ComRes had a new EU telephone poll in this morning’s Daily Mail. Topline figures are REMAIN 52%(-1), LEAVE 41%(+3), Don’t know 7%(-2). Tabs are here.

Note that this poll is now adjusted for likelihood to vote, using ComRes’s turnout model based on socio-economic factors, like age and class (the changes are adjusted to reflect this). Note that adjusting turnout based on ComRes’s model has marginally increased support for Remain (before the adjustment the figures would have been 51 and 41).

There’s a broad assumption that differental turnout is more likely to favour Leave in the EU referendum campaign, largely based on the fact that polls normally show Leave voters claiming they are more likely to be 10/10 certain to vote, and that Leave voters are older. I’m not so sure. Self-reported likelihood is a blunt tool (people who say they are 10/10 certain to vote are not really much more likely than 8/10 or 9/10 people), and the age skew that should favour Leave in terms of turnout (older people are more likely to vote, and more Leave) will to some degree be cancelled out by the social class and educational skews that favour Remain (middle class people and graduates are more likely to vote, and more Remain).

On the subject of education, YouGov also had an interesting article up today. Like Populus and ICM they have carried out parallel telephone and online surveys, but unlike other such tests which have found a big gulf between phone and online results YouGov found results that were very similar to each other: both phone and online polls found a small lead for Leave.

This result wasn’t just the weighting (even before weighting the raw sample was a lot more “leave” than the raw samples from other phone polls) suggesting it is something to do with the sampling. Obviously we can’t tell for certain what the reason is – the most obvious difference is that the YouGov poll was conducted over the period of a fortnight, so was slower than most telephone polls and there was more opportunity to ring back people who were unavailable on the first call – but there could be other differences to do with quotas or the proportion of mobile calls (the YouGov poll was about a third mobile, two-thirds landline. My understanding is most phone polls are about 50/50 now, though MORI is about 20/80).

Looking at the actual demographics of the sample YouGov highlight the difference between their landline sample and the samples for the Populus paper looking at phone/online differences – specifically on education. In the Populus telephone samples between 44-46% of people had degrees, whereas the actual figure in the Census and Annual Population Survey is around 30%. The YouGov phone sample had a lower proportion of people with degrees to begin with, and weighted it to the national figure.

There is a clear correlation between education and attitudes to the EU referendum (in the YouGov polls there was a Leave lead of about 30 points among people who left school at 16 and a Remain lead of 33 points among those who were in educated beyond the age of twenty. This is partially to do with age, but it remains true even within people of the same age) so samples are too educated or not educated enough it could easily make a difference. As it is we’ve only got education data for the Populus polling – we don’t know if there’s the same skew in other phone polls, or how much of a difference it would make if corrected, but different levels of education within achieved samples is a further hypothesis that could explain that ongoing difference between phone and telephone samples for the EU referendum.

291 Responses to “EU Polling Update – ComRes and turnout, YouGov and education”

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  1. So far, ‘Project Fear’ seems to have been the main thrust from both sides. However, I’d guess that the Remain campaign will start to move away from this in the run up to 23rd June by making the positive case for jobs and the economy. If, as the latest poll in the Telegraph suggests, the Leave side are losing Conservative voters, there are many ‘quiet’ Conservative voters who support Cameron mainly because he kept out Labour but who are usually drowned out by the Leave obsessives within the party.

  2. Colin

    I think that Jean-Claude Juncker is a true representative of the EU and all it stands for.

    I have always found in life that it is always best to stand up to this sort of bullying and to call their bluff.

  3. ALEC

    I agree.

    His use of the term “deserters” , together with his apparent power & threat to impose retribution, speaks to me of the supra-national mindset of the Commission.

    It wreaks of the “European Project” in which the Sovereign Nation State is an impediment , and not a member through choice & free will.

  4. TOH

    Yes-I think he is.

