Following the FT story about hedge funds and exit polls, it’s probably worth setting out some facts about exit polling and the referendum. I have not a clue whether the FT story is correct, but for those interested here’s what we can say about exit polls at the referendum.

There will not be an official exit poll for the referendum. At general elections the BBC, ITN and Sky normally jointly fund an exit poll. The fieldwork is normally conducted by Gfk and Ipsos MORI, and then John Curtice, Steve Fisher and the rest of their team use the data to project seat numbers. This did not happen for the Scottish referendum or the AV referendum, and it won’t be happening for the EU referendum either.

The way exit polls are done at general elections can’t be done for a referendum. I’m not privy to the BBC’s discussions, but my guess is that the reason they are not doing an exit poll is for technical reasons: the method the exit poll team use for general elections would not and cannot work for a referendum. Here’s why. At general elections the team try to revisit the same polling stations at each election (obviously some are added as electoral battlegrounds change, but the core remains the same) the projection is then done by looking at the changes in support in those polling stations since the exit poll five years before. Curtice, Fisher and colleagues will look at patterns of change (e.g, are there bigger or smaller changes in different regions, or where there are different parties in contention) and use that to project the swing across different types of seat. While the overall swing can be used to come up with national shares of the vote, that’s very much a by-product, at its heart the exit poll is all about change since the last election.

For obvious reasons this is not an option at a referendum: there was not a previous EU referendum a few years back that we can draw changes from. This means the exit poll method that has been so successful at the last three general elections cannot be used for referendums, and presumably as a result of this, the BBC, ITN and Sky have chosen not to have an exit poll at all.

Someone could still do an exit poll in theory, but who knows whether it would be accurate or not. It is possible to do exit polls in other ways. Instead of looking at swing, one could try and sample from a random selection of polling stations and work out national shares of the vote. This used to be how exit polls were done in this country before the current method was developed. Don’t fall into the trap of thinking it would necessarily be as accurate as the recent BBC exit polls though: back in 1992 the exit poll was conducted this way, and was almost as inaccurate as that year’s pre-election polls.

It is illegal to publish an exit poll until the polls have closed. Exit polls are the only type of poll that has specific laws around their publication. Under the Representation of the People Act it is illegal to publish any poll based on the responses of people who have already voted until the polls close at 10pm. There is no legal restraint on carrying them out (after all, Gfk and MORI do it at every general election), the legal bar is on publishing them while people are still voting.

Any results from much before 10pm would be of questionable use anyway. Anyone with any experience of elections knows that voting is not uniform throughout the day, there are ebbs and flows and different types of people vote at different times. Exit poll data from only the morning or only the early afternoon could be wildly misleading.

So when will we know the result? In the absence of any exit polls, we will have to wait for actual counts to take place. The Electoral Commission already has estimated result times up here. The earliest results are expected to be Sunderland, Wandsworth and Foyle, all around half twelve. Swindon, Oldham, Newcastle and Hartlepool are expected at about one. Lots of results are expected about two-ish, the bulk around three or four in the morning. Obviously how soon those results actually allow us to be confident of the overall picture depends how close it is – if all the early results show a heavy lead one way or the other we will know quite early, if they are extremely close we won’t be certain till most places have counted.

On other matters YouGov had their regular EU poll for the Times this morning. Topline figures were REMAIN 41%, LEAVE 41%, Don’t know/Won’t vote 17%… exactly the same as a week ago. There is no obvious sign of any movement towards Leave there. Full tabs are here.

344 Responses to “Exit polls on the EU referendum”

1 3 4 5 6 7
  1. Good Morning All from a pleasant Bournemouth East Park Run Land.

    I think Gove spoke like a Good Old Labour Man last night; reminiscent of Ernest Bevin, though with different diction.

    Phrases such as Red Tory or Tory Socialism came to mind as I listened to him and thought about it since.

    From my own youth he sounded like Peter Shore and later, Bryan Gould.

    In terms of the EU Referendum Campaign I reckon that the REMAIN camp needs to up its game fast.

  2. Charles

    As someone who will vote leave on the day your 10.35 post is bang on. You put what we believe very clearly.

  3. The similarities with the Scottish referendum keep appearing. Gove last night took a leaf straight out of the SNP playbook when he said opponents of Brexit were ”saying that Britain is too small, too poor and we’re all too stupid to be able to succeed on the outside. ”

  4. If flag waving gets your juices going then, I agree, Gove did a good job. But if you were looking for any degree of corroboration for, or evidence in support of the Economic case for Leave-you looked in vain.

