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. Candy

    EU migrants are no more (or no less!) ‘economic refugees’ than was my brother when he had to leave Merseyside in 1984 and move to London in search of work. Are you advocating that we stop all economic migration of any sort? And will that apply equally to those UK citizens who continue to migrate to, for example, Australia, in search of work?

    Australia, of course, has a points system. But so, too, does the EU as a whole. So it’s the same. Free migration within the EU is the same as free migration within any other economic and political set up, USA included, for example.

    By all means change the benefits system so that no-one (UK citizens included) can claim anything (other than on medical grounds) unless they have already paid into the NI pot. But make it the same for everybody, not just for non UK EU citizens.

    A free market in goods can only work if there is also a free market in labour. And that means that migration is a given and is good for the economy, as well as for those who migrate. Otherwise, of course, we could always adopt Communist party style ‘five year plans’ and control everything. I doubt you’d want that!

  2. @JohnB

    Regardless of who is to blame for the Greek and Portuguese (and Italian and Finnish and Dutch) crisis – there is one group that is blameless: Brits. Britain didn’t cause the eurozone crisis but we are dealing with the consequences.

    Last weeks job figures showed record numbers in work, but there isn’t any wage pressure – which indicates that workers don’t have much pricing power (the wage increase they got was via Osborne hiking the minimum wage).

    What lots of you are missing is that voters don’t care about “who is to blame” for the eastern europeans joining the EU or the eurozone crisis.

    What they are focused on is “Here is a problem, how can I fix it”. They can’t vote to make the eurozone govts more effective so that unemployment in the eurozone comes down, they can’t vote to reduce austerity in the eurozone, they can’t vote to reverse the accession of the eastern europeans into the EU. They have just one bazooka in their arsenal: voting to Leave the EU. It’s like a bad neighbour problem – can you force your neighbours to behave or is it simpler and more effective to just move away.

  3. Leave the EU and lose £4,000+ plus a year for a family and lose lots of jobs for children and grandchildren… Hip pocket nerve is the normal winner in elections, the quitters who belive in project Economic Fantasy (or leave the EU if you prtefer) just can’t answer the economic argument…

  4. @ CHRISLANE1945

    Excellent comment. One of the brightest people I know is a hairdresser without an O-level to her name. It is silly to dismiss people as ‘uneducated’ because they don’t have a degree.

  5. @Jack,

    The way I present the EU debate to people who haven’t really followed politics (like my stepchildren) is something like this.

    If the government were going to build 1m new homes on Dartmoor, and they said this could be avoided if everyone in the country gave up £4k a year, which would you choose?

    Not remotely factually accurate, of course, but it captures my dilemma. I don’t really want to leave the EU, I think it will bad for the economic health of me and my family, but I really, really don’t want my country to submerge under a continuing abrupt and uncontrolled rise in population and will grasp at pretty much any straw in the hope of avoiding it.

    My vote is basically for sale to whoever can convince me that either leaving the EU won’t hurt our economy, or that something can be done about net migration if we stay.

  6. JAMES E

    I have to say that was the sort of reply I expected from you. Actually it is factually incorrect. Whilst I have said a number of times that over the last few months that I am going to vote “out”, I don’t repeat it day after day as you posted, indeed i have not been posting very much recently as the real regulars will confirm, as I am much too busy with my allotments.

    What you don’t like is the point I made in my original post. Fair enough, you have the same right to your opinion as I do.

  7. Immigration is not uncontrolled and we are not being submerged.
    Your explanation to the kiddies is based on Malthusian alarmist cobblers.

  8. @Jack

    Leave the EU and lose £4,000+ plus a year for a family and lose lots of jobs for children and grandchildren

    Would that be the 100% guaranteed, totally accurate, copper-bottomed 15 year forecast by an organisiation that has so far failed to forecast twelve months hence with any accuracy?

    I don’t believe Remain or Leave can predict the future very much. The best bet is follow your political instinct.

  9. John B
    “A free market in goods can only work if there is also a free market in labour. ”

    Why? Have you any evidence for that?

  10. Britain has been trading very successfully since the Bronze Age – that is what ‘Out’ looks like! Compared to the last 40 years, I’ll take the track record of 3,500 years anytime.