  5. “but just as we were l!ed to in the 1973 referendum regarding the future role of the EC,

    “A year or so back they initiated their first effort to initiate new criminal laws across the EU, with the ECJ confirming that they had this authourity to do so, and while the regulation itself was relatively innocous, it’s clear that the commission wishes to become more active in the legal and criminal law sphere, amongst other things.

    “If the EU, and specifically the commission, could be brought under greater democratic control, and if the 28 nations could agree to set established limits on the ambitions of the EU as a whole, then I would be more comfortable voting to remain.”
    @Alec May 24th, 2016 at 8:14 am

    Intersting points. However, how can someone l!e to you about the future? Who knew, in 1973, about Maastricht in 1992? More to the point, WE were there! We saw what those pesky Europeans were going to do and we didn’t stop it. We could have, but we didn’t.

    If there is only one thing that people understand about Europe, it should be this. Europe is where it is now because ALL of the member states said they were happy to get here. They ALL had a voice. They ALL said ‘I approve.’

    The Commission was set up deliberately to be outside local national control, precisely to make sure some things would work. It came out of the model for the Coal and Steel Community. It was in 1979 that the rules were changed (BY THE MEMBER STATES) to allow democratic oversite with a European Parliament. Now, the Commission proposes but it must be approved by the Parliament.

    And finally, on European democracy let me just say one more thing: House of Lords!

  6. AC:
    “The debate in the UK ain’t about cultural understanding”
    Translation: that sort of thing isn’t important to you.

    “I think you live in some sort of lala land”
    I think you’re rude.

  7. What was this 1973 referendum of which some of you speak?

    The only Euro referendum I know of was in 1975 (after we joined the EEC without a referendum in 1973). I was still too young to vote at the time, but I remember it well enough.

    There was a Northern Ireland only sovereignty referendum in 1973, are you referring to that?


    “If we leave the EU does autocorrect get fixed?”

    “No, we would need TTIP for that. Autocorrect is visited upon us by the Americans as a penance for not being entirely abject in front of their corporations.”


    Tis as I feared. They’ve been messin’ with our language for ages now. Eddie Izzard expressed it well I thought when he said in a gig across the pond, “You say ‘Aloominum’ and we say Aluminium; you say ‘erbs’, and we say ”herbs’, because there’s an effin’ “h” in it!!”

    And to think I buy Apple products as well. There’s no justice in this world…

  9. @ToH

    Yes, heartening performances by Jimmy and Johnny to lift the gloom of the first day of the test, and indeed much of the referendum.

    Will the EU matter be settled for a generation though, or will there be calls for another one a few months later, is one of many questions that don’t keep me awake at night…

  10. Carfrew

    “because there’s an effin’ “h” in it”

    Which is why whales is pronounced differently from Wales – though not in all parts of the UK.

  11. Re. JackNicklaus, I completely agree.
    I myself am a ‘Maggie Conservative’ who is sick and tired of the Leave obsessives within the Party. There are many more of us than people would think, as the polls are indeed beginning to show!

  12. @Oldnat

    Mighta known, lol. You can take it up with Izzard if you like…

  13. Carfrew

    Since Izzard lived in Port Talbot, I’m sure he’s well aware of the slurring (pun intended) in certain accents. :-)

  14. I’ve been reading the criticism of the “Leave” campaign by Lynton Crosby and can’t disagree with that. “Remain” seems happy to carry on a bombardment of claims, some plausible, some not so, thus keeping “Leave” busy refuting them and giving them no time to form a positive narrative. “Leave” just seems quite muted in comparison, especially in regard to shifting the narrative away from economic concerns.

  15. Posters are commenting about about Jean Claud Juncker has said about so-called deserters i.e. if Britain votes to leave.

    I have read his comments which were in French, in an interview with le Monde. He said that if Britain votes leave then things will not be the same between and other EU countries. Britain will not be stroked, like a pet cat anymore.