    Gove’s black hole on The Economy was as cavernous as Cameron’s on Immigration, and that just about sums up the ludicrous basis on which we are supposed to trot along to the polling booth & make this momentous decision.

    Quaking with Fear -or Bursting with Sovereign Pride-you choose.

    Completely barmy.

  5. Absolutely agree Colin
    Of course Camerons other black hole is that 6 mths ago he was prepared to leave the eu if he couldnt get the deal he wanted
    To my mind the deal he got means little yet now leaving the eu he thinks would lead to a near global catastophe

  6. Colin
    I agree with your 8.31 post.

    I am seriously finding this difficult which way to vote from the positions you outlined.
    “Gove’s black hole on The Economy was as cavernous as Cameron’s on Immigration”

    However we are not voting on the status quo either.

    Therefore I believe if we vote to remain we should fully participate in the EU going forward, not this never ending we only want to be part time members playing our 9 holes on a Wednesday afternoon, and not using the bar or partaking in any competitions on the course.

    Obviously if we vote to leave we will have to pay green fees, turn up to play when permitted and follow the rules set by the members,

    In my opinion a lot of the polling and how people vote will be an overall gut feeling.
    There will be undoubtedly be a shock economically in the short term if we vote leave , but that decision would be a long term one, which could workout to be beneficial to UK PLC.

    I honestly could sit this one out, but I feel one should vote on such an important decision.

  7. DEZ

    @”I honestly could sit this one out, but I feel one should vote on such an important decision.”

    So do I-but what is sensible about a purely emotional response to the ballot on this hugely important subject , demanding of so many facts & judgements thereon ; when we have no facts before us?

    I think the only honest thing which has been said by either side ( & I can’t remember which one said it) is that this Vote is a “Leap in the Dark”………..either way.

  8. In the final week of indyref when the UK wobbled, GB et al moved to increase the DevoMax offer. But the EU polls are already way beyond that and so what is left in the Remain cupboard? EU leaders have already started to threaten us and there is no prospect of Merkel, Juncker or Hollande doing a GB in the last few days and upping the offer, while Cameron is powerless since he is the equivalent of Johann Lamont in this scenario. When are the next polls?

  9. Colin

    Yes agreed a leap in the dark either way.
    I am beginning to understand why some people do not believe in referendums, especially on a decision like this.
    Surely representative democracy, with a representative government , should have a leader and a cabinet to make such an important decision in the countries best interest.
    I have tried to way up the information before me, but as you say should not have to rely on a gut instinct.
    Britain will survive either way but how one will know at a future time if it was a good one , will have to be argued by historians.

  10. THOMAS.
    Hello to you.

    Tony Blair could become PM for a few weeks, and got back on ‘The Stomp’ to use a 19th Century phrase, or Gladstone’s Midlothian Campaign

  11. There’s no guarantee that late polls will be closer to the actual result than those we’ve already had.

    In the Scottish referendum the reverse was true. Polls done in June & July (so 2-3 months out) averaged at a 11-point ‘No’ lead, whereas the 16 done in September showed it as down to just 3-4 points.

  12. @ Colin

    I think the “economic black hole” applies in either case. It seems impossible to predict medium term consequences of brexit. We can be pretty sure there will at least be serious short term jitters

    Leave’s problem of course is that at present they are not in a position to tell us what a new trade deal with Europe would involve as currently this is down to Cameron to negotiate but a day after a Brexit vote it might be down to someone else and could be anyone from Boris to Teresa May to Jeremy Corbyn.

    Even if you knew the trade deal the government would go for it is still impossible to assess what this would mean although plenty of organisations on the remain side seem to have had a good attempt.

    I’m a population control extremist so I’m willing to take the risk although part of me thinks population will not be controlled with Brexit any more than it is now. I just look around my area and see the Green land being built on for housing and infrastructure and I don’t like it.

    Hoping for an Ali tribute from Crossbat to show up any time soon- part of my childhood TV watching and loved the showmanship even though I don’t think I’ve ever watched a boxing match that didn’t feature him.