  11. @ Candy

    I agree with much of what you say

    you did miss two very important professions who are both if not entirely then almost entirely immune from price completion from immigrant labour. The media (due to language) and politics, How many overseas born and educated MP’s do we have?- I wonder how many MP’s would argue for remain if next year 200 Polish MP’s were going to be parachuted in and randomly allocated to 1 in 3 constituencies? These overseas workers would be paid a 20% premium to what they could earn back in Poland. But no expenses and absolutely no gold plated final salary pension scheme!

  12. @ John B

    there is no free movement of labour in the North American Free Trade Agreement

  13. Jack:

    “Leave the EU and lose £4,000+ plus a year for a family and lose lots of jobs for children and grandchildren… Hip pocket nerve is the normal winner in elections, the quitters who believe in project Economic Fantasy (or leave the EU if you prefer) just can’t answer the economic argument…”

    I am an outer who is sanguine at the forthcoming defeat.

    The UK’s economy is heading for disaster. We borrow too much, and that borrowing pays for the expanded population, not vice versa. Most of the EU is facing economic disaster, so it is hard to see the EU as a source of long term prosperity.

    The predictions of short term problems on leave the EU are true enough. The long term predictions are silly. And as for our grandchildren – we do not know if the EU will even exist, or if it will be a federation, or if it will allow membership outside the Euro. Just unknowable.

    The collapse will come and we will be in the EU. In the last collapse, as it was general, the EU did not interfere greatly with national responses. We might collapse out of sync, and not be so lucky.

  14. @ The Other Howard

    “UK Polling Report has a policy of encouraging only NON-PARTISAN comments.”

    That is the first sentence of this site’s comments Policy.

    My comments in relation to the EU referendum have been almost entirely related to the ongoing Online V Phone polls dichotomy and movements in the polls, and the betting markets. In contrast, you repeatedly use this forum for to tell us the same thing: you’re going to vote “leave”.

    Can I ask you to actually re-read the Comments Policy, and then consider which of us has entirely got the wrong end of the stick about what UKPR is supposed to be.

  15. Neil A

    ” I really, really don’t want my country to submerge under a continuing abrupt and uncontrolled rise in population”

    I’m assuming that you don’t mean to suggest that the weight of more people (unless they are all incredibly obese) means that “your country” will actually “submerge” at a faster rate than is already happening.

    Equally, I’m assuming that your statement made sense to you, but I have problems with understanding your point – even while trying to ignore motive terminology like “submerge”.

    If “your country” is the UK, or even England, then there are component parts which would benefit from having more people contributing to a more vibrant economy.

    On the other hand if, by “your country”, you mean the most populous and economically strong bits, then I could understand why you might fear that services might be overwhelmed by a combination of a rapidly increasing population, and a failure by government to provide the necessary infrastructure.

    In such a case, how is the situation made worse if those incoming migrants are from outwith the UK/England, or from within it? They are still people who require services and pay the taxes to cover those costs.

    I also assume that you aren’t referring to cultural “submergence”. A massive influx of Australians might, indeed, change the cultural norms of where you live, but a vast extension of barbies as dining facilities wouldn’t be all bad.

  16. And on the subject of Opinion Polls*, Opinium (Online) show a 44:40 Remain lead in the most recent to be published. Fieldwork was from 17-19 May. Their last two polls showed a 1 point Remain lead and a 3 point leave lead, so this tends to support the suggestion that Remain has strengthened over recent days.

    (* as opposed to members of the ‘elite’ predicting ‘bloodbaths’)

  17. James E

    Plenty of people here have declared for in or out, either directly or implicitly through the argument they put forward, so why pick on TOH? If you don’t like his posts, don’t read them. As he says, he is posting very rarely at the present anyway, so your principle accusation is nonsense.

    Supporters of all parties and none, support both out and in. I fail where your accusation of partisanship comes from.

  18. @ Robert Newark

    He’d said as much, and in graphic terms ( ‘bloodshed’), only yesterday.

