This morning’s Times had a new YouGov poll, full tables are here.

Topline voting intention was CON 31%, LAB 34%, LDEM 8%, UKIP 17%, GRN 3%. The poll follows a torrid few weeks for the Conservative party – a badly received budget, IDS’s resignation, the Tata steelworks and the week long fuss over David Cameron’s tax affairs. All of that has occured against the backdrop of the party arguing with itself over Europe and saying very little about any other issue. It’s always difficult to link a drop in support in the polls to specific events, but there are plenty of plausible reasons for a fall.

YouGov’s latest topline figures for the EU referendum are REMAIN 50%, LEAVE 50%. Looking at the underlying questions, there are a couple of significant movements in favour of LEAVE. Firstly on terrorism, 25% of people now think that Britain would be safer from terrorism if we left the EU (up from 16% back in February) – perhaps an impact from the Brussels terrorist attacks. Secondly trust in David Cameron on the issue of Europe has dropped sharply, from 29% to 21%. In fairness, trust in most of the leave figures (including Boris Johnson) has fallen too – the only person whose figures have increased is Jeremy Corbyn, who with 28% trust is now more trusted on Europe than Cameron.

Looking at some more general questions on the Tory leadership David Cameron’s ratings have declined there too. In December his lead over Jeremy Corbyn as best Prime Minister was twenty-six points, now it is only seven points (almost all due to Cameron’s rating falling, rather than Corbyn’s increasing) – 32% Cameron (down 17), 25% Corbyn (up 2). As with the voting intention figures, I would be cautious about jumping to conclusions about the reasons for the drop in Cameron’s ratings – while the questions were asked just after the row over his investments, in the same people people said by 45% to 35% that Cameron hadn’t actually done anything wrong. It is just as likely to be the impact from the budget, from the general running of the government or from Cameron losing the support and loyalty of Conservative voters who are backing leave. It will be interesting to see to what degree the ratings of the Conservative party and David Cameron himself recover once the referendum is finally over and they can get on with something else (assuming, of course, that Cameron’s leadership survives the aftermath)

On the subject of Cameron’s future 31% of people now think he should step down in the next year (up from 18% in December), compared to 36% who think he should stay until 2019 or later (down from 50% in December). If Britain votes to leave the European Union 44% think that Cameron should resign. In terms of a successor, Boris Johnson remains the clear favourite of the public and of Conservative voters. Support for George Osborne is now very low – he is the choice of only 4% of the public, of only 2% of Conservative voters (behind Michael Gove and Sajid Javid). Osborne even lags behind Jeremy Corbyn in a question on who would make the best Prime Minister – he will have some catching up to do to repair his reputation ahead of any leadership election.


161 Responses to “YouGov/Times – CON 31, LAB 34, LD 8, UKIP 17, GRN 3”

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  1. # feel

  2. “It’s like the Teas Party going on about adhering to the Constituion and it being absolute”

    I think I quite like the idea of a tease party… no, wait that’s not what you meant…

    I really liked your whole comment, and I’m singling the above quote out as particularly perceptive. There have been some in the Brexit camp who’ve been trying to push the idea that membership of the EU is “incompatible” with the Magna Carta. It is the single-most absurd argument I’ve yet come across, and after rearing its head a few months ago they seem to have dropped the meme quietly. I’m really sure that it has been inspired by the Tea Party and the far right in the USA. I think there is a deep ideological overlap between the two groups. But at the same time, a lot on the hard left who are in favour of Brexit either haven’t noticed or don’t care. Or, my perception is wrong.

    I think the increased scrutiny the Vote Leave face now will flush out those on the Tea Party / troublemaker wing. I’m sure they do exist, it’s just a question of whether they are significant or not.

  3. Interesting poll giving Labour a 3 point lead, I can only see this increasing over the next 3 months or so. I was trying to find a comparison with last Parliament and in the ‘Historical Polling’ section on the right hand side of this page I note that we have all polling for Parliament’s since 1970 but bizarrely not the 2010 – 2015 polling. Any reason for this Anthony or is it somewhere else?

