Ipsos MORI have released the EU referendum figures from their monthly political monitor. Topline figures are REMAIN 49%, LEAVE 41%, DK/WNV 10%. Full details are here

There are quite a few differences in how MORI asked the question this month. Up until now they’ve been asking the referendum question using a split sample, with half the sample getting their long term tracker on if Britain should leave the EU, and half getting the actual referendum question, without any squeeze question or similar. This month they’ve switched onto a referendum footing – the only question is now the referendum question mentioning the date, and there’s a squeeze question to people who say they don’t know yet. This means that, while these figures are considerably tighter than MORI’s previous polling (last month they gave REMAIN an 18 point lead) we can’t tell to what extent there’s been a shift in opinion, and to what extent it’s down to asking the question differently.

MORI also asked how likely people were to vote in the referendum. At present they are not factoring this into their topline figures and are still looking into the best way to do it, but if they used the same approach as they do with their general election polling it would have reduced the REMAIN lead to just two points.

It’s worth noting that the big gulf between telephone and online polls on the EU referendum has narrowed significantly. In December and January the average REMAIN lead in telephone poll was twenty points, the average lead in online polls was zero; a towering gulf between the two modes. Polls this month have averaged a 2 point REMAIN lead in online polls, a 6 point REMAIN lead in phone polls. Even excluding the ORB phone poll that seemed completely out of line with all other telephone polls, the average of ComRes, MORI and Survation was 9 points. There’s still a significant contrast between online and phone polls on the topic… but a gap of seven points is far, far less of a gulf than a gap of twenty points!

UPDATE: I’ve corrected the original post – MORI are NOT prompting for “Undecided”, it’s still something respondents have to volunteer themselves. The increase in don’t knows is suddenly not so easily explained. Perhaps it’s the effect of mentioning that the referendum isn’t until June that’s making people more willing to say they haven’t decided yet.


54 Responses to “Ipsos MORI/Standard – REMAIN 49%, LEAVE 41%”

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  1. Interesting times

  2. Looks like we’ll be voting to stay.

  3. And to be fair I can understand why people prefer the status quo. Leaving would be a leap into the unknown.

  4. Good afternoon all from a slightly sunny and mild central London. Hope you all had a good Easter.
    ……..

    “MORI also asked how likely people were to vote in the referendum. At present they are not factoring this into their topline figures and are still looking into the best way to do it, but if they used the same approach as they do with their general election polling it would have reduced the REMAIN lead to just two points”
    _________

    I don’t know why they don’t use the same method? Yes all the pollsters were out of sorts with the UK GE but that was surely just a blip and in a referendum you only have two choices unlike the several choices people are faced with during a GE.

    Anyway what’s certain is the leave side have closed the gap dramatically on remain and within the coming weeks we may see crossover..

  5. @Pete

    “Looks like we’ll be voting to stay.”

    I think you’re probably right, but I certainly wouldn’t be putting my house on it. The direction of travel on these polls, both the online and phone variety, seems to point to a gradually narrowing lead for the Remain side. Momentum appears to be with Leave.

    I’d wager a small, and not wholly confident, bet on a 52/48 majority to stay in.

  6. It does all feel vaguely Scottish…

  7. Allan Christie
    ‘I don’t know why they don’t use the same method [adjusting for self-reported LTV]’

    Presumably they think that the factors influencing turnout may not be the same for the referendum as for GEs. For instance, there’s no direct equivalent to the ‘did you vote in the last election’ question and given that a large proportion of the electorate won’t have any personal precedent on which to base self-reported LTV MORI may feel referendum LTV is not as reliable a guide to referendum voting behaviour as GE LTV is to GE voting behaviour.

    Turnout in the Indyref was much higher than in the previous GE, although lower than polls had suggested it might be. I didn’t see any analysis of why the polls had over-estimated turnout, but I’m sure there was some. The Euroref doesn’t seem to be engaging people to the same extent, but it’s far from inconceivable that some people who didn’t vote in the last GE, or don’t usually vote in GEs, may be motivated to turn out for the referendum (let’s hope those in the latter category bothered to register). After all, there aren’t any ‘wasted votes’ in a referendum and people who despise mainstream political parties and don’t want to endorse any of them might find it easier to answer a dichotomous question about Britain’s EU membership.