  13. Shevii

    You don’t like to see houses being built on green land. But something needs to be done about the strangling effect of planning regulations whether we stay in the EU or leave. How is someone on less than £50,000 a year supposed to find a house in the S.E. of England unless he or she inherits quarter of a million from an expiring relative? Where are teachers, nurses, policemen, plumbers, electricians and so on supposed to live? Either abolish the very restrictive planning regulations or slap universal price controls on all dwellings (i.e. a three bedroom semi in Sunderland will be the same price as a three bedroom semi in Wimbledon). Which is it to be?

  14. We’ve had one or two anecdotes about canvassing experiences recently, mostly favouring Remain. I did some leafletting this morning for the first time in my life. All but one person I spoke to either wanted to vote Leave, or already had. This was people of all ages and races. The area was a high street in a poor part of a very safe Labour seat. It would be a reasonable assumption that around 40-50% were Labour voters based on GE results, so it seems that Labour’s luke-warm Remain message isn’t getting through, or at least that Labour voters realise that this issue transcends party loyalty.

  15. @ToH I think you once told me you were at heart a romantic and would have supported the cavaliers. I respect that greatly. It was the spirit that meant we did not give up in 1940. But times change and in my judgement now is not the time for such romanticism, nor is leaving the EU a cause with the moral force of resisting Nazi Germany. So I just hope that enough of us are pragmatic enough to ensure that you do not win!

  16. @ Pete B

    Surely you don’t think that your anecdotal evidence is more accurate than the polling evidence which has typically shown Labour voters dividing about 2:1 for Remain?

  17. Sorry to hear about Ali, he’d battled bravely with Parkinson’s for a very long time.

    I’m going to base my decision without considering the economic implications as I think we’ll be alright either way & I simply don’t trust the views both groups have been putting forward.

    So it will be down to the other factors, defence, borders, migration, NHS, farming and fishing, future affects on our infrastructure and particularly the environment. Am I missing anything? No silly ideas will be considered!

  18. CHRISLANE1945

    Tony Blair could become PM for a few weeks, and got back on ‘The Stomp’ to use a 19th Century phrase, or Gladstone’s Midlothian Campaign

    From about a week ago:

    Yesterday Tony Blair that he had ‘seriously underestimated’ the complexity of Middle East politics. Which comes closer to your view of the former PM?

    It’s time we forgave Tony Blair for his misjudgements 15%

    I can never forgive Tony Blair for what I think he did wrong 53%

    I don’t think he did anything wrong 8%

    Don’t know 24%

    Well he’s certainly a pretty unifying figure, I give that to you.

  19. Pete B: I suspect you’ll find Brexiters are far more vocal on the street than Remain as indeed they have been for years. I’ve had bruising encounters in leafy Sevenoaks with them. Also, Labour still isn’t dealing with the haemorrhage of voters to UKIP, preferring to ignore immigration and worry about Trident.

    Here’s a thought. Had we had the referendum during the coalition, before ISIS, before Syria, would Remain not have won the day as the immigration argument wasn’t so strident?

  20. Still not sure how Cameron can go from claiming he wants to leave if doesn’t get the deal he wants, he gets a few minor concessions, then he says it will be a global catastrophe if we leave. Borderline ridiculous.

  21. James E
    “Surely you don’t think that your anecdotal evidence is more accurate than the polling evidence which has typically shown Labour voters dividing about 2:1 for Remain?”

    Of course not, but it does seem to suggest that there might be some surprising results in some areas, and that support for either side may be quite variable from place to place. This could be hard for pollsters to pick up.

    John H
    “Here’s a thought. Had we had the referendum during the coalition, before ISIS, before Syria, would Remain not have won the day as the immigration argument wasn’t so strident?”

    Possibly not. Wikipedia shows 3 polls from 2011, 2 of which show Leave in the majority.

  22. Charles

    Your memory is absolutely correct, I am a romantic and I would have been a Cavalier in those far off days. However I feel we should leave for pragmatic reasons ras much as anything else. I think our economy will flourish if we leave, although I suspect there would be a couple of tough years while we adjust, but well worth the price. Look what happened after we left the ERM.

  23. SHEVII

    @” I just look around my area and see the Green land being built on for housing and infrastructure and I don’t like it.”

    I agree-and getting some sort of control on immigration would be persuasive to me. But I don’t know whether Brexit would provide it. Our so-called Border Controls seem totally inadequate . I saw that Vaz’s SC revealed that 6k foreign criminals are still awaiting removal from the country. Why are we so lax & incompetent?

    I mean-WHY are all those thousands of fit young men from the Middle East, Asia & Africa trekking across the globe to France’s Channel coast, and sitting in tents and sheds staring across the water whilst they work out how to get here?