  4. Aaaah I found them. They were in the ‘Latest voting intention’ column, which goes back to 2010. I have just checked how all parties were doing 11 months after the 2010 election and find that on average Labour was about 4 to 6 points ahead with them polling 40 – 42 and the tories on 35 – 37. The Lib dems are currently back to where they were in 2010, 9 – 10. There were no figures for UKIP but I surmise they were about 7% which would account for the drop in both Labour and Tory support.

  5. PETE B If Remain wins, especially by a narrow margin, UKIP’s support will only increase further as they get some of the support of bitter Leave voters as the SNP won bitter Yes voters, even if not to the same level

  6. ‘I think the local elections will give us more of an indication of Corbyn’s popularity.’

    I actually think they’ll give us a very good indication of how people vote in local elections.

  7. SHEVII

    You obviously missed, the last time I had thoughts on the EU referendum. I had stay winning by 10points margin, I have not changed my thoughts on this so far, despite hoping desperately that I’m wrong.

  8. FAO CATMANJEFF:

    There’s a new package called “janeaustinr” on CRAN.
    “Full text for Jane Austen’s 6 completed novels, ready for text analysis.”
    … or for reading, I guess.

    A lesser man than me might claim that Remain v Leave is a case of Sense & Sensibility versus Pride & Prejudice.

  9. That leaflet…

    Does the polling suggest that it’s outdated for a government based on representative democracy to presume to issue advice on how to vote when it has decided a referendum is warranted?

    Or is it just that it’s a bit cheeky to talk about a ‘Government position’ when the Cabinet still contains people on both sides of the debate?

    My main problem with it is that I expect government publications to adhere to a higher standard of accuracy. The leaflet claims as successes from DC’s renegotiation things that were never in question.

  10. The figures I find quite striking in the YouGov poll on the EU referendum are those relating to risk.

    Whilst there’s slight up tick in both the numbers believing that it would be risky to leave and those believing it would be safe, it’s those who perceive risk who are the far more numerous.

    48% think it’s risky to leave, 35% that it’s safe to do so.

    I fear that means that so-called (or should that be soi-disant) ‘project fear’ will continue and intensify up until polling day, playing on risk must be the remain campaigns trump card.

    The numbers are – perhaps unsurprisingly – almost exactly reversed when the question is reversed.

    Only 33% believe it is risky to remain in the EU, whilst 47% believe it to be safe.

    Whilst the bulk of those who believe in the safety of the EU regard it as ‘fairly’ rather than ‘very’ safe, the marginal direction of travel since the last poll is more tending towards the ‘very safe’ end of things (up 2%).

    This would seem to indicate that the leave campaigns attempts to paint staying in the EU as a risky option have so far been unsuccessful – given that I would have though immigration was a key risk, though it’s not set out explicitly as being one here – that must raise questions as to what their best strategy is for persuading ‘soft remains’ and DKs.

    I agree with those who advocate on looking below the headline figures to predict how people will vote as opposed to how they will respond to opinion polls.

    Stranger things have happened, and we have the campaign to go, but… it would be a very unusual state of affairs if the usually very risk averse British electorate were to abandon their perceived safety within the EU for perceived risk without it.

    Anecdotally, I’ve attended a number of public discussions on the issue recently – organised by academic and membership organisations – and it’s evident that there’s (to my surprise) quite a large ‘soft Brexit’ constituency. People – as some posters here have expressed – who feel that we should leave on principle, but fear that pragmatically it would not work out.

    I wonder how many of these will remain in the end as a course of least resistance.

  11. “to presume to issue advice on how to vote when it has decided a referendum”

    It’s always been the case that governments take a view on how one sohuld vote. The only time that it’s illegitimate is when we’re voting on whether to replace the government or keep the current one. Literally every other aspect of the country’s running flows from government decisions.

    There might be people in the government who disagree, but the cabinet took a decision. They could have taken a different decision, to back Leave if there had been more Leavers. That’s the system of government we have. To plead for special treatment for the Leave campaign is pretty pointless.