    Crossbat

    I’d be inclined to put the margin slightly higher, subject to some convincing evidence that turnout will be higher among Leavers. I’m assuming there’ll be a late swing to the status quo, particularly if the polls start to tighten. I’m also assuming that if we were about to vote to Leave (for uncertainty, for upheaval, potentially for dramatic change throughout Europe…) that the national conversation would be louder and more fractious. I’m basing that on what I know of what happened in Scotland. The last Euro referendum was before I was born, so I don’t know what the atmosphere surrounding that was like.

  8. The remain campaign has been pretty non existent so far. I think this is going to be a very close call although the bookies have it as odds on that we will stay in.

  9. “The remain campaign has been pretty non existent so far.”

    That all really depends where you’re looking. I’ve seen a lot of stuff from them… Facebook, a leaflet through the door, people being interviewed…

  10. Alun. I expected far more from big business. I know the CBI have come out in favour of staying in as have 38 of the FTSE top 100 but it’s all been a bit lacklustre

  11. Does anyone care to forecast the negative effect of the respective campaigns?

    Leave has the possibility, at least, to inspire, and also to build a positive message over time – particular if “events” intervene, which is rather likely.

    I don’t see such potential in Remain. Its campaign has a distinct paucity of passion and a relentlessly negative message (predicated, ultimately, on a low opinion of the electorate). Eight weeks in, with seven weeks to go, it has nothing new or interesting to say because it has no positive themes to develop. Even the fear-mongering has its limits, as when, just a day before the Brussels outrage, the big campaign theme was how security would be damaged with Brexit. That can’t be revisited.

    I don’t think there necessarily will be a significant rush to Remain in the last days, and I don’t think Remain voters will go to the polls with the much enthusiasm. I also think that negative campaigning is not sustainable over a period of almost four months. It’s Leave’s to lose. If they can communicate effectively they will not do so.

  12. Well, perhaps one man’s lackluster is another man’s sober and mature argument. It seems to me there is electoral gain in being seen as the more rational and responsible side to vote for.

  13. My reply is in moderation. Seemingly because I used the word rati-onal. I still find that one odd :)

    [It can probably come off the moderation list. It was because someone used to insist on constantly writing posts about how the political views he happened to support were rational and political views he didn’t weren’t – AW]

  14. Alternatively, “Rati-onality” being non-gratis might explain a few things…

  15. I suggest both campaigns on going big on fear. The remain campaign is focusing on fear for the economy by leaving and the leave campaign on fear for security by staying

  16. @AW
    “political views he happened to support were rati-onal and political views he didn’t weren’t”

    Well, that’s how I feel about my political views too ;)

    But I hope it was clear that I was referring to a political campaign aiming to have itself perceived as such as its strategy, rather than me putting forward that view myself.

    It does seem to me that part of Remain’s strategy is to make the Leave lot seem like an unreconciled, self-contradictory rabble. You can see this in the way that they produce graphics showing contradictory quotes from opposing camps (or even from the same person a few weeks apart). The mood music seems very much about steady stewardship as a contrast to the Leave’s scattergun message. So when someone complains that Remain seems low-energy, I do think that they are picking up on a conscious strategy rather than an accidental deficiency. Time will tell whether they are right, but for what it’s worth, I think the PM was doing a good job of counterpointing it with some sleeves-rolled-up-in-a-warehouse campaigning. Expect more of that from him and from others in other parties. I think Dan Jarvis might start to pop up here and there…

  17. I’m supposed to be coordinating for Labour in for Britain in my constituency, but I’m finding it hard myself to work up any steam whilst the London Mayor and Assembly elections are on.
    I’ve also received zero communication form the central campaign team.
    It seems ridiculous to me to say ‘Remain’ has no capability of inspiring but leave can inspire. Where’s the inspiration in giving up?

  18. You don’t need to inspire people to win a referendum.

    The few who are inspired by either side – or even capable of being inspired by a particular argument – have generally already made their minds up.

  19. @Alun009
    “political views he happened to support were rati-onal and political views he didn’t weren’t” ‘He would say that, wouldn’t he?’

