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. Every British governments since 1918 has included either Conservatves or Labour, sometimes both. The latest opinion poll (Britain Elects) gives them together over two thirds of the voting intention. Neither party is well represented with MPs for Scottish seats at Westminster somewhat undermining a claim to represent everyone..

    So far so obvious. Will either party nose-dive over the course of this parliament? Or split? So far the polls are not showng a lot of movement.

    I don’t know what will happen, but interim results and polls nearer the time from the midland marginals might give some clues.

  2. @Alec

    I generally felt that concerns about handling the intermittent nature of renewables tended to underestimate the ingenuity of engineers working in the sector.

    However, i have somewhat mixed feelings. While I welcome the decentralisation and rebalancing away from too great a concentration of capital, and the reduction in emissions, I do worry about the use of rare earth metals or toxic chemicals in some renewable or battery technologies.

    I note, however, that you are highlighting a couple of storage technologies that are rather less implicated in this regard.

    I do worry a bit about the big brother implications of all this monitoring though. And the cynic in me wonders if smart tech mightn’t be used to wring more money out of us, once they’ve profiled our needs.

    Also, it’s not liable to give anything like the energy abundance – or useful isotopes, or even burning up existing nuclear waste – of Thorium, for quite some time at least.

    But still… On balance, it’s summat to offset all the despair-inducing developments…

  3. @Alec

    I also worry about the speed of development in renewables. Is it gonna happen fast enough to avoid serious climate change? Thorium has the virtue of having the potential to reverse it, by removing CO2 from the atmosphere…

  4. One of the oddities about renewables that they use combinations of old technologies (with incremental innovation). Oddly, the U.K. Is one of the leading countries in it ((you would expect the Danes and Germany there, but surely not the UK). It is because of the complex taxation-subsidy system in renewables, plus the immense creative capabilities of the financial markets to securitise everything. Still, it seems that the current government’s priorities got mixed up.

    Remark: these do not apply to Thorium.

  5. UK Elections [email protected]_UK
    Our forecast for #sp16, SNP to win 70 seats. Tories second on 25, Labour third and lose every constituency.

  6. @Colin

    The Tories have been very clever. The IndyRef being so close to the GE was partially responsible for Labour’s collapse in Scotland in the GE. And so calling the EU Ref so close to the Scottish Parliament elections is likely again to see the SNP surge and Labour falter.

  7. I was so looking forward to educating everyone on how Gove’s interpretation of the ECJ’s jurisdiction to rule on a challenge to the UK deal was largely correct and DC’s interpretation largely incorrect.

    Sadly, it seems only EU law anoraks like me seem to be remotely interested in the issue.

  8. @Colin

    According to ComRes centrist Tories will decide the EU Ref.

    Which way are you leaning?

  9. @Raf

    Well I don’t mind being educated on the matter…

  10. Colin’s a bellwether!! He mentioned it in another thread recently…

  11. It looks as though the Ulster Unionist Party are going to adopt a “REMAIN” position. They meet the PM tomorrow and will announce in a couple of days.

  12. @ RAF

    Your interpretation is correct. However, the case would never go to the ECJ …

  13. Colin

    I’d be wary of any tweet from “Election_UK”.

    “They” (more likely “he”) has no website, no evidential base, or any track record.

    The clever Tweet name does mean, however, that folk imagine that it is some kind of authoritative source.

    He also blocks anyone who asks questions! :-)

  14. @Laszlo

    Are you suggesting a Member State Court (say a UK High Court) may refuse to make a preliminary reference to the ECJ if, say, a Polish national in the UK challenges the new UK benefit rules (if and when the UK decides what these will be and after they come into effect)?

  15. ProfHoward

    Thanks for the info on the UU position.

    From my limited knowledge of NI Unionist politics, Remain seems a more comfortable position for them – and, if Unionist attitudes in NI move more towards Remain or Don’t Know, might give them some electoral gain.

  16. And now Labour are going to be behind the blues in North Britain….

    It’s a death by a thousand cuts…..

    Burnham, Cooper, Johnson….when will they rise up and save their party from what is looking more and more like a terminal decline.

  17. @Jasper22

    Because Burnham, Cooper and Johnson can do any better for Labour in Scotland? Are you serious? Scotland is not minded to vote Labour at this time as the SNP are already fulfilling their function. It”s not as if the Tories are becoming any more popular in Scotland.

  18. @ RAF

    Of course not. I would say that the Governemnt would pay up well before that.

  19. Jasper22

    Personally, I don’t mind you’re being so partisan that you demonstrate your ignorance (in both the Scots and English usages of the word).

    What really offends, is that you are so unimaginative and banal with your comment.

    UKPR readers deserve a much higher standard of diatribe! :-)

  20. Re Cameron’s “Deal” – doesn’t it have to be ratified by 28 national parliaments, and didn’t one of the EU apparatchiks say that they wouldn’t even start to implement it unless we vote ‘Remain’?