    Same reason as all the out of work Spaniards, Greeks & Eastern Europeans who can get on a ferry legally I suppose.

    It is unsustainable.

  24. Remain’s problem with immigration is their implicit dishonesty. The labour leaflets I get do not mention it while Cameron says that he can get it down regardless.

    The fact is that areas of the country that are doing well are going to get immigration, if not from the EU then from other countries and from within the UK. (We already have more immigrants from outside the UK than from within and presumably we could stop them, we just don’t want to do so). From the point of view of pressure on housing, schools and hospitals it doesn’t matter where the immigrants come from but it does no good to deny that the problems they cause are real,

    In practice I suspect that the areas that have the most immigration are actually most pro EU. This seems to be true of London, It may be true of elsewhere. So what I suspect drives a lot of anti-EU feeling is not an experience of being disadvantaged by the EU (some people, London cleaning ladies for example are genuinely disadvantaged) but rather a correct perspective that life is not good for them and an associated belief that this must have something to do with the EU. Even in Cornwall apparently which will benefit by some billions of EU funding, many Cornish people believe that this money will be coming their way in greater quantities and probably better directed once their own MPs get freed from the shackles of Brussels bureaucracy. Nothing that happened before the EU or since gives the slightest grounds for thinking that they are correct.

    The basic problem with much of this is that as a nation we are getting older and our traditional industries have been lost to nations on the other side of the world. If we are to keep going and develop new industries we need people to look after us and bright people from around the world including the EU to staff our new industries and make sure they can compete. If we don’t do this we’ve had it.

    So for me the way forward is to recognise the real downsides of immigration for particular areas and industries and then set about tackling them. There’s plenty of things we can do about it and we need to get down to doing them rather than spending the next ten years, coping with the consequences of a leap in the dark. Industries need a stable environment in which to plan and so do we.

    And in terms of what remain might do (but won’t) that would equal the late promises in the Scottish Referendum. They should say clearly to people in Goole or wherever (not a prosperous part of the world to my eyes). We hear your pain, we can’t stop immigration, it is the price of doing well. But we will do something about its consequences.

  25. @ToH I am not sure that leaving the ERM is a good analogy. It seems to me more like leaving the Eurozone which is what I think Greece should have done and a lot of Southern European Countries should do as well. Our role is then to make sure that those in the EU and outside the Euro get a reasonable deal and we are going to be better able to do that when we are in than when we are out.

    Anyway in or out you will still have your gardening and I hope your health. This will be true of lots of others, including my children Russian roulette is being played with the lives of others I know, most of whom, paradoxically seem keen to join in the gamble by voting out.

  26. @ Pete B

    I’d agree that EU voting intention divides along different lines to party support, with education, social class and age being the strongest indicators.

    But the polling evidence has been fairly consistent in showing Labour voters as a whole roughly 2:1 for Remain. I would not doubt that this varies a lot with social class, ethnicity etc.

    The most variable group by party affiliation appears to be Conservative voters, because the sub-samples we’ve seen have fluctuated wildly. On 18 May we had an Ipsos Mori poll showing Tories 2:1 for Remain, and there have been several others (especially phone polls) showing Remain ahead. But it’s been more common for polls to show results like a 40:60 Leave lead among Tories, and in some cases higher than that.

    We do seem to be getting a lot of rather silly posts saying that it’s really all down to which way Labour voters decide – and implying that everyone else has already decided. In reality, there are ‘don’t knows’ and people unsure as to whether they’ll vote at all right across the political spectrum.

  27. James E
    “We do seem to be getting a lot of rather silly posts saying that it’s really all down to which way Labour voters decide”

    If that was a dig at me it was misplaced. I was simply observing an area near me.

  28. @ John B

    I haven’t a clue what to do about London. Having moved away 8 years ago I feel more yokel every time I go back- hating the crowds, hating the standing up on commuter trains, tubes and buses.

    I mean you’ve highlighted all the issues and like you I just don’t see it being sustainable but the only solution I can come up with is to reduce the greater London population from what it is now. How anyone does that is beyond me but I don’t think affordable housing will solve London’s problems which basically comes down to lack of room. Yes you have the investment properties which is wrong but if those properties had people living in them the infrastructure would be even worse.

  29. @ Pete B

    No, it wasn’t a dig at you.

