    That’s a bold prediction. We’ll see.

  26. Robert Newark
    ‘There are those of course who say that the ‘true’ English are the Welsh, they being the tribes already in England who ran to the hills when the Angles and thes Saxons invaded!’

    I know your post was tongue in cheek but my understanding is that the Celts were relatively late arrivals, not getting to Britain in any large numbers until around 300-200 BC.
    To be even more pedantic England did not become England until many centuries later, taken from the Angles name

  27. @ Neil A

    Unlike the UK Canada’s “Free Trade” agreements have not included any kind of social or environmental charter, and 42 agreements later some of us wonder what sovereignty we have left.

    There is no currency union, and the current lead Republican candidate wants to build a wall between his country and the Mexicans.

    I envy the “union” you have.

    Our “major” trading partner, has no public medicine, a very weak social safety net, no guarantee of equality for women and at times it looks like they are engaged in a civil war with their former slave population.

    I am just finishing reading Pikkety for the second time, and what Sanders is stating on the “Democratic” side of the political spectrum, is that the “emperor has no clothes” when it comes to their economy.

    Given the wealth and income inequality inside the US I am quite frankly amazed that the country has not exploded, as there are certainly enough guns available…and in fact there are now regular incidents of people firing back at the police to defend themselves.

    Between 1993 and 2004 our “conservatives” split into two parties, one like the UK Conservatives and one more social conservative like the US Republicans, but both strongly pro-free trade and pro-US foreign policy.

    They then merged in 2004 were then in power as a minority government from 2006 to 201,1 achieving a high water mark of one term as a majority government from 2011 to 2015 with 39.6% support.

    In the 2015 GE they shrank back to 31.9% support and the centrist Liberals then took centre stage with 39.5% and a majority.

    When Hilary Clinton describes Sanders as being “unrealistic”, she is opposing some of the policies that successive Canadian Liberal governments were forced to adopt under electoral pressure from the social democratic CCF, forerunner to the current NDP.

    Sanders won more counties than Clinton 8 to her 6 and tied her in a tenth, and this is her second run for the Presidency so she should have a far stronger ground team than Sanders.

    He again took 85% of the 18 to 34 vote, including young blacks, hispanics and women. The average parental income for a student attending Harvard in the US is $450,00. What would be the average parental income for someone attending Oxford or Cambridge in the UK?

  28. @Anthony

    I was curious to get your take on this.

    http://www.nytimes.com/2016/02/22/upshot/why-clinton-not-sanders-probably-won-the-hispanic-vote-in-nevada.html?_r=1

    I was at the Caucuses yesterday, doing voter protection for Hillary at one of the strip caucuses (which was really quite exciting).

    Now, I always try to live by the tried and true Wells Rule, which is to not trust anecdotal evidence over polling. But when I first saw those entrance polls, I did not quite believe them. Because nearly all of the Latino caucusgoers I saw came to caucus for Hillary. I actually had to turn away some who arrived too late.

    Caucuses are a joke btw. They are inherently undemocratic and more befitting of the rotten borough systems you used to have before the Great Land Reform Act of 1832. I propose that until we get rid of them, the U.S. take no international actions in the name of promoting democracy.

  29. I’ve been watching some upcoming European elections of late. Firstly there’s Ireland, where there’s currently a coalition between Fine Gael and Labour. Both of them have lost support to the point that between them it’s generally agreed that they will struggle to retain power in ther current form, and will have to invite someone else to keep them there. The problem is – who? Apart from trying to find perhaps double figures of independents and others, there’s only Fianna Fail, the party that were dumped out of power in 2011 and looked like they’d be out of government for a long long time. And they are hardly best friends with Fine Gael. So, a good chance of a mess.

    Then there’s Spain, where it is said that there’s going to be an election in June, due to the current lack of an agreed and viable coalition. The polling looks as if it will be pretty much the same – opinion polls don’t shift that fast, being as the last election was in December 2015. So more mess is expected.

    Finally I’ve also been watching the decline of the CDU/CSU in Germany: this may reverse if Merkel stands down, but that seems unlikely before the election date in late 2017. FDP support seems to be rising above the 5% level, which would allow them to reenter the bundestag and perhaps allow them to go into coalition with the aforementioned. But it’s that or another grand coalition. CDU/CSU look too difficult to shift from power, because they are so big and everyone else too small and divided to put up a rival coalition. But we’ll see what happens with Merkel. We might just being heading for another mess here too.

  30. Well it’s interesting to see that discussion of opinion polling has entirely disappeared! The Norman Conquest. Blimey.

  31. KIETHP
    I believe Merkel has already dropped a few hints about ‘not going on and on’.
    It would be nice to have a vote that actually counts for something again in Germany though. The current constellation is THE best argument against proportional representation I’ve ever seen: basically, the people vote and afterwards power just gets divvied out between the apparatchiks. Shame, and it’s happened two times in a row!