    He has a point. Apparently EU countries believe that the British government has to use Eurosceptic rhetoric for British domestic consumption, and that this rhetoric does not represent the British government point of view as a member of the EU. Therefore the other EU countries do not respond to the impolite manner of the British government. These countries say, that this is just for British domestic consumption.

    However, if Britain leaves the EU, then the other EU countries will show that they have no time for British “lip” or impertinence. That is what Juncker is saying.

  16. OLDNAT:

    I don’t know wear else pronounces the wh- correctly. Is it just Scotland?

    Scotland might have greater clarity in the pronounciation of wh- words, but it loses out somewot in the rich vein of “Watt / what” jokes.

    In Scotland, the 26th letter of the alphabet will never be “why not?”

  17. Carfrew

    Me neither, I think it will fall apart anyway.

    My team (Middlesex) doing well at the moment 197-0.

  18. Alec
    Your post of 8:14 am was right on the money. Sovereignty and accountability are what it’s all about.

    Claims by Remain such as that foreign holidays will cost £230 more if we leave are not only patronising and ridiculous, but completely irrelevant. No-one can predict what future economic conditions will be like (indeed Osborne seems unable to forecast 3 months ahead!) and certainly not to that accuracy. There’s bound to be some sort of short term turbulence in the economy if we leave, but then there usually is anyway. I don’t suppose it’ll be any worse than the 3-day week, miners’ strike in the 80s, crash of 2007 etc etc etc.

  19. Alun 009

    “I don’t know wear else pronounces the wh- correctly. Is it just Scotland?”

    No idea – though I doubt it. It’s something I only hear on UK broadcasting, and I doubt that represents everywhere.

    The Doric dialect of Scots avoids the “wh” factor completely, by replacing it with “f” – thus facilitating the “fit fit” and “furryboots” jokes. ;-)

  20. In Yorkshire ‘herbs’ are ‘erbs’ too….

  21. Matt Singh has been caught promoting himself on Wikipedia

    Will take Anthony’s analysis over his any day.

  22. Most older people were denied a University Education. Less than 10% had the opportunity. Everyone else had to learn while they worked. The result is higher actual knowledge and less pieces of paper. The persistent derision of those opting to vote LEAVE ignores this very pertinent fact. Those voting LEAVE are better informed and have a greater breadth of real experience than those opting for remain. Real education is about what you know and how you are able to use that knowledge. Pieces of paper bought from Diploma Mills have nothing to do with it.

  23. “The result is higher actual knowledge and less pieces of paper.”


    Yeah. I went there. That’s what happens when you claim your side is better.

    In other news, recent polls have now show the majority in favour of Remain now extending into the older population. Which means all those lovely good folk with real world experience *also* want to Remain.

    Sucks to be on the wrong side of history, doesn’t it?

  24. UK Supreme Court refuses ex-pats permission to appeal against legislation not allowing them to vote in EUref.

    Bloody Brit Courts!

    Ruling against folk who made their lives elsewhere in Europe!

  25. via Matt Singh

    ICM (#EURef online):

    REMAIN 45 (+2)
    LEAVE 45 (-2)

    20th-22nd May

  26. via Mike Smithson

    New ICM online poll has REMAIN and LEAVE level pegging on 45% each. Last week LEAVE was 4% ahead

    [I’m assuming it’s a new poll – gets hard to keep up!)

  27. OldNat

    I’m not sure where Matt Singh is getting his figures from, but ICM have actually done parallel polls again (Commentary availably from horrible new website here):

    Remain In the EU: Phone 47%; Online 43%

    Leave the EU: Phone 39%; Online 47%

    Don’t know: Phone 14%; Online 10%

    Quite a lot of interesting stuff about methodology there plus link to tables

  28. Oops ignore that those were the previous week’s (f/w 13-15 May) polls. For some reason the commentary doesn’t include the latest actual figures.

  29. Roger Mexico

    Thanks for detail & link. I’ll have to take the plunge and enter their impenetrable website!

  30. Alec: “I would argue the point about your assertion that you can’t have a free trade area without free movement though.”

