There are two new polls on the EU referendum out tonight – YouGov for the Times and ComRes for the Mail. YouGov have topline figures of REMAIN 37%, LEAVE 38%, DK/WNV 25%; ComRes have topline figures of REMAIN 51%, LEAVE 39%, DK 10%. ComRes was asked Friday to Monday (so started before Cameron’s deal was finalised), YouGov’s poll was asked between Sunday and Tuesday, so was after Cameron’s renegotiation, but straddled Boris Johnson’s endorsement of the Leave campaign.

As we’ve come to expect there’s a sharp difference between the online YouGov poll and the telephone ComRes poll. Online polls on the referendum have tended to show a neck-and-neck race, telephone ones have tended to show a lead for Remain. The level of support for leaving is actually pretty much the same regardless of mode – the difference all seems to be in the proportion who say stay and the proportion who say don’t know (I speculated about that a little last month, here)

Anyway, while the different modes produce different shares, just as interesting is the direction of travel. YouGov’s previous poll was conducted just after the draft renegotiation had been published and showed a significant shift towards leave, giving them a nine point lead. My suspicion then was that it could just be a short-term reflection of the extremely bad press that the deal received in the papers, and that does appear to be the case – the race has tightened right back up again. A fortnight ago YouGov found 22% thought the draft renegotiation was a good deal, 46% a bad deal. That’s now closed to 26% good, and 35% bad. After a blip from the initial bad publicity over the draft deal, the effect according to YouGov seems broadly neutral.

ComRes’s last poll found a similar trend to YouGov – it was conducted after the draft deal had been published, and found a sharp shift towards Leave, with the remain lead dropping by ten points, from eighteen to eight. Today’s poll finds that negative reaction to the draft deal fading a bit now the final deal is done, with the remain lead creeping back up to twelve points. The net effect is still negative, but not by nearly as much as the early polls suggested. ComRes’s specific question on the renegotiation provides a more positive verdict than YouGov’s – among the three-quarters of the sample asked after the deal was struck 46% say it was a success, 39% a failure.

Note that this poll also represents the first outing for some methodology changes from YouGov. Most significantly, they’ve started sampling and weighting by the attention respondents say they pay to politics, have added educational qualifications as a sampling/weighting variable and have shifted up the top age bracket from 60 and over to 65 and over. Also, at the risk of getting very technical, past vote and grouped region are now interlocked (to explain – in the past YouGov weighted everyone’s past vote to match the overall shares of the vote in Great Britain, now they are weighting respondents in London’s past vote to match the shares of the vote in London, respondents in the Midlands’ past vote to match the shares in the Midlands and so on). There isn’t actually much impact on today’s results; the old sampling and weighting would also have shown the race tightening to neck-and-neck. The main difference is that a lot of questions have a higher number of don’t knows, reflecting the higher proportion of respondents who don’t follow politics closely.

Full tables for ComRes are here, for YouGov here.


129 Responses to “New YouGov and ComRes EU polls”

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  1. @Oldnat, majority of Americans in the office where I work think the “anyone but Trump” camp are split and expect last man standing out of Rubio and Cruz to put up a decent fight yet.

  2. @CROSSBAT11

    Over 60% remain vote currently pays around 8/1, the bookies are expecting a close Remain victory.

  3. JIMR

    While they may be right, Trump could have such a delegate lead by Tuesday evening, that he can’t realistically be caught.

    If only Rubio or Cruz (and none of the others) is left standing on Wednesday morning, they might need to pick up an impossibly high number of delegates from the remaining states before the Convention.

    Unless, of course, the Republican leadership have got a really good load of dirt on the Trump delegates to “persuade” them to switch votes. :-)

  4. @Crossbat

    Agreed.

    Cameron has to win 65/35 to benefit from the exercise, and as you say to put the issue to bed for a decent interval at least. And that would probably mean a majority of Conservative voters ( not members ) supporting ‘Remain’.

    But that’s a big ask.

    Gove and Boris do not bring personal supporters with them, but they do bring genuine credibility to the Leave campaign. Gove’s explanation for his stance was impressive.

  5. Scottish Nationalists should be careful,some undecided English voters might decide to vote out just to get rid of Scotland thereby ensuring that the Tories will be in power permanently.
    That would do away with the unfair Barnett formula and force the SNP to deal with the drop in the value of oil without the rest of the UK having to subsidise them.
    The list of outers with experience of government is growing and is quite impressive!