  32. The Johnson intervention into the EU debate on the side of Brexit will, I think. prove to be a political blunder on his behalf. Like Cameron, I suspect he has pretty lukewarm views either way on EU membership and has pitched his colours to the Out campaign purely as a ploy to boost his leadership ambitions. A bit of cowboys and indians in effect. He wants to be playing on the opposite side of where most of his leadership rivals are (Osborne and May, in the main) and, now he sees where the cowboys are, he wants to be an indian. If May and Osborne were indians, he’d be a cowboy, if you get my drift. I suspect the indians will lose and Johnson will be the Brexit campaign’s Geronimo.

    This EU referendum malarkey is going to be very interesting though, I have to say. What to do? There are fairly unappealing politicians on either side and there will be great temptation for many to play party politics with an issue that, when all said and done, excites very few beyong the wild-eyed and/or bureauheads.

    Let’s play a bit of devil’s advocate here. Let’s say I’m someone who has no strong views either way about EU membership. I sort of see some of the advantages of being members but don’t buy into the Armageddon scenarios if we leave. In other words, I’m immune to the emotional hype and wildly exaggerated claims and counter claims made by the fanatics on either side of the argument. However, and stay with me at the back, I’m implacably opposed to Cameron and his government and espy a very early opportunity in this Parliament to scupper the PM, his government. Do I vote on the issue presented to me on the ballot paper on June 23rd or do I, like many do in referenda, answer another question all together.

    That question being; which vote shafts Cameron and his party?

    If there a lot of people in this camp, then Johnson might find himself on the winning side but a member of a party about to go into meltdown.

  33. One thought just crossed my mind.

    When Boris puts aside his real views on the EU to appeal to Tory grassroots opinion, he is described as opportunistic and unprincipled (and worse).

    When Corbyn puts aside his real views on the EU to appeal to Labour grassroots opinion, he is described as having a rare outbreak of pragmatic leadership.

    Hmm.

  34. Peter Cairns

    “For a free trade area to operate it needs the unrestricted free movement of the three components of trade; Capital, Goods & Labour! Two out of three won’t work,”

    No it doesn’t. That’s just something journalists paid to promote cheap labour say which then gets parroted. There’s no reason for it at all.

    The problem with neoliberal capitalists is they’re made stupid by greed. Everything they do is based on trying to reducing labour costs to the bare minimum while ignoring the effect of that on the revenue side of the equation. They minimize labour costs and then wonder why nobody has any money to spend and the economy is grinding to a halt.

    Duh.

    Groups like the Quakers saved the greed-stupid capitalists the first time and then for a long while they were on their best behaviour because of the Soviet threat but after the Sov collapse they reverted to their baseline behaviour.

    Neoliberal economics: cheap labour, off-shoring, debt-based consumption, is the cause of the problem not the solution.

    Hopefully Trump wins and can prove it quickly enough.

    #

    Free trade agreements aren’t free trade agreements they’re labour cost reducing agreements. They allow
    – moving jobs to the cheapest regions
    – moving ppl from the cheapest regions
    the end result is equalizing wages down to the bottom and the end result should be obvious – stagnant economy everywhere as everyone is broke.

    It’s a tragedy of the commons situation because reduced labor costs is good for each individual business but if every firm does it they have no revenue.

  35. Plus as Capital accumulates in the hand of the few, they tie up the markets to suit themselves. Free trade increasingly diminishes, so you get the cheap labour, but not the cheap prices of essentials. (The more optional stuff may be cheaper, but you can’t afford the optional if your diminishing wages are soaked up by inflated essentials).

    This inability to face up to the impact of concentrations of capital and the impact on markets and free trade, and indeed on sewing up government too, is the Achilles heel of the neolibs. (Well that and issues with understanding human nature, with an economic approach that assumes all act according purely in narrow self-interest, I.e. sociopathically).

  36. While this post is marked as “filed under: Europe, ICM, MORI, Voting Intention”, the only category at the links those lead to in which it actually has been filed is ‘voting intention’. Other categories don’t seem to have had anything added to them since about the beginning of December.

    An up-to-date category of ‘Europe’ would seem extremely useful from now on. The ‘EU referendum’ section of ‘European polls’ in the right hand column stops at 22/11/2015 too. Voting intentions in the referendum are going to be the biggest item of interest here for the next 4 months.

  37. HAWTHORN

    :-)

  38. BARNEY

    The ‘EU referendum’ section of ‘European polls’ in the right hand column stops at 22/11/2015 too. Voting intentions in the referendum are going to be the biggest item of interest here for the next 4 months.