    “steady stewardship as a contrast to the Leave’s scattergun message”
    But unless there is a post-referendum election we shall not be voting for Team A or Team B to form a government after the referendum, still less Labour or Conservative, neither of whose “steady stewardship” is particularly well-marked, but for or against opposing economic, social and political views. There is no scope for tactical voting, apart from abstention, and no marginal seats. I suspect the result will hinge on who is thought by most people to be telling the truth, or near it, or dodging issues. I can’t see many of the present Leave voters changing their minds. but can’t say the same for the other way. (Leavers I know and read about are setting the uncertainties of leaving against the certainties of remaining, not its uncertainties.)
    What is also uncertain is who will be in the government after the referendum, whether the result is Leave or Remain. A referendum winner seems to need votes from both political parties, hence a coalition, but I can’t see Corbyn in a Cameron cabinet.

    In other words, too soon to call, and too soon to poll.

  20. Are both main parties waiting till after the local elections before campaigning strongly on Remain as both have many Leavers who would be antagonized by too much Remain rhetoric.

    How much should we read into bookies odds? I assume all they reflect is what gamblers think who have no better knowledge of the outcome than anyone else.

  21. Evening from a cold Ayrshire (instead of afternoon from a warm Carolina).

    Survation’s pensioner Holyrood poll tables are out. In the age band crossbreaks, variations are as one might have expected.

    Constituency VI – (60-64 : 65-74 : 75+)

    SNP – 52% : 39% : 33%
    Lab – 22% : 18% : 14%
    Con – 17% : 33% : 43%
    LD – 4% : 7% : 7%

  22. ” I can’t see many of the present Leave voters changing their minds. but can’t say the same for the other way.”

    YouGov came to the opposite conclusion a few weeks ago.

    https://yougov.co.uk/news/2015/12/10/eu-polling-soft-leave/

  23. @ EOTW Not necessarily. More money is being placed by punters on a Brexit yet the odds don’t reflect this. I think it will be a very close call and we might be in for a shock exit come June.
    I do think there will be a huge gulf in voting patterns with the grey vote predominantly voting for exit with the under30’s voting to stay in.

    We all know turn out amongst older voters is likely to be higher than for the younger generations. It remains to be seen whether the remain camp can inspire youngsters to actually turn out and vote

  24. @EOTW
    “many Leavers who would be antagonized by too much Remain rhetoric. ”

    Haven’t unearthed many leavers at all – just one prominent activist and one 83 year old. I’m slightly worried by UKIP/Lab waverers who might waver the wrong way in the locals but I have not actually seen any evidence of that happening.

    The lack of campaigning is more about small brains like mine trying to get enthused about 2 very different issues at the same time.

  25. Guymonde

    “It seems ridiculous to me to say ‘Remain’ has no capability of inspiring but leave can inspire. Where’s the inspiration in giving up?”

    Perhaps leave can inspire because it offers freedom.

  26. @ Mikey

    Oddschecker actually shows more money going on Remain – by just over 55% to 45%.

  27. It’s difficult for “remain” to provide an inspiring campaign as what they offer is “no change”. People do generally want things to not alter very much – but it’s not easy to get fired up about it.

    The “remain” groups need to go on and on about the positives in modern Britain (and just not even mention the EU at all) and then just say “Let’s keep it that way”. That’s their best line of attack.

  28. TOH:
    “Perhaps leave can inspire because it offers freedom”

    I’m currently free to move to any EU country, a freedom I have used more than once. I am free to take my government to court if they infringe my rights, as they have done at least once. I am free from having lived through a war in my land. I am free in ways that the UK government cannot offer alone, in ways that could not happen without international cooperation.
    I suppose you have a different notion of freedom. I suspect too that I would regard your idea of freedom as somewhat lesser than mine.

  29. @TOH

    It grieves me to say this because I generally find your posts both sensible and logical, but I believe it would be a great shame if we left the EU. I have property in three EU countries and have operated businesses in each of them in the recent past. This would have been virtually impossible if Britain had not been in the EU. We British are not taking advantage of the opportunities presented by our EU membership. We can’t be bothered to learn languages and consequently lose a whole lot of business. We also complain about bureaucracy when most of this is self inflicted. Our own civil service is the main culprit. This will not change one iota if we leave.

    I am hugely disappointed by the tone of the campaign on both sides. The idea of peoples across Europe, working together in common cause is surely a hugely positive thing. Why pretend otherwise?

    I dislike the whole idea of giving up on our closest neighbours and live in hope that the British people will show some sense of solidarity with them, the wisdom of crowds if you like.

