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. @Laszlo

    I’m a little confused.

    Are you saying that it is a necessary trait of the working classes, the old and those in rural areas that they will swing to the right and be opposed to immigration?

  2. @Alec

    “A single market doesn’t require the free movement of people. This is why we are negotiating WTO based global trade rules, without feeling the need to include in these settlements agreements to remove or reduce barriers to immigration.”

    A single market does require free movement of people.

    There are no current WTO negotiations that would move the world – or even parts of it – to a ‘single market’. TTP and TPP, NAFTA and ASEAN are not even close to being – or becoming – single markets.

    The EU itself has not yet arrived at a single market – there are elements of the service sector for example that are still working their way through the Commission.

    The USA is a single market. It could be argued (and argued against) that a single currency or at least an exchange rate mechanism is a precursor to such a market.

    I make no judgements as to whether these are desirable, I’m just pointing out that in comparing WTO agreements with the EU you compare apples with pears.

  3. WordPress have updated their software so hopefully that bug that stopped comments appearing has been solved, hence I’ve switched back to showing the last page of comments as default. Let’s hope it works!

  4. @RAF

    “Before we look at immigration as the source of housing pressures in UK cities, we need to first look at how these problems first arose.”


    Long before accession and immigration housing experts and land economists have been warning successive governments of different political persuasions that the UK housing stock was not fit for future need.

    Too little of the wrong type and largely in the wrong place.

    However, it suits house price inflation to keep it that way.

  5. If only we hadn’t sold off all those houses and shipped them abroad…

    I’ve switched back to showing the last page of comments as default. Let’s hope it works!

    Thanks, Anthony, it does. I did have to refresh the site home page in Chrome for it to work, but that should be a one-off.

  7. @ Lazslo

    ‘ORF interprets the working class vote for the fascists as protest votes rather than agreement with them’

    A protest vote is the explanation given by lots of Ukip voters (in my anecdotal experience). The sort of things that I’ve heard are:

    ‘These politicians are all the same, I think I’ll give Ukip a chance.. they can’t be any worse.’

    ‘These politicians have made a mess again and expect us to bail them out .. again.’

    ‘They’re like children with all their squabbling. At least, Nigel Farage seems like an ordinary bloke.’

    ‘I’m sick to death of them. I’m going to vote Ukip.’

    Interestingly, Ukip aren’t really considered to be politicians.

  8. @NeilA

    “If only we hadn’t sold off all those houses and shipped them abroad…”

    Or rather… if only we hadn’t moved around so much within the UK, and lived longer, and got divorced more all meaning that we needed more homes for more households in different parts of the country to where the existing homes were.

  9. Assiduosity

    “The USA is a single market”

    Not completely, as you would find out if you tried to get through the checkpoints between Oregon and California with some apples! :-)

  10. New Poll being reported in the Daily Telegraph with a 13 point Remain lead, 55 % to 42%.

    Headline – ‘Older voters turn backs on Brexit’.

  11. James that’s right and thats based upon definite voters. The lead is a whopping 20% amongst all voters.
    Even though I am pro EU it’s a barely deserved lead as the rhetoric from Cameron and Osborne is flawed and exaggerated

  12. “if we assume a state would prefer to allow entry to the best and brightest”
    No. Why should we? Perhaps we should be aiming for an immigration system that most benefits the country. Not only have I described how free movement is, in the belief of some, an integral part of a peace project, but I would also state that the UK economy needs immigrants who aren’t necessarily the best or the brightest. In fact, our strong economy and relatively high living standards (not the highest, but globally speaking) mean we will always be able to attract whom we need. But employers have trouble filling jobs in certain sectors where there are shortages of unskilled labour. Putting a points-based system in the way will hurt some industries whilst leaving other unmolested. Be prepared for unintended consequences if this comes to pass.