    Now you might not like the system we’ve got, but that’s not what’s on the table. Like votes for 16. I think they should be allowed to vote. But it shouldn’t be changed just for this referendum. The Leave lot were right to resist that idea, and wrong to say that the government may not take a view on the future of the country. Whether the people take a different view is another thing. Could even be counterproductive. But don’t let anyone tell you it’s somehow unfair any more than any decision taken by the government is unfair.

  12. Alun009

    I specifically didn’t express a personal opinion on whether the government is right to issue advice on how to vote. I was struck by the margin which DK’s seem to feel they were wrong to do so and speculating as to why that might be.

  13. Arrgh. DKs.

  14. “I specifically didn’t express a personal opinion”

    I know. Which is why I was saying “don’t let anyone tell you that…”.

    Leave wants Remain to fight with one hand tied behind its back, just because Remain is in a stronger position. It’s a funny idea of fairness in my book.

  15. @ Sorbus

    There has been rather a significant amount of coverage pointing to the leaflet as a ‘substantial waste of money’, not least from the pro-Brexit press.

    This has coincided with the poorly received budget in which further austerity measures were proposed and the brouhaha over tax evasion / avoidance.

    It may be as simple as a ‘not the best use of scarce money’.

    Though that is, of course, speculation.

  16. I wonder how soon it will be before these worrying figures on the performance of the NHS will start to filter through to voting intentions. The NHS has always been a bell-weather and vote shifting issue and while the exchange of dry statistics can mask the real experiences that the figures represent, sometimes sanitising the horrors that lie behind them, we’re now seeing A&E closures and worsening waiting times. Doesn’t seem much when presented statistically, but that equates to a lot of people waiting longer and having bad experiences when they visit their hospitals and GP practices.

    These are the sort of issues that mean something to people in their everyday lives, a bit like crime, and once they start to feel that things are deteriorating, politicians usually pay a price. Arcane arguments about tax havens and the semantic differences between evasion and avoidance, and which poor chappy is having to pay a bit of more inheritance tax on his richly deserved stash, may well exercise the members in the 19th hole at their local golf club, but they don’t move opinion or voting intentions much. They tend to play to partisan sentiments, as evidenced on these pages.

    Suddenly, the opinion polls have got interesting again.

    :-)i

  17. @ Sorbus & Alun009

    In addition, there is also a direct precedent for sending out a leaflet stating HMG’s position ahead of a European referendum.

    Here’s the text from the last time:

    http://www.harvard-digital.co.uk/euro/pamphlet.htm

    It’s interesting that – contrary to popular belief, issues around sovereignty were very much at the fore, and the term ‘European Community’ was used interchangeably with ‘Common Market’.

  18. I’ve been sniffing around after polls for the Police and Crime commissioner elections. Sadly I’ve found none.

    It’s a question whether the current travails of the government will translate into a drop in support here too. This election is concerned with a single issue, quite separate from general levels of party support, EU referenda or tax avoidance. The number of successful independents last time indicates that party politics isn’t such a strong factor here.

  19. @Crossbat11

    “I wonder how soon it will be before these worrying figures on the performance of the NHS will start to filter through to voting intentions.”

    The NHS is an interesting case in VI terms.

    It so often finishes at or near the top of people’s list of concerns and what they say influences how they will vote.

    Yet… it’s an issue on which Labour nearly always maintains a good lead – especially when in opposition. So if there were a direct correlation we would expect near permanent Labour government.

    Given that’s not the case, it’s obviously an issue that weighs more in the balance than we might think and has a more complex relationship with VI than might be supposed. Mrs Thatcher scored consistently and appallingly on the NHS but was a dominant force in politics.

    I wonder whether it’s – despite what the public say – a second tier issue, or at least one with a very heavy trigger. Either the NHS going awry has to coincide with other wheels falling off a government’s wagon or the NHS has to be in a truly parlous state before it starts to matter on its own.