    If I recall, the assertion was that you can’t have a single market without free movement.

    Probably the difference between a single market and a free trade area is not widely understood. Best example, perhaps, is the difference between the USA (single market) and NAFTA (free trade area of USA plus Mexico, Canada).

  31. This poll is just their usual weekly online one (it’s not actually commissioned by anyone, they just add EU and VI questions onto their normal commercial omnibus polls). As so often with these polls, looking at the tables:

    it’s the likelihood to vote filter applied (or not) that makes all the difference:

    All Respondents
    Remain 42%; Leave 40%; WNV 3%; DK 15%

    All registered to vote and voting in the EU Ref[1]:
    Remain 45%; Leave 43%; DK 12%

    All registered to vote and voting[1] in the EU Ref(EU Ref weighted):
    Remain 45%; Leave 45%; DK 10%

    All registered to vote and certain to vote[2] in the EU Ref(EU Ref weighted):
    Remain 42%; Leave 50%; DK 8%

    [1] ICM’s tables (p 5-6) say “certain to vote” but the actual figures suggest it is all who responded less unregistered and WNV

    [2] Saying they are 10/10 likely to vote – my calcs.

  32. Roger Mexico

    Link to new tables now at the bottom the page you linked to.

  33. @Somerjohn – yes, you’re quite correct, I think. I have been using ‘free trade area’ and ‘single market’ as interchangeable terms, which they probably aren’t, technically at least. It’s a useful intervention that helps clarify my thinking, so thankyou.

    I might still choose to argue that a single market doesn’t necessarily need to have free movement of people though – we’ve only defined it as such. Labour is a resource, as is land, housing, and the distribution of these things, and the consequent market value for them, is determined by price. We don’t say that a single market means Scotland needs to share out all it’s oil (oh no! – bad example – we do!) but you get my drift.

    My suspicion is that when most people understand what is meant by ‘single market’ they would probably prefer a free trade area instead.

  34. RogerMexico
    Your figures on certain to vote [2] are very interesting. It’s looking as though the Leave campaign will be dependent on differential turnout,

  35. @oldnat

    “Since Izzard lived in Port Talbot, I’m sure he’s well aware of the slurring (pun intended) in certain accents. :-)”


    Best to check, get on the safe side…

  36. ICM (#EURef online):

    REMAIN 45 (+2)
    LEAVE 45 (-2)


    As I understand it, this ‘movement’ is entirely due to the methodological change, and so ICM’s previous poll showing 43:47 would have been a tie too. This was the largest lead ICM had shown recently and followed a series of five narrow Leave leads of 1,2,3,1 and 2. Obviously these would also now need to be reassessed, as they would probably become Remain leads.

    The question is: who’s going to explain this to The Daily Express?

  37. Alec.

    It’s always nice to clarify things – and have that clarification graciously accepted.

    But I think it would be impossible to have a single market with internal controls on movement of people. For instance, once inside a single market, a lorry and its driver needs to be free to deliver its load without checks every time a legacy border is crossed. The USA would be pretty sclerotic if such controls were exercised by individual states; and it is in an attempt to gain the same economies of scale and free competition that the Single Market became a prime objective of the EU. Its most notable champion was of course one M Thatcher.


    “My team (Middlesex) doing well at the moment 197-0.”


    I checked on the Beeb and it said 139 for 0? Still, looks promising either way.

    Regarding EU falling apart, I dunno. There’s a lot of empire builders, corporate and political who are invested in seeing it prevail. And given a world down the line with big power blocs in the BRICs, individual nations used to having more power prolly gonna want to band together in the EU to keep some power.

    We’re seeing some of the individual nations keen to grow their population to offset any loss of power as well…

    (This is before you get to Finklestein’s article on how the trend is generally towards peeps banding together in bigger and bigger groupings, trading sovereignty for the fruits of collaboration…)

  39. Remain campaign broadcast a bit better than the dreadful Leave one – but still using crap figures taken out of context.