    “There are many, many things about the EU that it’s supporters do not know or understand.”
    Ha, the same could be said for supporters of any political party, unionists, separatists, opponents of the EU, and even some married couples :)
    If the last few weeks have taught us anything, it’s that even the pros have trouble understanding how things work. For example, the attempts to spread the idea the UK doesn’t have a veto on Turkey joining the EU. When challenged on this falseness of this, the range of responses have been interesting. Some, you can tell, are trying to perform gymnastics in leaving the implication in tact whilst not lying. Some are happy to just flat-out lie. But others seem genuinely unable to grasp that what they are saying is factually wrong.

    So no, like almost everyone in the whole world, I don’t know everything about the EU. I am comfortable enough with my level of knowledge to make in informed choice though. :)

  13. Assiduosity
    ‘“Could it be because they have been taught to believe that discomfort with mass immigration into this country is somehow racist?”
    Possibly. Though those same ‘lessons’ have been offered to all. Are you suggesting the working classes are too stupid to have learnt them?’

    Perhaps the working classes can see through them?

  14. @ Old Nat and Mikey

    Thanks for that.

    As AW has observed, people are not the best judges of their own likelihood to vote, so this should probably be taken as a 20-point lead.

    Perhaps most interestingly, its the 3rd or 4th in a row (and from different pollsters) to show significant movement to Remain.

  15. @Alun009 – ““if we assume a state would prefer to allow entry to the best and brightest”
    No. Why should we? Perhaps we should be aiming for an immigration system that most benefits the country.”

    That’s what I said. You are placing your own definition onto my expression of ‘best and brightest’.

    I never specified what they should be ‘best’ at – it could be best at plucking hens, digging ditches, or picking strawberries.

  16. Good evening all from rural Hampshire.

    So the older voter is for Brexit and the younger voter for remain according to a poll on the BBC news.

    As a younger voter myself I buck that trend and will be putting a X next to leave. My Granny says David Cameron is loopy and is getting more hysterical by the day and even my Grandpa who has always been pro EU is now considering voting Brexit because of the loopiness by David Cameron.

    I mean he visits B&Q and says a vote to leave will lead to our DIY recession….The guy is bonkers.

  17. ALEC:
    “You are placing your own definition onto my expression of ‘best and brightest'”

    I’m not. That’s just one reason for immigration. The other is that it helps maintain peace between nations. Migration brings understanding and cultural diversification within a country. Ultimately it’s about seeing each other as humans, not categories. We are getting there, albeit slowly.

  18. ALUN

    ” The other is that it helps maintain peace between nations. Migration brings understanding and cultural diversification within a country. Ultimately it’s about seeing each other as humans, not categories. We are getting there, albeit slowly”

    I’m confused? “The other is that it helps maintain peace between nations” Millions of Syrians have gone into Turkey yet both countries are poles apart. The EU is at odds with itself over migration, Turkey is killing ethnic Kurds and Kurdish freedom fighters are blowing up people across Turkey so where is this cultural understanding?

    The debate in the UK ain’t about cultural understanding, we don’t need educated on other peoples culture and the debate is about numbers. I don’t know anyone who want’s to shut up shop and stop all migrants from coming into the UK but a lot of people do want some sort of control over the numbers.

    Alun I think you live in some sort of lala land made out of cotton wool detached from reality.

  19. Another month to go and then it’s all over….

    While I know how I will vote, I am despairing at the dire quality of the debate from both main camps. The sheer rubbish and hyperbole, the terrible performances of the lead protagonists….

    I wish I could vote against Leave and Remain at the same time.

  20. A surprising oddity from the cross-breaks in today’s polls:

    ICM for The Scotsman shows SNP supporters giving Remain a 13 point lead – dividing as 51% remain to 38% leave.

    Meanwhile ORB for the Daily Telegraph shows Conservatives giving a 17 point Remain lead – by 57% to 40%.

    So if they’re both right, then SNP supporters are now more likely to favour Brexit than Tories!