    That may be a rather cynical view, but one I think historical polling and voting evidence would support.

    Of course, given that this administration has a number of wobbles on the go just now, perhaps locking into dispute with junior doctors (who continue to have public support for the time being) as well as trying to get the system to ‘do more for less’ – might not be the wisest course of action.

  20. @Keith HP

    Interesting piece on the BBC the other day about the increasing politicisation of the police and crime commissioner roles.

    Apparently a number of independents are standing down after one term – some went mid term under a cloud too – and new independents are put off by the cost of entering the race, or more specifically mounting a winning campaign.

    Given that party candidates last time did seem to be made up of what might charitably be called ‘party grandees and local dignitaries’, were the whole system to more towards a party political footing, it does rather raise the issue of what the posts add to the democratic process – as these same people were to be found chairing the old police authorities under the ancien regime.

  21. I have a vague feeling that the Tory problem might be a bit more like New Labour’s.

    In Cameron like Blair a good communicator more liked than has Party but who really doesn’t have a vision of what he wants or how to do it…lots of spin but lacking content.

    Osborne like Brown is a far less likeable character and highly political with budgets more about gimmicks and scoring Party political points than actual change.

    After that their are a collection of Ministers of differing talent all doing their own thing.

    Like New Labour once the gloss wears off there is an overwhelming impression that they don’t know what they want to do. On education the academies thing seems to have come out of nowhere a bit like Tuition fees and gone down about as well.

    Whether you class this as the first term or second it bizarrely is starting to have the feel of a government that has ran out of steam.

    Thoughts people?

    Peter.

  22. I have had a leaflet today from the Campaign for an Independent Britain, claiming that “There is only one way to stop TTIP…(and) save our NHS from wholesale privatization (sic)….We must vote to leave the European Union!”
    Does this count as scare-mongering or as a statement of fact?

  23. “have the feel of a government that has ran out of steam.”

    I had that sense a year and a half ago, but chalked it down to sclerotic conflicts between coalition partners being muted by mutual self interest. Something of that flavour emerged after the Lib Dems emerged from the shackles of have any MPs, but not as much as I suspected.

    I do think that there’s an element of truth in what you say.

  24. Would it be OK or is it too far off topic to bring up the US Primaries? Interested to hear the thoughts of people hereabouts.

  25. PATRICKBRIAN:
    “Does this count as scare-mongering”

    Definitely scaremongering. Especially when you consider the track record of those who would be in stronger positions after Brexit. Moreover, many Brexiteers want to sign deals with the rest of the world, but fail to explain how it wouldn’t be along the lines of TTIP. The reality is, there’s a lot of ignorance around TTIP. The fundamental point for me is that we have a veto on TTIP. So after the negotiations are finished, if it looks good we can say yes, if it looks bad we can say no. Leaving the EU is entirely unnecessary. It’s like boycotting Asda because you don’t want to buy onions.

  26. Alun 009

    Thanks – ” It’s like boycotting Asda because you don’t want to buy onions.” is a great analogy!

  27. ‘ On education the academies thing seems to have come out of nowhere a bit like Tuition fees and gone down about as well.’

    It may have come out of nowhere as far as the general public is concerned but it is completely consistent with the Govian project of 2013:

    ‘The full extent of Michael Gove’s plans to revolutionise education are revealed today in a secret memo showing he is considering outright privatisation of academies and free schools. All academies and free schools in England, which are the Education Secretary’s personal obsession, would be free to become profit-making for the first time, and be entirely decoupled from Whitehall control.’

    http://www.independent.co.uk/news/education/education-news/secret-memo-shows-michael-goves-plan-for-privatisation-of-academies-8488552.html

  28. ALUN009

    “Leave wants Remain to fight with one hand tied behind its back, just because Remain is in a stronger position. It’s a funny idea of fairness in my book”
    _______

    I totally disagree with that. As in the Scottish independence referendum I wanted fairness from both sides but the No side (the establishment side) came out with project fear. David Cameron was putting pressure on big businesses to come out in a negative light against independence and so on.