    (£4,300 per family was GDP estimate – not family income).

    Presumably both sides reckon that those genuinely interested have at least tried to find out things – so they are now trying to do something eye-catching for the lazy and ignorant.

  40. @Alec & @Sommerjohn

    Great to have such a reasonable and productive discussion.

    Yes, I would regard a ‘single market’ as being qualitatively different from a ‘free trade zone’.

    A ‘free trade zone’ simply implies an area in which tariffs on goods have been removed and – in principle – they may be bought and sold without hindrance. This can be extended to providing companies the right to trade in services across borders, bid for contracts on a level basis and, to some extent, even to the removal of ‘regulatory trade barriers’.

    ‘Regulatory trade barriers’ are the rules, regulations and conditions of trading in a certain country (health and safety, cultural compliance, social protection, custom and practice) that can be used to de facto prevent access to market, whilst appearing to operate a free trade policy. There are certain large countries in the Far East which are grand masters in the application of such strictures.

    Some ‘free trade zones’ attempt to minimise these – TTIP and TPP are examples – but they do so in a rather limited way. In part this is because of the large differentials in regulation between parties to free trade agreements – and the much noted controversy in brining regulation into line.

    Generally speaking it is much easier to deliver ‘free trade’ on goods than it is on services because of such ‘regulatory barriers’, the dismantling of which relating to services requires a much greater level of economic and social harmonisation than has ever been achieved through any trade deal to date.

    So far only the European Single Market has ever come close to achieving this degree of harmonisation – and the reams of often mocked directives and regulations that underpin it are a testament to the complexity involved. This has required a degree of political oversight, buy in, social consent and cooperation that characterises a ‘Single Market’ but is not a facet of a ‘free trade zone’ such as NAFTA or ASEAN.

    There is another vital element, so far we have spoken of markets in terms of producers, vendors and capital and the requirement for these to be free moving.

    In a true market, purchasers, clients and labour have an equal degree of geographical freedom. If they did not an asymmetry would be created.

    If goods can move freely and the place of their production be relocated easily within a free market, then to limit the right of consumers to move to pursue the best deal or labour to follow the location of production and employment opportunities would be to disadvantage these players in the market. As such it would cease to be a single market such as the USA (apples crossing state lines excepted) and the UK and simply return to being a ‘free trade zone’.

    The advantages of a single market are clear to see in the USA, which continues to be the world’s largest economy and has an enviable value added element to its economy. However, as both the USA and the UK demonstrate single markets can be harsh entities – Detroit and Liverpool have been (to an extent) ‘hollowed out’ as a result of the processes of free movement of means of production, capital, vendors and ultimately labour. However within a single market at least labour has the opportunity to seek another, more successful area in which to find employment – California, South East England (Germany for British builders in the 80s). Under free trade, the factories can depart, but labour has no right to follow or seek work elsewhere.

    In this context the European Single Market is working as it was envisaged. Allowing labour to move to follow employment and opportunity. That it is moving in our direction is a consequence of the current economic climate – in the 1980s the traffic was in the opposite lane. This does not minimise the impact on those affected, of course.

    Your point on currencies is well made – indeed I think I acknowledged that many would argue that a single currency is a pre-requisite for a single market. It should be remembered that as far back as the time of Roy Jenkins’ presidency of the EC the view was that economic and monetary union would and should move together hand in hand.

    None of the above is by way of support or otherwise of a ‘free trade zone’ vs a ‘single market’ simply to clarify that they are definitely quite different in design and operation.

    We could reflect that Britain left the ‘European Free Trade Area’ when it joined the ‘European Community’ or ‘Common Market’ in 1973 and affirmed its membership in 1975. The clues were perhaps in the names.

  41. Assiduosity:

    Thanks for this expert and lucid exposition. Shame more won’t see it as the thread has been superseded.

    UKPR is at its best when a genuine interechange of information occurs; at its worst when rancorous point-scoring takes over (all too frequently).

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