  21. @alan Christie If David Cameron really implied WW111 would break out with a Brexit he was clearly loopy. He may have argued that things would be less safe in a variety of ways. This is much more plausible, particularly as we have a war in Ukraine as it is. But I have no doubt that he and George Osborne will have said some loopy things.

    Assuming this for the sake of argument, I am not sure that their loopiness is a valid reason for voting against them if only because of the loopiness on the other side. I have just seen a leave broadcast that seemed to tell me that unless there was a Brexit Turkey and about four other states would join the EU without our having any power to prevent this, the NHS would collapse, and we would give 350 million a week to EU without getting any of it back. Two of these assertions seem to me false while the NHS seems to me more likely to be threatened by the withdrawal of EU medical staff than it is to be overwhelmed by migrants who come here to work and don’t get sick that often.

    I actually thought that the broadcast was persuasive and slick. But it was pretty sickening to think that things are going to be decided on the basis of a debate which is being cynically conducted on both sides.

  22. CMJ


  23. @James E

    I very much doubt Remain is leading by 15%+ at the moment. What is becoming clear though is that Leave is not establishing the persistent leads it would need at this stage in order to overcome the status quo. In fact the reverse is happening.

    Leave always had a difficult problem. How do you imagine a future that does not yet exist?


    “Another month to go and then it’s all over….”


    yes and it’s a shame innit becoz it looks as though we might do quite well against Sri Lanka…

  25. James E

    Comparing crossbreaks from different polls is generally considered not to be good practice – especially when they cover different polities.. :-)

  26. Allan Christie
    “As a younger voter myself I buck that trend and will be putting a X next to leave. ”

    Good for you. Think for yourself, don’t follow the herd.

    “I wish I could vote against Leave and Remain at the same time.”

    You could always spoil your paper by writing on it ‘both campaigns are rubbish’ or similar. I have been known to do that in the past.

  27. @ RAF

    Yes, clearly there is much other evidence which suggests a lower Remain lead : more like 7 or 8 points on average and taking phone and online polls together, rather than 15.

    What is noticeable is that YouGov, Opinium, ICM (in Scotland) and now ORB have all shown similar 2% swings to Remain in the past few days.

  28. @Pete B

    I actually have a strong view, so if I didn’t cast my vote on this, I may never get another chance.

    I gladly spoiled my ballot paper on the pointless PCC elections, but this is more important.

  29. “Leave always had a difficult problem. How do you imagine a future that does not yet exist?”


    Well one solution is to imagine a lot kinds of wonderful things, and then imagine that they really will come to pass once relieved of the yoke of oppression.

    Equally, you imagine being able to keep on leaving all the good stuff you get currently under the oppressive yoke. Anything you can’t keep you say wasn’t any good anyway. Any suggestion of anything bad is fearmongering.

    Conversely, if remaining is your bag, you imagine all kinds of disasters that might come to pass, if you leave the cosy confined the current arrangement.

    Equally, you imagine that somehow you can secure many of the benefits of leaving, without actually leaving. Anything you can’t wasn’t worth it anyway. Anything suggestions of bad outcomes is fearmongering.

    I think that’s how it works but it’s early days. Meanwhile there’s always the cricket…


    The First Minister of Scotland who is extremely pro EU has told David Cameron to button it over his extremely negative rhetoric. I’m not sure why remaining in the EU would make things safer with regards to Ukraine? That’s more to do with NATO and Russia.

    loopiness might not be a valid reason for voting against Cameron’s pro EU stance but people may vote against him for making out voters are stupid.

    The NHS attracts thousands of none EU workers annually so I can’t see why a Brexit would put up barriers for people coming from Europe to work for the NHS? The guy in charge of NHS England said if the economy shrank post Brexit then NHS funding could be compromised but why didn’t he say that if we also stayed in the EU and our economy shrunk then that too could have implications for the NHS?