    When I lived in Scotland (and mentioned it on UKPR on many occasions) that I was voting Yes for independence, something I hope still happens as the Scots are better at running Scotland than Westminster IMO, I saw the flaws in the No side and now I’m seeing the same flaws in the remain side for the EU vote.

    It would be highly hypercritical of me if I were to suggest that I approve of the remain sides tactics after having an issue with the NO side during the Scottish referendum.

    And quite the contrary, it’s the leave side in this referendum who are expected to fight with one hand tied behind their backs because they have had £9 million less to spend.

  29. Peter Cairns
    “Polemic rubbish” any viewpoint at variance to what Peter Cairns believes.

    “No government can bind another” Never said it could.

    “Each and every step ……” As was clearly exposed by Nick Robinson, the ultimate goal of European Union was always the intention and that was always known by Heath and his cohorts. This was never expounded to the people back in 1971. We were told that it was a common market for trade. Yes, each treaty since, has been passed by parliament, the public were never consulted however and I would be interested to know how many MPs read and understood, for example, the Maastrict Treaty. In other words, they voted for what they were told was in the treaty. Thatcher was certainly misled as to what the Single European Act meant in practice. Something she later regretted signing.

    Re, representative democracy not giving me what I want and the introduction of the Tea Party. Straw man as Carfrew would say. My gripe is politicians not being open and honest with the public. Game playing is their preferment. I fully accept the principle of representative democracy and what goes with it. What I don’t accept is being told I am being given one thing when there is a hidden agenda to give me something quite different, a few years down the line.

    Of course mep’s are elected. Never said they weren’t. However you seem to ignore the unelected Commission and its president who are all mighty powerful and are unelected. Even the German court has referred to the democratic deficit within the EU.

    Neither should you make assumptions about how I will vote. I actually haven’t decided. These are all the reasons why I should vote out but when I am in the booth with pencil in hand, will I vote for the status quo?

  30. ” However you seem to ignore the unelected Commission and its president who are all mighty powerful and are unelected. Even the German court has referred to the democratic deficit within the EU.”

    I believe a lot of power lies with the council of ministers.

    EU will always be undemocratic because national governments would never allow an elected EU President as he would have a mandate to threaten theirs.

  31. EOTW
    “EU will always be undemocratic because national governments would never allow an elected EU President as he would have a mandate to threaten theirs.”

    Maybe not, but they could give power to the European Parliament to overthrow proposed EU legislation.

  32. Whilst we are but circa 19% through this Parliament , it may be worth noting that Labour now appears to be performing a fair bit better than at the same stage of the 1987 and 1959 Parliaments. In May 1988 the Tories were enjoying leads ranging from 2 to 10% , whilst back in September 1960 the Tory lead was 7%.Moreover , were the Yougov data to be presented without the post 2015 adjustments it must be likely that the Labour lead would now be recorded as circa 5% – ie much the same as in April 2011.

  33. PETE B
    “Maybe not, but they could give power to the European Parliament to overthrow proposed EU legislation.”

    Again the Council of Ministers and the Directorate would not allow the EU Parliament that much power. As a “Remainer” I am aware of many EU governance flaws

  34. @Graham,

    Excellent. On course for another Labour defeat in 2020 then?

  35. @Carfrew,

    Re: whether a Remain vote will “Lance the Boil” in the Tory party.

    I think the general assumption is ‘No’, and that it would give a fillip both to UKIP and to the Brexiteer wing of the Tory party.

    I’m not completely convinced. I think expectations are cololured by the experience of Scotland’s “Remain” vote. But how comparable are the two situations? The SNP was already very popular. The “Remain” vote simply seemed to result in them successfully lasso-ing most of the remaining “Out” voters that they hadn’t already got and bringing their VI levels pretty much up to the “Out” levels (which in a parliamentary election means hegemony).

    Would that happen with Westminster VI for the rest of the UK? Would UKIP see a super-boost, when they’re not that popular in general and many “Leave” voters hate their guts? Would anti-EU Tories agitate for “another go”, even though to do so would almost certainly result in a loss to the pro-EU Labour party?