  30. After a rather lengthy break from posting I’ve decided to come out of hibernation.

    Old Nat

    The decline in the Con vote across the age group seem to align quite well with the Scottish Conservative vote in the first GE each age cohort could have participated.

    The 75+ group would have been able to vote in the Unionist high water mark of the1955 election (50% of the vote), whereas the 60-64 group would mostly have had their first opportunity to vote in the two 1974 elections (33% and 24%).

    I think we might be seeing a strong legacy effect in the Con vote – the oldest cohort who are strongly supporting them now probably always have.

    Interestingly, and unsurprisingly, the corresponding effect in the Lab vote is much, much weaker.

  31. I suspect many of us think the polling is somewhat ‘early’. However, the decided elements are strong (see linked tables) and the squeeze gave no difference between the two, both gaining 5-6 % in decided vote.

    I once remember Matthew Parris saying that referendums have a built-in bias to ‘no change’, where ‘no’ is no change. He thought that ‘no’ would always be the way questions that wish to prevent change should be put.

    Thus, I suspect that if we had a ‘leave’ person setting the question it would read
    ‘do you think we should stay in the EU’
    a) no
    b) yes
    :-)

  32. Good evening all.

    SORBUS

    I’m a firm supporter of LTV and it is a good indicator for the direction of opinion regardless if it’s a referendum or GE, however I do agree there are other areas in polling for referendums which we can’t make parallels with regards to GE polling.

    The EU referendum wont be as engaging as the Scottish indyref because one was a vote on wholesale constitutional change and the other is a vote on partial constitutional change.

  33. I have always been amazed at the ability of pollsters to conjure something like an accurate result from what are probably wildly unrepresentative samples. Their ability to do this presumably depends on the skill with which they weight by factors such as previous voting habits which are strongly predictive of future behaviour and where it is known what the ‘true proportion’ should be. Given that there has been no previous referendum of this kind, there is no obvious equivalent of party affiliation, and we don’t know exactly what the influence of age etc should be, accurately forecasting the result of this referendum must be a nightmare.

  34. ExileInYorks

    Good timing – to come out of hibernation in Spring! Welcome back.

    I think you are probably right that, for many people, their general political inclinations are set quite early in their adult lives.

    Another factor in the age-related distribution of Tory VI would be that men and poorer folk die at a younger age, and are less well-represented among the old.

  35. GUYMONDE
    “I’m supposed to be coordinating for Labour in for Britain in my constituency, but I’m finding it hard myself to work up any steam whilst the London Mayor and Assembly elections are on”
    ________

    It’s a tough one. I think you should take up stamp collecting or train spotting to take your mind of things… ;-)
    ………….
    OLDNAT

    The Tories lead in the 75+ age group!! Cantankerous old buggers. ;-)

  36. @ RMJ1: “The idea of peoples across Europe, working together in common cause is surely a hugely positive thing. Why pretend otherwise?”

    Yes, the failure of anyone to make the emotional, idealistic case for Europe is puzzling. There is so much to say: united we stand, divided we fall; the sum is greater than the parts; it’s better to be inside the tent…

    I think it’s because Euro-idealism is seen in Britain as a bit naff, slightly embarrassing and probably counter-productive. It’s probably why you see so few EU flags flown in the UK. I was driving through France today and noticed (maybe in Bordeaux; it was a long drive) what I think was a logistics company with three flags flying: a Union Jack, a Tricolor and the EU flag. Presumably a British company with a French subsidiary. But it made me think: you’d never see that in the UK.

    Would any UK politician make an “I am a European” speech like JFK’s “Ich bin ein Berliner”? Somehow I don’t think so; even for those who feel it, the calculation is probably that it would be political suicide. Which is sad.

  37. Somerjohn

    “three flags flying: a Union Jack, a Tricolor and the EU flag. Presumably a British company with a French subsidiary. But it made me think: you’d never see that in the UK.”

    OK. You don’t see that many Tricoleurs flying here, but large companies/hotel groups often fly the Saltire, the UK flag and the EU one in Scotland.

    Your general point about English/UK institutional attitudes to the EU is well made, however.

    Possibly the best example is the BBC news website. There is no “EU” section – despite the UK being a member state. Anything on the EU is buried in the “Europe” (not the same thing) section of the “World” category. “Europe” is given equal status with “Middle East” or “Australia”.