  19. JACK, I generally try to avoid going off-topic, i.e. polling, or at least try to avoid being seen as in any way partisan. I shall therefore simply try to emulate Socrates by asking a question or two regarding the ‘economic argument’:

    I’m told the UK trade deficit with EU countries is £67.8 billion a year and rising, while Germany has a £81.8 billion trade surplus with the 27 other member states. Does this perhaps make it clear that the EU single market is not working for us?

    On the other hand, the UK’s trade surplus with the rest of the world, in relation to the same goods and services on which we make such a monumental loss with the other 27 EU member states, was £31.1 billion last year, and it is growing. Indeed, the economies of every continent, except for those of Antarctica and Europe, have grown over the past decade.

    Does it, or does it not, now appear obvious that we have a brighter future if we leave the EU and join the world?

    Pass me the Hemlock…

  20. Partridge

    Your commendable practice of remaining on topic is somewhat tarnished by indulging in rather ludicrous phrased binary options –

    “leave the EU and join the world?”

  21. @John B – “So, in conclusion, the Greek crisis was caused by the Greeks, not by anyone else (other than the American mortgage lenders, of course, who caused the crash in 2006/7)”

    Hmmm. So lenders are responsible for the ensuing mess if debts cannot be repaid, unless they lend to the Greeks?

  22. The Opinium poll is also noteworthy for showing a 48:41 lead among Tories.

    This ends to support what other polls ( mostly Phone polls) have been telling us for the past week.

  23. # tends to support

  24. @John B – “A free market in goods can only work if there is also a free market in labour.”

    That’s a bit of a nonsense too. Free trade of goods without free movement of labour would be fine. It’s just that labour costs would increase or decrease according to whether or not an area was successful at exporting.

    In many ways, free movement of labour actually harms economies, in the sense that it makes it harder for workers to secure a reasonable share of output. This is because it allows wages to be driven down to the lowest level, which is why big businesses like it so much.

    Indeed, in the EU context, it might be fairer to suggest that if we are to have free movement of labour then we should have EU wide negotiated pay rates.

    An unrelated observation;

    – The Telegraph has got hold of a UK government document detailing how the slowness of EU free trade negotiations with other trading blocks is costing the UK £2.5B pa. The internal assessment states that efforts by the French and 13 other EU states are delaying free trade agreements in order to protect their farmers.

    Under the EU rules, member states cannot negotiate their own external free trade deals. Remainers must accept that this is an example of the EU harming UK prospects. Why the EU has secured the sole competence in negotiating such deals I don’t know, but it isn’t helpful.

  25. OLDNAT:
    “Your commendable practice of remaining on topic is somewhat tarnished by indulging in rather ludicrous phrased binary options – “leave the EU and join the world?”

    It was intended to provoke a response, though I did expect something a little less frivolous. That said, I do regard most things in life as ludicrous. It’s a philosophy that has served me well.. :)

  26. Alec: “Why the EU has secured the sole competence in negotiating such deals I don’t know, but it isn’t helpful.”

    Imagine the consequences if each member could negotiate its own free trade deals. Luxembourg, for instance, might agree free trade with China. In pour unrestricted Chinese imports, which can then be freely sold on to every corner of the EU.

    On an unrelated point, I’m currently in New York and astonished by how much higher food prices are here. For example, both a small jar of local marmalade and 8 oz of butter were $3.99, or at least twice the UK price. Whatever else the EU is or isn’t doing for us, it seems to be delivering good quality food at reasonable prices.

  27. Partridge

    Agreed. Many things in life are ludicrous. Fortunately, YG continues to pay me for wholly ignoring their more ludicrous questions like ” Which of these firms would you be EMBARASSED to work for”

    That they continue to ask such nonsense questions suggests that sufficient YG panellists consider these as sensible questions.

    Whether that observation suggests that the YG panel is uniquely foolish, or whether the general population is equally infected, may determine the reliability of online polling. :-)

  28. Somerjohn

    I’d warn against making any judgments on living costs in any other country compared with the UK, on the basis of the current exchange rate, average earnings etc etc etc.