    Maybe. I don’t know. I certainly think there will be some personal animosity around, whichever way the vote goes. I honestly don’t know what the party political effect would be.

    Remember all the people predicting the immediate break-up of the Coalition government, almost the second it was announced? I don’t know to what extent hopes lead people’s expectations.

    The clear intention of Tory strategists was that the referendum would free them to fight 2020 on issues other than the EU. Maybe they’ve got that completely wrong. We’ll see soon enough I suppose.

  36. @ Neil A
    Well Labour did go on to win the 1964 election and made 42 net gains in 1992. Had Thatcher not been ousted Labour would probably have managed at least a further 25 gains.

  37. @PatrickBrian
    You don’t need (sic) after oxford spelling.

    I’ve been noticing more of this, unneeded sics in quotes from the ‘opposed’. Ofc, my spelling & grammar is, I would say, creative.

  38. ALLAN CHRISTIE:
    “I saw the flaws in the No side and now I’m seeing the same flaws in the remain side for the EU vote.”

    I have sympathy with your view, but it’s not quite what I was talking about. Yeah, the fear mongering (on both sides, personally I think there’s way more on the Leave side) is not good. But the leaflet from the government is really quite sober and measured. I mean, it sets out facts that are facts, it states when it’s making judgements. If anything it’s a little dull compared to Stronger In and Vote Leave, and *very* dull compared to the shrill screeching from Leave.EU.

    Negativity is a problem, but I’d be surprised if anyone were trying to hold the government communication up as a paradigm in that respect. It has a view, an opinion. But it’s not doomy.

  39. “it’s the leave side in this referendum who are expected to fight with one hand tied behind their backs because they have had £9 million less to spend.”

    That’s not true. During the official campaigning period (now started), both sides have limits. Leave.EU have already spent millions, and they aren’t the official campaign group. Why is it more legitimate for Arron Banks to put forward his views than the democratically elected government?

    Banks, who is worth £100,000,000 has been trying to buy his way into political prominence for years. And as someone whose name appeared in the recent Panama Papers, owning what appear to be shell companies for goodness knows what purpose I’m not so sure I think the Leave side is either short of a few bob nor in any morally superior position to claim to be looking after the UK exchequer.

    And with Leave.EU now becoming a seven-headed hydra so it can spend £700,000 seven times over (this is all getting quite biblical with all these sevens), it’s clear that Leave.EU will have as much clout as eah of Vote Leave and Stronger In. We have three sides to this fight, and two of them are “Leave”. I have no worries at all that the Leave side(s) will have every chance to get their views across at least as much as the remain side. All they lack is a many places in the senior ranks of rthe government or opposition. But I would argue that this is because many of them are utterly repellent to the electorate. I believe the polling will back me up on that. The only thing that really hobbles Leave is their horribleness. Yet the cash still might take them over the line.

  40. @Alun

    There are plenty of nice people campaigning for Leave, and many, many people campaigning for Remain that in another context you’d loathe with a passion.

    I agree on the general point though. Whoever wins or loses this campaign, I don’t think it’s because of how much money they spent trying to get their point across.

    The Big Sticks on each side are Immigration and The Economy. The result will depend on which bothers the electorate most, and the extent to which they think their vote will affect either. I think most voters would like the UK to reduce immigration, whether the EU allows it or not, but most voters don’t want to lose their jobs, or some of their income, due to any economic fallout from Brexit.

  41. Alun
    “But I would argue that this is because many of them are utterly repellent to the electorate. I believe the polling will back me up on that. The only thing that really hobbles Leave is their horribleness.”

    A tad partisan? They might be repellent to you, but almost by definition not to a significant section of the electorate. Farage for instance, is not everyone’s cup of tea, but even he has admirers beyond the 17% who support UKIP. Boris might repel some people but by no means all.