    To be fair to Anthony he’s become less diligent about keeping his tables up to date because he no longer needs to. Wikipedia contributors have got a lot better about keeping their tables up to date over the last few years[1]. here is the one for the EU Referendum for example:

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Opinion_polling_for_the_United_Kingdom_European_Union_membership_referendum

    It’s still not perfect (there should be more on wording and there’s some subsamples that shouldn’t be there), but Wiki has many hands and Anthony just two so they are always going to be more up-to-date and some of the articles have the advantage that you can sort by pollster to look at house effects and so on. In the circumstances UKPR is going to focus more on analysis.

    [1] At one stage, even if they put details of a poll in, it tended just to link to Anthony’s post on the subject. Now they will link to appropriate tables if available and to a tweet or article until they are.

  39. Ipsos MORI’s latest telephone figures are REMAIN 54%, LEAVE 36% – virtually unchanged from their previous poll

    Actually if you look at the tables[1]:

    https://www.ipsos-mori.com/Assets/Docs/Polls/political-monitor-feb-2016-tables.pdf#page=23

    MORI actually split the sample in two. One half (497) were asked the official question:

    Should the United Kingdom remain a member of the European Union or leave the European Union?

    Remain a member of the European Union 54%

    Leave the European Union 36%

    Don’t know 10%

    while the other half (504) were asked more demotically:

    If there were a referendum now on whether Britain should stay in or get out of the European Union, how would you vote?

    Stay in 51%

    Get out 36%

    Don’t know 13%

    which suggests not much difference.

    [1] One problem with a lot of referendum polling at the moment is that it tends to be combined with and follows other questions. This means that EU referendum preference may be influenced by previous questions about Parties, leaders, the economy and so on. In addition not all pollsters are asking about likelihood to vote and using that to adjust the figures (or are using LTV for other questions).

  40. I wonder what the effect on voting might be when people realise that the coming referendum is little more than an official opinion poll.

    It positively definitely is not a vote to either leave or remain in the EU as it does not bind the UK government to any course of action.

    It is even being suggested now that a leave vote might be used as a lever by Cameron to actually get some real concessions as opposed to pretend ones, and that following that there might be a second or even a third referendum – although that has been denied (meaningless).

    As more of the public realised they are being conned there might well be a shift in the polls as time goes on.

  41. Woohoo, so does that mean more referenda? Excellent…

  42. @ Colin

    Indeed, it interesting, but apart from immigration and defence (for some reason lumped together with terrorism) is not particularly telling.

    The question is whether those two are sufficient enough to anchor the voters or are they strong enough to influence perceptions on other issues too (could be).

  43. Re: Boris Johnson’s decision to back Brexit.

    All the evidence points to a large majority of the Tory grassroots being Brexiters … 65+%, so I don’t see how Boris can lose in his leadership bid regardless of which way the actual referendum vote goes.

    If the vote is for Leave, Cameron will resign and in the subsequent leadership election, Boris’ main rivals for the leadership will have backed ‘Remain’, against the wishes of the majority of the membership. If the vote is for Remain, Cameron will go, probably by 2017/18… and (as in the Indyref) the resentful majority will be even more likely to vote for a Brexit candidate.

    However, I totally agree with Crossbatt11, that Boris might be inheriting a badly split and damaged Conservative party. My point is that the damage will have been inflicted by Cameron’s decision not by Boris’ coming down on the Brexit side.

  44. There was some discussion about the way that Northern Ireland would vote in the EU referendum and Slugger reports a recent poll done by Lucid Talk for the Sun[1]:

    http://sluggerotoole.com/2016/02/19/sunlucid-talk-poll-shows-majority-voting-to-stay-in-the-eu/

    which gives an overall figure of Remain 55%, Leave 29%[2], Undecided 14%. However the figures by ‘community'[3] are very different:

    Nationalists (Sinn Fein, SDLP, People Before Profit)

    Stay in-74%

    Leave- 10%

    Undecided-15%

    Wont vote- 1%

    Unionists (DUP, UUP, TUV, UKIP, Conservatives, PUP)[4]

    Leave-64%

    Stay- 20%

    Undecided-16%

    Wont vote- *%

    Others (Alliance/Greens etc)

    Stay in- 82%

    Leave- 6%

    Undecided- 11%

    This illustrates the dilemma that the UUP are in. That 20% will be disproportionately their voters (middle class and farmers for example). If their people are split say 60-40 for out, do they risk losing the 60% to the DUP or the 40% to Alliance etc. I suspect thye will end up both ways like the Tories.

    [1] There’s no other information except the sample size (2886) though I assume it was their ‘100 hour’ online survey done 8-12 Feb. Some tables are promised tomorrow by Twitter, though nearly all previous ones seem to have vanished in a site redesign.

    [2] I’m rounding all figures to the nearest integer despite them being quoted to one or even two dps. Because.