    For a state broadcaster, with the educational remit that it is charged with, that’s pretty appalling.

  38. It looks like the pollsters have got it wrong again! Remember the General Election? So it looks like we might be leaving after all :-)

  39. Will the first two leaders debates in the Scottish Parliamentary elections have any impact on the next set of opinions polls, or is the dye pretty much cast?

  40. @Alun009
    “I’m currently free to move to any EU country, a freedom I have used more than once. I am free to take my government to court if they infringe my rights, as they have done at least once. I am free from having lived through a war in my land.”

    Can you explain which of these things would change if we left the EU? You might need a Visa to move to another country, but that’s no big deal.

    @Oldnat
    “Another factor in the age-related distribution of Tory VI would be that men and poorer folk die at a younger age, and are less well-represented among the old.”

    So are you saying that Tory voters in Scotland are predominately rich old ladies?

  41. Pete B

    “So are you saying that Tory voters in Scotland are predominately rich old ladies?”

    You might very well think that; I couldn’t possibly comment. :-)

  42. @Andy Shadrack
    “Will the first two leaders debates in the Scottish Parliamentary elections have any impact on the next set of opinions polls, or is the dye pretty much cast?”

    That’s die, as in singular of dice. And for most here, no-one cares anyway.

  43. Andy

    “is the dye pretty much cast?”

    The polls suggest that. The debates may make a small difference between the distribution of votes between SNP and Green on the list, or between the four Unionist parties – but I doubt it will be significant.

  44. ALUN009

    “I suppose you have a different notion of freedom. I suspect too that I would regard your idea of freedom as somewhat lesser than mine.”

    ……………as I regard your idea of freedom as less than mine. We are on different sides of a big divide. Don’t worry, sadly I think you will get your way and people like me will have to wait for the inevitable break-up of the EU.

  45. PETE B:
    “Can you explain which of these things would change if we left the EU? You might need a Visa to move to another country, but that’s no big deal.”

    They are ALL at risk. And here’s the thing: I don’t know the goals of those who would have us leave. I don’t know in which ways they would try to maintain the status quo and which things they would discard. Frankly, I don’t even know WHO would be leading the negotiations. I don’t know how much electoral concerns in other EU countries would constrain the opportunities of those who would negotiate our exit. I don’t know how badly the fractured and factional Leave groups would coalesce around negotiations when the ideological divisions between left and right would suddenly matter more.

    My starting point is that there are good adjusts to the EU that I would miss, and I see no guarantees that these things would even be fought for, let alone won.

    And I am not a person normally plagued by doubts about what can be achieved. I am quite radical in my outlook. But for any radical action to succeed, there needs to be a unity of purpose amongst those driving the change. And there is none. There is, in fact, open enmity between different leave campaigns. So forgive me when I say that it’s not for me to explain what would change, but for me to be told. Anybody proposing radical change owes that to the electorate as a bare minimum.

  46. TOH:
    I think a large part of this divide centres around the notion of rights, which some conservatives would describe as ‘nonsense on stilts”. But now I’m in danger of assuming too much about your beliefs.

  47. ALUN009

    I believe in both rights and responsibilities, too often these days we have the former without the latter. I am not a Tory but a socially conservative, economically liberal person.

    As far as Europe goes I feel I have much more in common with Americans, Canadians, Australians, Indians etc than I do with Europeans.

  48. @James E
    YOUGov “conducted an experiment to test current poll numbers on the EU referendum, describing opposite outcomes of Cameron’s renegotiations to voters of each side.”
    That was 3 months ago. The results of his negotiations are now known, so this poll based on ‘opposite outcomes’ is now irrelevant.

  49. @TOH
    “I am not a Tory but a socially conservative”
    Yes, I gathered as much. I was careful to use a small c.

    “both rights and responsibilities, too often these days we have the former without the latter”
    Yes, that rather confirms the direction of my thinking was right about you. For me, responsibility is a by-product of other people’s rights. Yes, they exist, but too often conservatives (and, indeed, Conservatives) use the “responsibilities” argument to somewhat undermine the idea of rights being fundamental.

    But I guess we’re going too far away from polling talk and too much into our personal beliefs, and I know that this isn’t the right place to explore fundamental differences in political philosophy, so I’ll say no more about it.

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