  42. “The Big Sticks on each side are Immigration […]”

    See I’m not even sure that’s true. Vote Leave have found it quite difficult to talk about immigration. Their hearts are not fully in that conversation. For Leave.EU it’s the number one issue, for sure.
    Vote Leave had that horrible experiment with the “50 EU Criminals” stuff and you could see that some on their side were cringing at it. Immigration is a fundamental split in the Leave campaigns.

    As for Remain… you’re on the money there. It’ll be interesting to see whether the parties in Scotland, all of whom have leaders in favour of Remaining (apart from Ukip, who really are utterly fringe in Scotland), come up with a different narrative. But that won’t come for another three weeks or so, when the Holyrood elections are done and dusted. For me, that’s the real start date. England’s got this whole other thing going on down there.

  43. @ALUN009

    I would disagree on the facts and opinions being neatly delineated. First page of argument:

    “The EU is by far the UK’s biggest trading partner. EU countries buy 44% of everything we sell abroad, from cars to insurance. Remaining inside the EU guarantees our full access to its Single Market. By contrast, leaving creates uncertainty and risk.”

    All presented as fact. None of the “the government judges” caveatting of opinion.

    We all know that politicians can always find different statistics to support their opinions, but even if there was any selective picking in the counting methodology I think we could agree that the first two sentences are still statements of fact rather than opinion. While the third sentence may not technically be absolutely factual (the Single Market *could* be dissolved the day after the referendum), I think it can be said to be generally accepted on all sides, and if not technically a fact we could put it down as an undisputed expectation.

    But the last sentence? This is entirely a judgement call, and one which would no doubt be disputed by those in favour of EU exit. In some ways the judgement of the truth of that opinion (that leaving creates risk and uncertainty in contrast to remaining) *is* the disputed question at the heart of the referendum! It could just about be explained as a kind of sneaky, selective fact, but a fact nonetheless to say that leaving “creates uncertainty and risk” since life is always uncertain, but to say that it does so “in contrast” to remaining (i.e. remaining entails no risk) is certainly a matter of opinion.

    The pamphlet continues in a similar vein. I don’t think that there is anything much wrong with campaigners producing biased literature and trying to get the electorate to treat their opinions as fact, but I think to suggest that the government booklet is different and strictly factual is somewhat disingenuous.

    Maybe if the opinions masquerading as fact don’t jump out at you, it simply means that you tend to agree with the opinions more readily (so that you can easily compartmentalise them with the ‘generally accepted’ expectations)? Maybe if they jump out to me it means that I tend to agree less with those opinions? Who knows!

  44. I doubt that I would agree on many political issues with the guy who interrupted Michael Crick at the Leave rally – but good on him, for telling Crick to shut up.

    The arrogance of TV reporters seldom fails to astound.

  45. Neil A

    “I honestly don’t know what the party political effect would be.”

    The only sensible position to take, I think. An analogous process to Scotland might take place, but conditions (whatever they are!) have to be right for major changes in behaviour to happen.

    One such condition has been identified in the Hansard Society Audit of Political Engagement.

    http://www.auditofpoliticalengagement.org/

    In last year’s Audit we recorded that people in Scotland, in the aftermath of the independence referendum, were considerably more interested in and knowledgeable about politics than in previous years and significantly more engaged than the British population overall. This situation has not just been maintained but has improved still further this year: knowledge levels in Scotland have grown a further nine points, and interest levels have increased by 14 points. Citizens in Scotland thus have a higher degree of claimed knowledge of politics (65% versus 55%) and interest in politics (74% versus 57%) than the British population overall.

    Will the EU referendum engage the English to the same extent that our referendum did here?

    One indicator might be the percentage of the population who have registered to vote. While individual registration may make a direct comparison with Scotland’s 97% of potential voters on the electoral roll impossible, has registration to vote in England approached record levels?

    The EU debate has not yet (and may never) engage Scots voters in comparison with 2014 – the constant repetition of the same arguments we heard deployed in 2014 is unlikely to excite.