    One thing is for sure, the NHS is going to need a lot of beds for all them loony’s running about. ;-)

  31. keep on leaving = keep on keeping

    If we leave the EU does autocorrect get fixed? It’s started choosing theopposite of what I meant to say…

  32. @ Old Nat

    I know, but that particular comparison looked too funny to let pass. :-)

    The ICM figures you posted earlier today were interesting, and of course we need to remember that it was an online poll, and from the pollster with the most ‘pro-Leave’ house effects. What struck me was that both the Tory and Labour Scottish samples were rather more pro-Remain than in the comparable figures for GB polls.

  33. @Carfrew

    My point is people don’t have to imagine the status quo. Leave has to convince the voters to…erm…vote to leave the EU. If it’s just noise on both sides, Remain wins handily.

  34. James E

    “What struck me was that both the Tory and Labour Scottish samples were rather more pro-Remain than in the comparable figures for GB polls.”

    Is that really surprising? The five parties in the Scottish Parliament are in favour of Remain.

    Other than a few mavericks like Sillars, the only arguments for Brexit are coming via London based broadcasters and press, and mainly Tory politicians.

    Even the “Ruth Davidson Party” eschewed all mention of them.

  35. @Raf

    Well yes, it’s prolly true it’s easier to imagine the status quo.* But up against a Leaver’s imaginedutopia, then one tends perhaps to see remainers imagining future benefits down the line of remaining…

    I mean, TTIP. That’s a future thing we have to imagine. And remainers talk of the jobs they claim it’ll create. Of course, there is another side to it…

    * Unless we’re like in the Matrix or summat

  36. PETE B
    Allan Christie
    “As a younger voter myself I buck that trend and will be putting a X next to leave. ”

    “Good for you. Think for yourself, don’t follow the herd”

    Absolutely :-) :-)

  37. Allan Christi

    But you are one of those economic migrants who blight London & S E Eng through crowding the locals out of jobs! :-)

  38. When it comes to what happens in the future then the remain side are very short on substance and are a basket case. They can’t say what it means for the UK in an ever increasing EU morphing everything from Latvian goat farmers to Greek plate smashers and the horrific prospect that one day Ukraine and Turkey gaining entry into the EU.

    The future within the EU 2 years, 5 years, 10 years from now is full of uncertainty and Britain’s hand on her own destiny will be severely diminished.

    With Brexit I know it all ain’t going to be rosy but at least we will set our own rules for what is good for us and not having to look over our shoulders in case we upset a French pickle merchant if we remain in the EU.

  39. OLDNAT
    Allan Christie
    But you are one of those economic migrants who blight London & S E Eng through crowding the locals out of jobs! :-)

    Now now there is a difference between an internal transient population and that of hundreds of thousands of migrants moving into the country although the Welsh might have something to say about the amount of retiree’s shuffling over offa’s dyke. ;-)

  40. @Alan Christie – you are probably right about NHS. It shouldn’t fold for lack of skilled workers given a Brexit. The last hospital I had anything to do with did have was very international. A and E was predominantly staffed by British staff including British Indian The medical ward had Nigerian and West Indian staff, the Cardiac ward, Eastern Europeans (but my wife was only there for a day) and Intensive Care had an English registrar, a junior doctor who was probably Somali, a German Consultant and a lot of nurses from the Philippines. The patients were predominantly English and very old. The cleaners, porters and people who brought round the food seemed to a mix of English and Eastern European. So although there are probably a lot of EU staff in British hospitals I would guess that we could make them up from elsewhere. What was absolutely not in evidence was any swamping of beds by foreign nationals. Instead the beds were taken up by elderly white people like myself and the service was provided by younger people the majority of whom seemed to come from abroad. So I just don’t believe that the advert about the dire effects of the EU on the NHS was fair.

    I agree with you that the Cameron speech on the danger of war was probably silly. I just haven’t heard or read it. I do, however, think that if we leave it will make the EU less stable. Any negative effects on our economy will be equally apparent there. Far right parties will be emboldened. Other nations may try and leave and there will be a danger of slipping back to the time when we had dictatorships, minor wars in different places and so on. None of this will be good for us or anyone else. Hence the almost unanimous wish of our allies that we stay in.