    @ Sheviii

    It might surprise you that parts of London have seen a significant decline in population density in the past hundred years – the East End in particular.

  30. Only 2.27% of uk land is built on.
    The immigration debate ignores this and has created ugly myths instead.

  31. @Charles
    Well said. For me the economic arguments for staying are pretty irrefutable, confirmed for me by a brexiter in a debate I attended this week. He claimed that Brexit would free us of the shackles of the EU and allow us to trade with the rest of the world, and later pointed out that our exports to the rest of the world have grown by 6.something % pa whilst exports to the EU have grown by 3.something%. Some shackles.
    There’s a lot of nonsense talked, suggesting free trade is about tariffs: tariffs can be important but (as per discussions about French VCR antics in a previous thread) non-tariff barriers are far more important.
    And anybody who thinks we would have Honda, Toyota and French-owned Nissan with their main European manufacturing bases here if we were not in the EU they need their bumps felt. Ditto anybody who thinks that the city will survive as the world’s financial capital long term: of course being the money-laundering and tax-dodging capital will help for a while but how long will the world put up with that after we become the grumpy teenager who has retired to his room?
    Like every election known to man, very few will make up their minds on ‘the facts’ or ‘the manifesto’. Nearly everyone will make their mind up on the basis of vision, or emotion if you will. I’ll allow that a minority of us geeks on here may read manifestos and judge based on policies but the vast majority of the (few) I see on the doorstep who say they need to read the manifestos go down on my sheet as Against (but don’t want to say so).
    Sadly, those who vote for Brexit will very largely do so because of nonsense about bananas, faulty understanding about immigration (the belief that most immigration is from the EU and that people are queueing up in Calais for benefits) and the belief, stoked by the execrable Boris, that the EU is just a vehicle for Germany to finish the job started in the 1930s

  32. @Mark

    the figure in that article is 10.6% for urban land in England, which considering the national parks cover approx 10% of England and then there are 33 AoONB which cover a slightly larger area – say 12% – then we’re left with 32% of England that can’t be built on. This leaves 68% of land in England which is considered potential building area.

    However, these areas are not distributed evenly; there is less space in the South East for building not covered by one of the above definitions.: at that point the available land not already built on is less than 50% of the available land in the area. In those locations there isn’t plenty of land for building houses and associated new road/infrastructure on – unless we start building on the AoANB and the National Parks.

  33. @ Mark W

    The 2.27% is yet just another irrelevant statistic spouted by the Remain camp, it’s where the land is already built on that’s all important as well as the impact new building has on the existing environment, road infrastructure and public services.

    I haven’t decided myself yet but all the numbers being churned out are a complete turnoff for a lot of undecideds.

  34. Calm down. I didn’t know it was spouted about. I just googled it cos of the comments above.

    I understand the complications but it’s an interesting analysis I thought.

  35. Charles

    Yes, we beg to differ with each other but as you say life will go on whatever the result. I do fear for my children and especially my grandchildren though if we stay in. I think the future outside is much brighter.

  36. @ Mark W

    What the figure really suggests is that we should invest a lot of money in getting other areas of the UK more economically active. There’s plenty of space and people willing to work in, for example, Teeside northwards and we should invest and ‘incentivise’ business to base work there rather than London and the South East.

  37. ALEC
    “Taking ‘we’ as the UK”

    It seems you’ve missed the thread of the conversation. Easily done. We were talking about how systems work. If there are decisions taken at a particular level, there should be a democratic system for taking them. One popular way of doing that is to have a parliament periodically elected by the people. In this, Westminster and the EU score equally. I have a strong preference for proportional electoral systems, but let’s chalk that down to personal opinion. However, there is a clear advantage in the EU because all representatives are subject to removal by a directly elected body. That is not the case with Westminster.

    Your argument seems to be that UK people can’t remove representatives from, say, Austria. That’s true, but by the same token Scottish people cannot remove representatives from, say, Oxfordshire. If the former is problematic, then so is the latter. You are allowed to say that both are a problem or neither are (I opt for the latter). But the idea that one is a problem and the other isn’t is double standards.

    As for your point about getting rid of the Lords, then yes. We could and we should. But the idea that we can remove an undemocratic blot on our system of government hardly commends itself to the system. Especially when said body might have significant influence in preventing its own removal. We are currently comparing systems. The Lords is an undemocratic stain on one system that doesn’t exist in the other because Peers cannot be removed by either the public or by a time-limited term. Hence tallying one up for the EU against Westminster.