  46. I’ve been looking at Yougov polls since JC became Labour Leader.

    I’ve looked at the breakdown by 2015 party ID, and one thing really stands out (as Roger Mexico suggested yesterday). The 2015 Conservatives moving to “don’t know” has increased significantly. The EWMA chart below has the data. The x marks are the actual score for each poll.

    https://drive.google.com/file/d/0BzTTW1ecy-NDLU9zckdQVzNDUHM/view?usp=sharing

    The “Don’t Knows” started to rise at data point 8 – poll taken 21-23rd Feb. The line doesn’t breach until point 10, but has been rising. This is because this graph smooths out data, meaning that an odd rogue won’t show too much. This is why data points outside the control limits cannot easily be argued by one dodgy sample. You would need several dodgy polls in row to get a false result.

    Anyway, it’s good to find objective analysis to back something up.

  47. POPEYE:
    “Remaining inside the EU guarantees our full access to its Single Market. By contrast, leaving creates uncertainty and risk.”

    I don’t see it’s worth even considering the first sentence here. As you admit, it’s undisputed, so why mention it? The wider point that “life is full of uncertainty” is a truism. Of course it is. But that truism is misused, indeed abused, to mask a genuine and hard-headed approach to risk. It happens often when people don’t want to admit that their approach is risky.

    Analogy: someone smokes. When the dangers of smoking are pointed out to them, they wave it away with the idea that “I could get hit by a bus tomorrow”. True. You could. But probably not. And all that’s happened is the fact that smoking is, on the whole, extremely harmful has been dismissed. It is, in fact, another way of saying “I don’t care”.
    And kudos to some Brexiteers, they have admitted that Brexit is a riskier proposition and stated they think the benefits, and the chance of those benefits, exceed the risk. I happen to disagree, but there’s a judgement call.

    And we’ve elided into the second sentence. That Brexit creates uncertainty and risk. I can see what you mean about risk being a judgement call. I sort of agree, although it’s one where, as I said above, I’ve heard Brexiteers admitting as much. The earlier but though, that Brexit creates uncertainty. I’m sorry but you can’t disagree with that with a straight face. The various Leave factions have not (and I predict will not) agree on a post-Brexit model. In fact, they cannot agree *whose job it is to do so*. Some, absurdly, think that David Cameron should be setting out a vision for what he will try to negotiate. That’s bonkers, since they’re asking Cameron to effectively help them fight their campaign. And we all know Cameron is bascially toast if it’s a Brexit. So we don’t even know who the PM will be if it’s Brexit, let along what they will try to negotiate on what mandate and in what timeframe. All of that is EXTRA uncertainty on top of the banal uncertainty that affects everyday life. Yes, London might be struck by a meteorite. That would affect Brexit, Bremain, the football fixtures, everything. But it’s trite to say so. Universal uncertainties are, in the context of making unrelated decisions, irrelevant. The certainty of Remaining in is set out, very clearly, as basically the same as today, with guarantees of referedums if the govt wants to change it, and a UK veto if the EU wants to change it. It’s all written down, it’s all law. That there is as certain as anything can be.

    And ask yourself this: if Remain is really so “uncertain”, why are the Leave campaigners so sure that we need to get out?

  48. CATMANJEFF:
    “The EWMA chart”

    Keep this up, this is gold.

  49. Alun, I think you misunderstood my post a little.

    The idea that leaving the EU involves uncertainty and risk I don’t think can reasonably be seen to be controversial. But the actual “fact” as stated was that “By contrast [to remaining in the EU], leaving creates uncertainty and risk.”

    The idea that leaving the EU involves uncertainty and risk *while remaining involves none* (or at least involves a comparatively negligible amount) seems fine as an opinion or judgement call, but to claim it as an uncontroversial and accepted fact seems rather to stretch credulity.

  50. POPEYE:

    I understood your point, and I said that on the “risk” front I see what you mean. On the uncertainty front, I do not think it is reasonable to say that it’s open to interpretation. The laws are written in black and white. We know the current constitutional arrangement with respect to the EU. We know that further changes are subject to referendums. It’s as guaranteed as anything else in statute.

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