    For that matter, assuming that prices in East Side Midtown Manhattan (or wherever you are buying marmalade) are anything like prices for preserves in Lexington, NC would suggest an important misunderstanding of international economies! :-)

  29. reading through the 74 comments, I’m really glad that I’m not allowed to vote (a bit strange, considering that the recent school leavers have the right, but anyway), because I wouldn’t know where to put the X.

    I would vote Leave, because I don’t think any decent person could be in the same club as the rulers of Hungary, Slovakia and Poland. But then these are the friends of both the leaver and remainder Tories (and taking Slovakia – the friends of Labour).

    I would vote remain, so that the pick and mix (arbitrarily chosen arguments – I initially was tempted to show their fallacies) could actually face the question instead of hiding behind ad-hoc points.

    I would vote remain, because I don’t want to see Johnson as PM and Gove as Chancellor.

    I would vote leave, because of the flawed argument of Labour of the EÜ protecting workers’ rights (I don’t want to go back to the miners’ strike, but there was a Vaxholm dispute …). They are really deluded …

    On this basis … Remain will win, and the polls really show the centre of the argument: it is not the campaign of fear, it is a genuine fear, and there is nothing in the polls (apart from immigration) that are strong enough to take away the status quo.

  30. Oldnat “East Side Midtown Manhattan”

    Phew, that’s a bit scary. E 20th St actually. Do you work for the CIA in your spare time?

    Take your point about exchange rates and small city centre shops – it was a local deli – but I’d seen the stats about comparative food prices in the EU, USA and Australia and been pleased that the EU came out cheapest, but a bit surprised and cynical. The pricey marmalade came as confirmation.

    I only looked at the price tags over breakfast, having picked up some basics and been surprised by the $25 total.

    Actually, thanks in part to the exchange rate, most things seem pretty expensive here. But watching the cup final in a US bar packed with extremely vocal MUFC supporters was free (apart from a few drinks) and quite an experience.

  31. On food prices.

    1) the prices of food are determined by the metropolitans centres (which puts up the prices)
    2) third country food stuff can only be sold if it is price competitive (but they are subject to various surcharges which are then used to subsidise EÜ food export).

    EU distributors and supermarket chains figured it out that the two rules (unless there is a united front of suppliers) allow them to reduce the prices to third country import prices plus margin (while most supermarkets consider nationwide profitability, Aldi and Lidle calculate it EU-wide). Effectively it means that the UK food imports covers only the cost of produce and transportation for the exporters.

  32. As I have said before, my concern is the lack of focus on what sort of EU, we are being asked to Remain in. Laszlo makes extremely pertinent points about the governments of Hungary, Slovakia, Poland, and now it seems also the new President of Austria.

    However, Italy looks closer and closer to a tipping point. Ambrose Evans-Pritchard writes ‘Italy must choose between the euro and its own economic survival’:

    Youth jobless rate is 65pc in Calabria, 56pc in Sicily, and 53pc in Campania, despite an exodus of 100,000 a year from the Mezzogiorno….

    ‘Mr Renzi may ultimately face an ugly choice. Either he tells the EU authorities to go to Hell, or he stands by helpless as the Italian banking sytem implodes and the country spins into sovereign insolvency.

    Italy is not Greece. It cannot be crushed into submission. Besides, the ‘poteri forti’ of Italian industry whisper in your ear these days that ejection from the euro might not be so awful after all.

    In fact it might be the only way to avert a catastrophic deindustrialization of their country before it is too late.

    The latest Ipsos MORI survey shows that 48pc of Italians would vote to leave the EU as well as the euro if given a chance.

  33. Well I am a Tory through and through and even voted for Maggie in my first election as an adult in 1987.

    I am 1000% for remaining IN and the overwhelming majority of Tories (all Party members) that I know are also for In too.

    Make of that what you will.

  34. @Mark W,

    What controls are there on immigration from the EU? Have I missed something?


    Let’s not turn everything back round into a “Scotland’s not your country” discussion again. I’m sure there’ll be a Saltire thread along any minute for that.

    By submerge, I am referring to a combination of the pressure on housing, roads, jobs and services, and the loss of green spaces required to relieve that pressure.