    I may have been misinformed, but if either of those things is true then it’s no deal at all.

  21. @RAF – I would be interested in being educated, largely because I thought this would be the case before Gove mentioned it.

    I also don’t believe it’s credible to say that the issue would not reach the ECJ. For me, the critical point is that there is no treaty revision on the cards, so no timetable for the actual implementation of what the Council wants. Anyone affected by these changes could sue the UK government, and unless there is a treaty change, they could win. Even if the treaties were changed, presumably the new agreement could be declared illegal for the period up to the treaty change.

    It always seemed to me a fundamental flaw in DC’s plan that there was no treaty change.

  22. Interesting analysis by Lewis Baston in the Times, apparently. of the effect of Boundary changes for Westminster elections.

    The seat loss by party (presumably if voting was as in 2015?)

    Lab lose 24 seats (including its only Scots one)
    Con lose 14
    SNP lose 5
    LDem lose 4

  23. The full text of the deal is here – http://uk.reuters.com/article/uk-britain-eu-factbox-idUKKCN0VS2SH

    Interestingly, it doesn’t really give the UK a special status in the EU. Many of the provisions (such as the welfare changes) are available to all member states.

    I agree with Gove, which is not something you see every day.

  24. @Pete B – the text ends with this –
    “APPLICATION AND FINAL PROVISIONS

    1. Any Member State may ask the President of the European Council that an issue relating to the application of this Decision be discussed in the European Council.

    2. This Decision shall take effect on the same date as the Government of the United Kingdom informs the Secretary-General of the Council that the United Kingdom has decided to remain a member of the European Union.”

    So clearly, the deal is not currently in force and cannot be until June 23rd at the earliest. Also, there is no timetable for these changes to be legally enforced, which takes us back to the ECJ issue.

    The text is legalistic and rather dense, but having read through it a couple of times, it looks significantly weak to me. The point 1 I’ve copied above might mean that a newly elected government i one of the 27 other states might come back to the Council with an objection, before a treaty change has been agreed, potentially scuppering the whole deal.

  25. If the deal was scuppered, of course, that would invalidate it both ends. Leading inevitably to a second referendum where “Leave” would have an advantage.

  26. Looking further at the text, the word ‘interpretation’ appears quite often. This seems important, as the deal is based on the Council’s interpretation of existing EU law in many of the clauses.

    While the ECJ has to take the Council’s interpretations into account, it is not bound by them.

    Also worth noting – the Socialist block in the EU parliament is threatening to block the deal. Oops!

  27. @Alec

    You are correct that the EU Council agreement – the deal if you like does not become effective (on the Council) until 23rd June.

    However, there is of course more to it than that. The European Parliament has to power to reject the Council’s proposals or to propose amemdnents to them in a similar way to how the House of Commons and House of Lords operate.

    It is only after the Council and Parliament have agreed a common text and each individual Member State has ratified the same that the deal becomes binding in EU law.

    Now assuming all of that happens, the deal as agreed and ratified can still be challenged before the ECJ – most likely on a preliminary reference from a MS court. Most of the measures are unlikely to be challenged. However the 7 year derogation from the non-discrimation aspects of the TFEU in respect of benefits to EU migrant workers seems fundamentally incompatible with the TFEU. This almost certainly will be challenged and there would be nothing to stop the ECJ finding the measure to be so incompatible.

  28. Boundary Review

    NI now only to lose one seat not two.

    Probably will be a Belfast seat, and that could mean a loss for either SDLP or DUP, depending on exactly how they do it. (They might merge South Belfast (SDLP) and West Belfast (SF) and then make a lot of other adjustments.)

  29. UUP statement on EU referendum….

    ““There are many uncertainties about the implications of this referendum. Clearly, an “Out” vote poses an existential threat to the future of the United Kingdom, given the position of the Scottish Nationalists. That should be a major concern for Northern Irish unionists. Beyond that, what happens to the plan to set our own rate of Corporation Tax, to farm subsidies, to the funding of our essential network of community and voluntary sector groups? ”

    This is the main part of their statement today and it is why I said above they look like going to “REMAIN”.

  30. Oldnat they may well find that there are enough pro EU people that it makes sense electorally for them to take a different position from the DUP. Also – they may be able to portray the DUP’s position as dangerous to the Union.

  31. @Alec

    “The text is legalistic and rather dense, but having read through it a couple of times, it looks significantly weak to me. The point 1 I’ve copied above might mean that a newly elected government i one of the 27 other states might come back to the Council with an objection, before a treaty change has been agreed, potentially scuppering the whole deal.”