    We can talk about whether the people in other parts of the EU have different or similar political beliefs to the UK, and that’s an important discussion, but it’s rather incidental to the idea of comparing systems. Personally I feel more in common with the people of Copenhagen than the people of Camberley, but there’s no systemic point to be made there.

  38. @Guymonde

    And obviously well said on your part. And on the part of the IMF, 12 US Secretaries of the Treasury or similar, LSE, IFS, Treasury and Bank of England. Brexiters see such people as scaremongering, as having been wrong in the past (no doubt correct) and as corrupted by Brussels money or a cosy elitism (unfair in my view). All these bodies may be wrong and some of them may be corrupt. They are, however, trying to make an argument based on rational grounds. Insofar as it is possible to take a rational view of our economic prospects after Brexit theirs is it.

    But as I said earlier I don’t think a lot of Brexiters really care about any of this For them to be strong is to stand on your own two feet and that means being out of the EU. Brexit means strength by definition.

    Unfortunately committed Brexiters also find it more comfortable to believe that Brexit will bring a rosy future as well as independence and to support this view they put about all sorts of things which are either grossly exaggerated (we give 350 million a week to Brussels) or very probably false (immigration is ruining the NHS). These things are believed by people who are dissatisfied with their circumstances and they turn to Brexit as a solution to their ills. For these people, Brexit is a grievance rather than a policy (not my phrase unfortunately!).

  39. “the only solution I can come up with is to reduce the greater London population from what it is now. How anyone does that is beyond me”

    I swear I’m going to have to start checking for atomic bombs every time I leave the house if this keeps up. UKPR posters riding the shell down to earth like Slim Pickens.

  40. @charles

    “Brexit is a grievance rather than a policy”

    I disagree. Grievance is the seedcorn of policy. Policy is the largesse of power.

  41. Slim, what a guy, what a film.

  42. @Ciderman

    Are you saying that policy is something that is worked out by people with power who sometimes choose to listen to grievances?

    If so we agree. I was simply saying that some people are voting Brexit because they are unhappy with their situation rather than because they have come to a rational decision that this will improve it.

  43. Interesting article from Der Spiegel about how Brussels is handling Brexit:


    The image put forward by the EU these days is not a strong one. On the contrary, fear appears to have the upper hand. Juncker’s Commission, with its 30,000 civil servants, has nearly ground to a halt, with June 23 marked in red on staff calendars. All initiatives are anxiously examined to determine whether they might provide ammunition for Brexit supporters. Juncker even personally asked each of his 27 commissioners to use “common sense” during any visits to Britain.

    One of the victims of this caution has been chief EU diplomat Federica Mogherini, who has spent recent months crafting the EU Global Strategy — the first comprehensive foreign policy guidelines for the union since 2003. The original intention had been to present the paper in the coming days, but it has now been delayed.

    Foreign and security policy still remain the domain of EU member states, and hardly any other union member is as insistent about its sovereignty as Britain. Furthermore, Mogherini’s draft text includes ideas aimed at exploring stronger joint European defense efforts — a potentially dangerous approach given that British tabloids passionately disparage any suggestion of a European army. Mogherini has now been forced to push her presentation back to June 24.

    End Quote

    I expect that is where the rumours about an EU army come from. They shouldn’t be delaying the presentation, it amounts to withholding pertinent information from voters. If there is truly nothing awful in this report, why not publish it?

  44. PETE B

    We’ve had one or two anecdotes about canvassing experiences recently, mostly favouring Remain. I did some leafletting this morning for the first time in my life. All but one person I spoke to either wanted to vote Leave, or already had. This was people of all ages and races.

    This is probably nothing more than the difference between leafleting and canvassing. When you’re handing out leaflets, many of those who agree with you will make a point of saying so; most of those that don’t will smile nicely, take the leaflet and walk on (and not throw it away till they’re out of sight). So you get the general impression that most are in agreement, whereas all it actually means is that most people are nice and polite.

    If you are canvassing, however, people have to make a choice. They may say they don’t know when they do, but few will actually say Leave for Remain or vice versa. You still get a view biased towards your side, but not by so much.

  45. ” If there is truly nothing awful in this report, why not publish it?”