    I am quite sure the sight of English farmland or woodland disappearing under housing estates and roads doesn’t bother you in the slightest. You may even get a positive kick out of it. But it tears my heart to pieces. And no, Mark W, it’s not a myth or an invention. Every Devon town I can think of has a new estate on the outskirts, and politicians of all stripes are pushing to quicken the rate of construction.

  35. Somerjohn

    “Do you work for the CIA in your spare time?”

    CIA? – wouldn’t give them the time of day. NSA send info on suspicious characters direct to our own security service. Mind you, they were a bit reticent on that attractive young lady with you in the bar – possibly a Russian sleeper? :-)

    [Actually, not that hard to work out. Prices seemed a bit higher than around E 75th St where I normally shop, so had to be a bit nearer downtown.]

  36. Neil A

    What an odd response!

    However, thanks for your clarification that by “my country” you actually mean those bits that might be affected by “housing, roads, jobs and services, and the loss of green spaces required to relieve that pressure” – that was one of the options that I gave you.

    Haven’t you noticed that expansion of population in and around London has produced precisely that effect over many years?

    Much of that concentration of population has been due to internal migration from other parts of the UK (in which, inevitably, these factors have gone in the other direction)

    So you may care to address the question I asked you “How is the situation made worse if those incoming migrants are from outwith the UK/England, or from within it?”

  37. Neil A: “Every Devon town I can think of has a new estate on the outskirts,”

    There’s nothing new about that. When I grew up in a small town 15 miles from Plymouth the population was under 7,000. Now, 50 years on, I believe it’s over 10,000. Lots of new estates of detached houses were being built on greenfield sites in the 1950s. But even now there are very few nationals of other EU states in the town. That 50% growth in the town’s population has overwhelmingly come from incomers from elsewhere in the UK, which rather supports Oldnat’s point.

  38. Somerjohn @Neil A

    Though it’s also true that every town in Scotland, that I know of, also “has a new estate on the outskirts” – even when the census data suggests no particular increase in population in that area.

    It, therefore, becomes possible that Neil A is adding 2+2 and getting 22!

    It’s unimaginable that he would do that professionally, so one has to wonder how his evaluation of evidence alters between his professional and personal persona.

  39. “It, therefore, becomes possible that Neil A is adding 2+2 and getting 22!”

    Well, I think it’s certainly true that population pressure on housing in Britain is a lot more complex than just the effect of international immigration. For a start, there’s the decrease in average household size, meaning more houses are needed for the same population. Then there’s internal migration, both from areas of low to high employment, and for retirement (which is where a lot of the pressure on Devon towns comes from). And, of course, the increase in second homes.

    Neil A will correct me if I’m wrong, but isn’t he himself an example of internal migration into Plymouth?

  40. James E

    You will note that Robert Newark confirmed exactly the point I made to you. You were factually incorrect.

    As to your other comment I cannot be bothered to reply to you, as Robert says if you don’t like my posts don’t read them. I shall continue to post my views when i have the time. AW is the arbitrator of what can and cannot be said not you.

    Robert Newark

    Many thanks for your support, I take very little notice of these minor irritations which we get from time to time.

  41. JOSEPH1832

    Thank you for that post.

    Perched, as I am, on the fence NeilA occupies, your post provided a small clearing in the fog created by the champions on each side of this proposition, who continue to betray the UK public, and destroy the very idea of informative debate.

  42. Robert Newark

    Looking at the latest polls it looks as though our forecast of a 10-12% margin for an “in” referendum result is even more likely. As predicted all the scaremongering is having it’s effect on the gullible electorate.

  43. @”It’s unimaginable that he would do that professionally, so one has to wonder how his evaluation of evidence alters between his professional and personal persona.”

    In the catalogue of OLDNAT archetype posting, this remark stands as a paradigm, combining, as it does, the non sequitur which leads to a personal insult , addressed through a third party.

  44. Colin

    I agree a reasoned debate is not happening, so we are all left to form our own opinions without as much information as we would like. In some ways this is inevitable since it is impossible to say for sure what it would be like to be “out” until we are “out”. Those who want “out” clearly believe it could not be worse than staying “in”, and probably a lot better. To me it comes down to a simple question – are we better off standing on our own two feet, or will we best survive as a smallish part of a European superstate?