    It’s possible. But it would be difficult in practice for a Member State to do this prior to ratification. The most likely scenario is that the new government would not prevent the treaty change being adopted, but make ratification of it in their state subject to a Referendum.

  32. ProfHoward

    “Also – they may be able to portray the DUP’s position as dangerous to the Union.”

    That makes sense, especially given what you quote from their statement.

    I suspect that, while in England parties/people might be concentrating on their own nationalist debate, in the other nations positioning is a more complex conflation of party benefit with any substantive view of the gain/loss from the EU.

  33. @carfrew

    If they went as far as Emily in telling people how to vote, yes!

  34. http://www.theguardian.com/environment/2016/feb/24/weedkiller-glyphosate-controversial-european-commission-plans-relicense

    Possible evidence of the excessive influence of big business over the EU commission?

    Of course, national governments suffer this too (the UK response to pesticides is particularly weak) but here, at least, voters can chuck them out and get a new government if they so wish.

  35. @ Neil A

    “If the deal was scuppered, of course, that would invalidate it both ends. Leading inevitably to a second referendum where “Leave” would have an advantage.”

    I can’t see any subsequent Prime Minister to DC, (especially a Conservative one), being foolish enough to conceed a repeat of the referendum. The one glaring lesson his sucessor will take away from all this will be to not lose control of the agenda.

    In the event of DC’s deal being scuppered at some time in the future there will be a lot of sound and fury, signifying nothing .

  36. @HIRETON Interesting you pick on my reply to the partisan pro-EU comment. Partisan indeed.

  37. @ Alister 1948
    Scotland, the British one party state, has of its own volition chosen to elect a Scotland only party. We know the Scots are a largely left wing electorate who have been heavily disillusioned by Labour. The SNP is at large in Westminster, therefore the very vast majority of people are represented.

  38. @jasper

    Polling indicates that voters in Scotland don’t regard the SNP as one trick ponies as they have good favourability ratings on all major issues.

  39. @HIRETON

    “If they went as far as Emily in telling people how to vote, yes!”

    ———–

    Lol, so no other kind of partisanship matters then? That’s convenient…

  40. “voters can chuck them out and get a new government if they so wish.”

    ————–

    Yes, but wot about us non-voters? How come we don’t to decide? Deck is clearly stacked in favour of voters, and no one seems to care…

  41. …don’t get to decide…

  42. It seems to me that the Referendum is not about Remain or Leave, but rather a case of debating the degree to which we wish to be semi-detached. Rather than a chasm dividing society, this is really about how best to deliver an outcome about which we are broadly agreed.

    Everyone wants free trade.
    No-one wants the euro.
    No-one wants ‘ever closer union’.
    Everyone wants more democracy and less bureaucracy.
    Pretty much everyone has nothing against immigrants, but wants a substantial reduction in net immigration.
    Everyone agrees that Merkel handled the migration and Greek crises pretty badly.
    Everyone agrees that Cameron did quite well to get what he did, but it was still a very long way short of a genuine renegotiation.

    The Remain camp are notably unenthusiastic about the institution they are defending, and the Leavers worry about how we are going to ensure that a departure is not too damaging to the economy.

    The biggest rift appears to be tactical. Leavers think that if they win, the EU will have to make serious concessions, and in particular, allow us to substantially reduce inward migration. They also hope, perhaps wistfully, that their success will trigger a reformist agenda within the EU. The Remain camp are head-shaking pragmatists who just hope that plugging away will over time produce results.

    So its not a big deal, and talk of Tory splits and sea changes in British politics are hopelessly wide of the mark.

  43. On the subject of the EU Referendum, and as the debate progresses ahead of the June vote, I’m becoming increasingly puzzled as to why it’s taking place at all. I think even Cameron’s most ardent acolytes would accept that the reforms he has negotiated are largely cosmetic and shrouded in equivocation, and they aren’t forming any substantive part of the debate anyway. That’s been all about security, defence and the economy, key issues that have remained untouched by the negotiated reforms. In other word, the debate is exactly what it would have been five or even ten years ago. Do you want to remain in or get out, but that hasn’t been a pressing issue for many people at all and most polls, for decades, have put Europe way down the list of the voters priorities.

    It seems to me that Cameron has stumbled into all this brouhaha because he was worried about the rise of UKIP, and what that might do to his party’s electoral prospects, and also because he felt a need to pander to the vociferous and obsessive anti EU faction in his parliamentary party. So at vast expense, and quite probably to detriment of government focus on much more important issues, we will spend most of 2016 dealing with the froth before June and the fall out thereafter, purely because of the Prime Minister’s need to deal with internal party tensions.

    Wouldn’t it be an irony if Cameron, who probably didn’t think he’d win in May last year and be here anyway, finds that the Referendum, conceived as it was as a party management stunt to avoid political pressure a few years ago, is ultimately used for party political purposes when people come to vote.