  6. OldEnglish

    “without the rest of the UK having to subsidise them.”

    When commenting on the Lucid Talk poll in NI on the EU, I noted that the Remainers and Leavers believed diametrically opposite judgments on the fiscal loss/gain of the Union.

    The same is/was true in the indyref. Depending on which set of data you choose to focus on, partisans can demonstrate that their prejudices are confirmed.

    In any case, all arguments about the EU, other than David Coburn’s are now toast!

    http://www.buzzfeed.com/jamieross/this-ukip-mep-wants-to-leave-the-eu-because-his-toaster-is-c#.cfPlrZzoO

  7. “The same is/was true in the indyref. Depending on which set of data you choose to focus on, partisans can demonstrate that their prejudices are confirmed.”

    ————

    YeS, but in the extremely unlikely event that leaving and staying turn out to have exactly the same overall effect, one side is likely to be closer to the reality, and then other to be closer to telling porkies.

    As with the oil price for example…

  8. That should be “yes, but aside from the extremely unlikely event…” Etc.

  9. Carfrew

    I’m sure you have a view as to whether the Remainers or Leavers are telling “porkies”.

    Since the consequences of the option that isn’t taken can never be known, you’ll be able to cling onto believing whichever stance has taken your fancy.

  10. @oldnat

    You can try and project partisanship onto all and sundry if you like, but it’s just noise.

    Personally, I’m not interested in clinging onto a belief; in my view, I find it hard to determine which is better out of remain or leave. This is not because I like to “cling” to summat indeterminate, because I’d much rather prefer to be clear on the matter. I just find it too full of the nebulous to be sure.

  11. Carfrew

    You miss the point.

    In all big political discussions, protagonists on all sides select the data that supports their argument. It suits some to select limited data, and others to pick wider (or sometimes different limited) data sources.

    Voters always say that they would like things “to be clear” about future consequences – though that is obviously impossible. Different people will assess the likelihood of X or Y happening differently, and frequently based on their prejudices/assumptions.

    On current practices, people can reasonably ask for accurate figures which can be trusted. Sadly, this seldom happens – partly because so many “think tanks” and every government, are part of the process of selecting the numbers favourable to their side.

  12. @Oldnat

    No, I’m not missing the point, I profoundly disagree with you, because you are wrong.

    It is true that SOME people may be selective with the data, avoiding the disconfirming. But this is by no means a given.

    For many, it is important to seek out the disconfirming, to try and find flaws in their theses, indeed this is a cornerstone of the scientific method.

  13. @oldnat

    And even with the peeps keen to delude themselves, reality may force a readjustment.

    For example, how many Indy peeps are still claiming oil price won’t fall below ninety dollars?

  14. …ah yes, the oil price!!

    Carfrew, don’t you know how it works in the Land of Milk and Honey. The Nats have moved on….now it’s all about getting rid of the BBC six o’clock news !!

    All because “national” has to mean Scotch, not British.

    Nationalist parties practice the politics of the playground…wherever they are situated.

  15. @OldNat

    Just seen The Flying Scotsman on the news tonight. I always thought that was Wee Jimmy Johnstone the Celtic winger. Didn’t know it was a steam locomotive.

    :-)

  16. Carfrew

    I am more than happy to concede that you are a comparatively rare individual (we form rather a select club :-) ) who questions, rather than accepts, the conventional wisdom of your “side”. (Though you do have your weaknesses like misunderstanding the place of oil in the Scottish economy).

    But there are many like OldEnglish or Jasper, for whom debate consists of repetition of selective interpretations, or repeating silly caricatures.

    More crucially, on a polling site, is the polling evidence that people who take a particular political stance believe the data that supports that position.

    As to which comes first, that is rather a chicken and egg question, though it seems more likely that people accept information that confirms their beliefs, and reject that which contradicts it.

  17. CB11

    Just as well you aren’t that poor chap who waited for hours to see the engine, then had his view of it blocked.

    Mind you, the same was often true at the old Celtic Park, where the view of Jimmy’s magic footwork was also blocked.

  18. @oldnat

    Carefully selecting what you say doesn’t get you out of the hole. Sure, there is evidence that peeps may be selective, SOME of the time. I already acknowledged that. This is hardly news.

    But you can’t just go beyond this and assume partisanship, is the point. You are not engaging with that.