    Well, obviously, if there’s nothing awful in the report it will be wholeheartedly welcomed by the Times, Telegraph. Mail, Express, Sun etc as evidence that the EU produces sensible analysis that will spawn useful policy

  46. Charles

    ” These things are believed by people who are dissatisfied with their circumstances and they turn to Brexit as a solution to their ills. For these people, Brexit is a grievance rather than a policy (not my phrase unfortunately!).”

    There we disagree totally. I am very happy with my circumstances and being in or out will make little difference to me at my age. Brexit is not a grievance for people like me it is an ideal and a hope for the future of my children and grandchildren.


    Personally I feel I have more in common with people from Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, India and the USA than I do with most Europeans. Maybe this comes from travelling the World extensively and meeting people from those Countries in their own lands. I have also travelled extensively in Europe but don’t get the same feeling with Europeans.

  47. A few general points:
    1. The EU is a Common Market not a free trade area. It aims at common tariffs against non-member countries (to the detriment of poor countries) and seems to be aiming towards common internal taxation rules (eg VAT) while allowing free movement internally of labour (in practice of citizens).
    2. Immigration:
    Looking at figures since 1964
    [The link gives not only figures, but notes legislative changes etc in the appropriate year which might affect the totals, and figures for population, unemployment, GDP]

    1994 was the first year with a substantial (77,000) excess if immigrants over emigrants. From 1983 to 1993 TOTAL net immigration was about 240,000, or
    Prior to that emigration usually exceeded immigration by some tens of thousands annually. Net immigration is now running at more than 250,000 annually.
    No comparisons of the effects or benefits of immigration with years before 1994 are particularly useful.
    While it is true that it is unfair to blame any individual immigrant for the problems faced, and true that it is a problem for government to deal with the greatly increased numbers and any resulting pressures on infrastructure and services, any such problems are an order of magnitude greater since 1994. Present government policy is to reduce net immigration to the “tens of thousands” annually as in 1983-93, while accepting free movement from the rest of the EU.
    So far there has been no reduction, and net immigration would remain well above 100,000 annually even if all immigration from outside the EU ceased.
    Matching skills to requirements looks to be difficult.
    3. EU funds. So long as the UK is a net contributor to the EU, all “EU funds” for regional development, science, infrastructure projects etc could in principle be provided from money at present allocated to the EU, with a not insignificant saving of the money spent by the EU on administering its budget and its governance. Saying that this might not be done, either by looking at government performance for the years before we joined the common market, or by noting that the UK government does not spend more money on such things beyond what it gets back from UK contributions to the EU, means that those wishing to spend that money need to make their strong case effectively.
    Money which the EU receives from the UK and spends elsewhere in the EU would be available to spend in the UK.
    GDP. Obviously GDP will increase if population increases and the additional people make any contribution at all to GDP, whether or not they match any needed government expenditure by the contribution they make in taxes etc.
    If government increases taxes on individuals or businesses to spend on needed extra infrastructure and services, that will increase GDP, but individuals may buy less, and businesses manufacture and export less. Whether overall GDP, or GDP per capita will increase is hard to predict and the proof of the pudding will be in the eating. GDP has recently been increased by counting the proceeds of gambling, illegal drugs and prostitution, making direct comparisons with earlier years harder.
    To leave the EU may be a leap in the dark, or at least into semi-darkness, but staying in the EU is a continued walk in murky twilight. The real question is whether we can look at a compass in our own hands, and decide whether we are going in the right direction. I suspect this needs a change of government, and a restructuring of the way we are at present governed.
    It is of course not impossible to get rid of the EU Commissioners,
    but the means is not quite like holding a general election.

  48. @Guymonde

    They’re definitely not going to win people over with furtiveness. It’s like someone saying “vote for me, I’ll publish the manifesto the day after the election”.

    We know that voting Leave is to take a leap in the dark. But voting Remain now looks like taking a leap in the dark too – and hence one of Leave’s drawbacks is neutralised…

  49. CHARLES.
    I think you are correct. Most ‘AB’ voters seem to be content and ‘liberal’ in their views.

    I think surveys show that many voters in the C2/D and E social categories seem worried about demographic pressures on wages, housing, the nhs, school places and languages spoken within.

    The left winger Brecht is meant to have opined that we should abolish the people, but the ‘proles’ will have a voice in the Referendum.

  50. @ToH – I completely accept that your stand is principled. All I was arguing was that some people do not find their situation satisfactory, are in need of explanation for this and a related hope of changing and have fastened on the EU as the source of their ills.

1 3 4 5 6 7