    Hoisted by ones own petard springs to mind.

  44. I would love to see a breakdown of an EU Referendum poll comparing England to Scotland, i.e. if England votes to leave, and Scotland votes to stay (very likely), what will that mean for Britain?

    Will Scotland want another independence referendum, because they’d rather be independent and in the EU, than be stuck in a UK that’s pulled out of the EU?

    Funny how this scenario is not discussed in our national media as much as it should….

  45. @Crossbat

    If the public gradually begin to think that it all doesn’t really matter that much, I wonder whether they will take the opportunity to give the establishment a kicking, as often happens with a by-election.

    Or not bother to vote.

  46. Afternoon folks – hope everyone is in good form heading toward the weekend.

    @Millie 1.48. I’d tend to agree with most of what you’ve said (apart from what Cameron achieved – the agreement would’ve been wrapped up in a few hours had Tsipras not thrown a hissy fit to generate a bit of support from home)*. I agree even more strongly with your point at 2.19 – after 4 months of hot air, it’s very possible that plenty of voters really won’t care at all – even as it stands, what does a Remain vote even mean?

    On a largely unrelated issue, and I promise this will be the last mention of the Irish GE until the final results on Sunday (ish), Sean Donnelly (who acts as the Peter Kellner/Anthony King figure on Irish election programmes) has put a rather interesting article on the RTE website:

    http://www.rte.ie/news/election-2016/2016/0115/760253-donnelly-rules-getting-elected/

    Under STV (and also under AV), there’s an assumption that transfers are critical to being elected. However, he’s performed an analysis of Irish election results which indicates that securing a high *first* preference vote is most critical. If Ireland had multimember FPTP, around 90% of the seats would be won by the same candidates as under STV. I’ve often wondered how UK elections would be affected by the STV system, but it would be easier to analyse under a MMFPTP! Probably a question for another day.

    I have one final question on boundary changes – if the *number* of UK seats stayed at 650, does anyone know how many seats Wales, NI and Scotland would lose (assuming that the population of England is increasing faster than the other nations of the UK)? I can well imagine that Conservative MPs would be rather reluctant to put their seats in danger by reducing to 600, but could well be convinced to merely adjust the boundaries.

    * Sorry if that sounds a bit partisan, but for a guy that’s rather dependent on financial support from his EU counterparts, Tsipras hasn’t been making too many friends at recent EU summits.

  47. @ Millie
    No-one wants ‘ever closer union’.

    I am not sure this is right, speaking anecdotally I am aware of a significant number of people whose antipathy toward the current EU is not based on supranational sovereignty but on democratic deficit. They would wish for a third choice on the ballot: that of a democratically organised United States of Europe. I am not suggesting that this is by any means a viewpoint subscribed to by a majority, but I am suggesting that there will be a group of remain voters who are making the best of a bad job.
    I do wonder whether you are speaking of the Conservative party in your list of what everyone wants to demonstrate a limited dispute: If so I think you are probably “lighting a candle rather than cursing the darkness” as in my experience it is the egos of politicians that lead to splits rather than the gap between the policy stances involved.

  48. @Millie

    “If the public gradually begin to think that it all doesn’t really matter that much, I wonder whether they will take the opportunity to give the establishment a kicking, as often happens with a by-election.

    Or not bother to vote.”

    Precisely and that’s the hostage to fortune that Cameron has unleashed. Nobody, as far as I can tell, has beaten his door down for this Referendum, so he’s essentially positing a solution to a problem that doesn’t really exist. As you say, that risks an apathetic response or an invitation for voters to give the incumbent government a kick in the whotsits.

    The only way I see Cameron coming out of this politically and personally enhanced is for there to be an overwhelming vote to remain in the EU. That way he can genuinely claim to have closed off the issue for a generation and to have expunged his party of a 25 year self destructive itch. Any other result than that, and he’s in real trouble, and so is his party.

    How long are the odds on an overwhelming vote to stay in, I wonder? By overwhelming, I mean at least 65/35 to stay in or better.

  49. @michaelsiva

    The February Ipsos Mori poll suggested that a rUK Brexit / Scotland remain result would boost support for independence significantly in a second referendum but that was contradicted by a subsequebt Survation poll. Both polls suggested a clear majority in favour of Remain.Details can be found at the What Scotland Thinks blog.

    Also and possibly confusingly John Curtice has also recently published a piece based on SSAS findings which suggest widespread and growing euroscepticism in Scotland but still less than in England. Which raises the question whether that EU referendum result would produce a strong groundswell for a second independence referendum.

  50. via Mike Smithson

    Bad news for Rubio from his home state
    Quinnipiac Florida poll
    Trump 44%
    Rubio 28%
    Cruz 12%
    Kasich 7%
    Carson 4%

    That should settle Trump’s advance to the nomination.

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