    What I suspect is that in the end the EU has to be very much a two speed one. Those who want the EURO have to bite the bullet and form a much closer political union. Other nations can’t live within the Eurozone and there has to be an accommodation that suits everyone. If we want to help this process and ensure that everyone benefits including us we are in much better position to do this from within rather than behaving as if it had nothing to do with us,

    So actually ‘yes’, I think Nicola Sturgeon is right and the Remain campaign should be more positive and include the role that we can play within Europe.

  41. Because of the increased security measures, the hoards of illegals appear to have moved from Calais to Dunkirk and Zeebrugge. There seems to be a news blackout on this though. Can anyone imagine why?

  42. @Assiduosity – I agree that I’m comparing apples and pears when I talk about WTO agreements i the same breath as free trade areas – you are correct to pull me up on this. however, the point still stands in the main – you can have freer trade without free movement of people.

    I would argue the point about your assertion that you can’t have a free trade area without free movement though. I guess this depends on how you define free trade, but if you have any evidence from economic theory to state clearly why goods and services can’t be supplied from anyone within a free tarde area without having to move labour across national boundaries I would be interested.

    Maybe a good way to look at this is the EU example. We’ve define a ‘free trade’ area in goods in 28 countries, along with free movement of labour. However, we’ve opted to maintain ten (I think?) different currencies and 28 different tax and VAT juridictions, for a start. That hasn’t affected the free trade.

    I remain unclear why it is so essential to allow labour to migrate unhindered as part of a free trade area – economically it isn’t necessary.

  43. @CARFREW
    “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.

  44. Hmmm.. “blackout”.

    Need to be careful bandying terms like that about these days.

  45. “The deserters will not be welcomed with open arms. If the British vote to leave…Britain will have to accept being treated as a third party, and the UK will get its fur stroked the wrong way.”

    Jean-Claude Juncker.

    ………..we have ways of making you Remain .

    This sort of statement pushes me towards Leave regardless of all the Referendum debating points.

    Who wants to be in a Club like this?


    Having decided a long time ago how i would vote in the referendum based on an assessment of how things would pan out under the alternative scenarios then I agree the cricket is more interesting. Wonderful performances by Anderson and Bairstow and looking forward to more on Friday.

  47. @Colin – me too.

    The biggest problem I have with the EU is the commission’s inflated sense of self importance and the associated lack of accountability. I’m generally in favour of much of the regulation passed to date, albeit with some notable exceptions, but just as we were l!ed to in the 1973 referendum regarding the future role of the EC, I have no faith today that the commission has any intention of drawing boundaries for itself and ceasing to delve further into other areas or regulation.

    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.

    Where remainers are a little starstruck I feel, is that they are voting on what the EU is like today. I believe we should take note of that, alongside looking at where the EU is likely to be in 20 or 30 years time, and in that regard, the 1973 referendum is illuminating.

  48. If the EU, and specifically the commission, could be brought under greater democratic control,

    I really can’t see that ever happening, simply because national governments would never allow the commission out of their control. By that I mean, presently commissioners are selected by national governments, however if we elected them directly they would have a democratic mandate and therefore a legitimacy they currently don’t have.

    Hope this makes sense, it does in my head.

  49. Anthony thank you for restoring comments but shouldn’t you also correct the glaring error at the end of your last posted article? You wrote “a Remain lead of about 30 points among people who left school at 16 and a Leave lead of 33 points among those who were in educated beyond the age of twenty”. It should be the other way round

    But I accept the point is extremely important and I would love to know if any of the other phone pollsters claim their samples DO include the correct proportionr of university graduates? I have seen no further comment from them on Yougov’s assertion that this may be skewing their polls pro-Remain. Have they made any?

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