  45. Colin

    I meant to say ” economically (the Euro) and socially (uncontrolled immigration) unstable superstate.

  46. A good part of the above correspondence regarding increasing housing demands neglects the fact that single person and two person households, increased divorce rates and later marriages are all contributing to the demand for new housing; and all that, long before we start to talk about the effect immigration might be having.

  47. Though there are no doubt other factors at play, no-one can pretend that hundreds of thousands of immigrants every year has no effect on the pressures on infrastructure.

  48. TOH

    I agree.

    My instinct too is to quit this organisation for many reasons which can, I suppose, be labelled “self Determination”.
    But the Economy & effects upon it are so fundamental to everyone , that this most vital element ( and the one on which so much uncertainty , and shameless misinformation centres) weighs heavily with me.

    I’m just trying to raise my focus a little to find “bigger pictures”. And so Joseph’s post-which I interpreted as ” the global economy is not in good shape-so will we really be any worse for being out?” was a sort of help in that respect.

    But I can’t escape the feeling that the effects of mass migration are what will overide everything in the decades ahead-social, cultural AND economic. One only has to follow political events in Austria to see where this might drag the much vaunted European Project.

    What do these portents say about the best vote for a UK citizen on
    23 June?

  49. I hadn’t realised until watching Marr this morning that there is a clip featuring Boris Johnson extolling the virtues of Turkey’s membership of the EU currently going viral on You Tube. I don’t know how long ago this was, but it’s utterly hilarious, not only because it’s another display of Johnson’s ludicrous smug pseudo-intellectualism, but also because it lays bare the utter falseness and insincerity of the man.

    Notwithstanding Parris’s devastating assessment of Johnson, all the more credible for it coming from a fierce Tory loyalist sitting inside the tent, why on earth is anyone continuing to take this increasingly preposterous public figure remotely seriously? The more he has to argue issues with any degree of seriousness and depth, and the less he is able to rely on his act of doing politics for people who don’t do politics, the more ridiculous and faintly pitiable he appears.

    If Johnson can’t even take himself seriously, why should we?

  50. I think @Neil A has been treated to the typical response when anyone mentions anything negaitive about immigration.

    Yes, there are many issues around housing, changing social make up of towns and citites and new development in and around existing urban areas – I read nowehere that @Neil A said there was a single issue behind all of this.

    There are also some simple truths as well though;

    England is currently the second most densely populated country in Europe, a fraction behind the Netherlands. On current projections, England will replace them as the most densely populated country within the next 2 – 3 years.

    If you exclude just one part of sparsely populated northern England, such as Northumberland or the North Pennines, what’s left competes to be the most densely populated country in the world.

    Taking the south of England as a unit in its own right, from say Birmingham southwards, you are talking about extremely dense population spreads across a significant area, in global terms. People in Scotland, even within the central belt, will struggle to grasp this, as unless you spend a good deal of time living in the south of England, you almost certainly can’t fully appreciate the level of population density or the speed of growth.

    In the year to September 2015 net migration was 323,000. Indirectly migration is adding a lot more, as birth rates among migrants is higher than the host population.

    In migration is disproportionately skewed to southern England.

    This level of migration means that we need to find a new city the size of Coventry every year. To help Scottish posters appreciate this, it’s the equivalent of having to house a new North Lanarkshire, each and every year. In a country that is already the most densely populated in Europe.

    In 2007 the CPRE mapped ‘tranquility’ in England for the first time, which showed that while only a small percentage of the land was actually developed, visual, noise and light impacts meant that the actual unspoilt area was greatly restricted, and being lost at an alarming rate. Since 2007, this loss has accelerated.

    So while people may baulk at @Neil A’s use of the term ‘submerged’, and rightly point out that migration is technically adding to the size of the economy overall, you should always pause before responding to consider where in the UK would you like this year’s Coventry or North Lanarkshire to be built – next door to @Neil A, next door to someone else, or perhaps next door to you?

    Migration is not simply about whether there is technically sufficient space to fit peolpe, or whether the economy grows or not. It is about a choice of whether we accept some benefits and some negatives, or of whether we actually want to benefits in the first place. To argue that we don’t, doesn’t make us neanderthals.

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