    [3] Strictly speaking by political affiliation as shown, which will not always coincide with religion or religious background. I’m not sure what they did with those who didn’t give a VI as we don’t have the tables.

    [4] Amusingly the Sun lead with the headline “Ulster Says Go” on the grounds that Unionists were opposed and ignoring everyone else.

  45. Regarding Boris and his leadership ambitions – the Conservatives tend to go for a completely fresh face when they change leaders. Cameron, Major and Thatcher came from nowhere to take the crown.

    Also, has Boris sorted out his American tax problems? If he hasn’t, he can’t be leader. Most people would take a dim view of the UK prime minister being arrested as soon as he landed stateside and made to do the perp walk.

    I doubt the Conservatives will change leader until 2018/19. Cameron will step down anyway, and it makes sense to keep him on for a few years regardless of the outcome of the referendum, and wait in order that the next leader fights the general election during his or her honeymoon.

  46. @Candy

    This is the logic of course. Cameron has announced hes on the way out, so hes lost any power he had over these individuals. The Cabinet might survive the war but I doubt they’ll survive the peace – both sides will be up against each other and competing for the narrative of ‘who was right’.

    I think in the end it will be very tight. Its likely better politically to be on the populist side and lose than be on the side that says ‘we’d love to but isn’t it a gamble?’. Whatever the end game, the next leader will be a Leave voter; I’d also question how long the Cabinet and Cameron will survive even with a Yes vote, he has put himself in an incredibly vulnerable spot in order to maintain his friends loyalty but now their left criticising his deal – however nicely they put it.

  47. Afternoon folks, just a couple of points on a wet Monday afternoon.

    On the Brexit referendum, it’s still much too early to say whether BoJo’s decision to campaign for Leave will make any difference. Alec’s point from earlier in the thread that the campaign will be full of misinformation and tosh ( (c) Alec 2016) is undoubtedly true, which illustrates how miserably ill-informed the British public are (on both sides) when it comes to EU matters (actually, this counts for most matters of national importance).

    @David C 11:53 – This is a fairly ridiculous comment to be honest – particularly since your statement of the “current constellation” being in charge two times in a row is wrong! The CDU/CSU and SPD were indeed in a grand coalition between 2005 and 2009, which was followed by a CDU/CSU and FDP coalition between 2009 and 2013. The CDU/CSU block in the 2013 election were approximately 4 seats short of an overall majority, but the SPD couldn’t come to an agreement with the Greens and Die Linke, and after around 2 months of coalition discussions, the current grand coalition came into being. An additional point to this – if Germany had a FPTP system – the CDU/CSU would have won 70% of the seats! PR may not be perfect (there is of course no perfect electoral system), but I for one think that governance being shared between the two parties which attracted over 2/3 of the votes is not necessarily a bad idea…..

    I also have a quick update on the Irish situation (at least 2 people are interested on this thread). The current first preference poll average has Fine Gael 28, Labour 6, Fianna Fail 23, Sinn Fein 16, Others (incl. Ind) 26. As indicated by KeithP above, the existing coalition looks like being well short of a majority even with the support of minor parties (opinion poll accuracy and last-minute swing excepted!!!!). Although Fine Gael and Fianna Fail have ruled out working with each other, this looks like the most realistic (and being brutally honest, most stable) option. The final leaders’ debate will be tomorrow night – I expect the gloves to be off. The moderator, Miriam O’Callaghan, isn’t usually too quick to step in during a debate, so it’ll be lively!!!

  48. CROSSBAT11

    The Johnson intervention into the EU debate on the side of Brexit will, I think. prove to be a political blunder on his behalf. Like Cameron, I suspect he has pretty lukewarm views either way on EU membership and has pitched his colours to the Out campaign purely as a ploy to boost his leadership ambitions.

    Boris has played it very carefully. Hence all the public ‘agonising’ from the old ham. I suspect he’s scared that if Leave wins, Gove will be the one to benefit. This also sets him up in opposition to Osborne who polls show does at least as well among Conservative members:

    https://d25d2506sfb94s.cloudfront.net/cumulus_uploads/document/sb6ms6gh7x/Conservative_Leadership_Website.pdf

    Boris leads (though not by much) among the majority of members who wanted to leave last Autumn[1] and he would need to shore those votes up first while trying not to alienate the large minority that want to stay.

    [1] Leave 56%, Remain 33%, DK 11% according to that poll.

  49. @Fraser

    The Conservatives need to also factor in that Labour may change their leader before 2020 as well. It’s tempting for them to think that Corbyn will stay and therefore anyone could lead the Conservatives and win – but despite Labour’s famous refusal to wield knives, there is always the chance that losses start to mount so badly that they screw themselves to the sticking point.

    If the Conservatives change leader now but Labour wait to do it in 2018, it will be the Lab leader fighting the election in his or her honeymoon.

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