    Nor are you engaging with my point that it’s not all that rare. People quite often change their mind. I even gave you an example: the oil price. Quite a few will have been forced to reconsider their view on that. There are plenty other examples. Like, quite a few peeps are a bit more suspicious of polling now. And aren’t quite as convinced we would have a hung parliament.

  19. @Jasper

    Ah, I wasn’t aware of any Six o’clock news thing. Am afraid to ask…

  20. One cannot simply ignore the dramatic slump in the oil price since the Indyref. This has destroyed the financial calculations of the separatists and, as the PM said recently, would have impoverished an independent Scotland. Mass emigration would have ensued – the majority to rUK – which would have made a dire situation much worse.

    The broad shoulders of the Kingdom means this has not happened, which shows our British family is way better off together.

    That said, informal polling here down South does show some South Britons will vote leave to ensure the North is cut loose.

  21. @oldnat

    As a more general point: you have to be careful about extrapolating too much from experimental data on, say, biases, or even polling data. Much educational nonsense results from such things.

    In the real world, peeps may be aware they are vulnerable to unconscious bias, and hence seek to remedy this. Hence, mixing with peeps of opposing views, or travelling to experience different cultures, checking out a range of news sources, different ideologies etc.

    Online, can give a distorted impression of intransigence though, because research shows that there’s a greater prevalence of the narcissistic and sociopathic online. The ones who are unpleasantly glib and serially misrepresent others. (I wonder if pollsters have done any research to see if this might be true of any polling panels?)

  22. @oldnat

    Also, I haven’t actually claimed much with respect to the place of oil in the Scottish economy. Other than to say that I didn’t consider it a deal breaker. I have been more concerned with the claims and impact on polling. Curious as to the impact, I did raise a number of issues with Peter on the potential impact, inviting comparison with Norway etc., but neither he nor anyone else seemed interested in satisfying my curiosity on the matter. They just wanted to talk about banking instead).

  23. @carfrew

    “…indeed this is a cornerstone of the scientific method.”

    What have politics and political decisions to do with the scientific method? Unless of course you prefer a technocratic rather than democratic approach to government.

  24. @Hireton

    You think the scientific method doesn’t apply to political decisions? Wow.

  25. @Hireton

    What do you think the scientific method actually is? It isn’t summat confined to nuclear physics you know. Peeps use it in everyday life.

  26. @Hireton

    Use of the scientific method is distinct from the technocratic thing. In a technocracy, you might have a preponderance of engineers etc. in charge.

    However, anyone can use the scientific method. Even politicians…

  27. “What have politics and political decisions got to do with the scientific method?”

    ——

    Btw, Hireton, ever heard of political science?

  28. @Oldnat – “I am more than happy to concede that you [Carfrew] are a comparatively rare individual (we form rather a select club :-) ) who questions, rather than accepts, the conventional wisdom of your “side”.

    That sums your problem, @Oldnat. You actually think you are a comparatively rare individual who questions, rather than accepts etc etc…

    Some would call that extraordinary arrogance, while others reading your posts might just call it tosh. For my part, it comes as no surprise, as you are (very politely, it must be said) capable of classifying others views at the drop of pin, which I guess is the flip side of being willing to classify yourself as part of a select club.

    In this world, there are two types of people – those who divide the world into two types of people and. those…….

  29. There’s a massive difference between the two polls on the referendum…I’m confused. I don’t know who to believe.

    Is it Remain 37% Leave 38%, or Remain 51% Leave 39%? And after the fiasco of May 2015, can we trust any of them?

    Since we’re talking about the Republican race in the US, I thought I’d highlight another election, in Jamaica, where they seem to have caught the May 2015 disease, which is apparently as contagious as the zika virus:

    “The poll, which was conducted from February 13 to 16 among 1,093 people, with a margin of error of plus or minus three per cent, showed the PNP with 30.8 per cent popular support, slightly ahead of the JLP on 27.5 per cent.”

    http://jamaica-gleaner.com/article/lead-stories/20160223/pnp-whisker

    And what happens in the election?

    “The opposition Jamaica Labour Party has won the general election after a campaign dominated by economic issues. The party’s leader Andrew Holness, 43, vowed to create jobs, grow the economy and improve education and healthcare. Labour won 33 of the country’s 63 seats in a vote with a 47% turnout, beating the People’s National Party of Prime Minister Portia Simpson Miller.”

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-latin-america-35666321

    If the opinion polls are supposed to provide us with a guide, it seems we’re better off without them….

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