There are two EU referendum polls in the Sunday papers – YouGov in the Sunday Times and Opinium in the Observer. Both of them have the race neck-and-neck: YouGov have REMAIN 49%, LEAVE 51%, Opinium have REMAIN 51%, LEAVE 49%. Tables for YouGov are here, for Opinium are here.

In both cases the topline figures are pretty much unchanged from figures a week ago, remaining roughly neck-and-neck. There is certainly no echo of that ten point Leave lead ORB produced on Friday. My guess is that there has been a little movement towards Leave, but perhaps not of the scale suggested by some of the more startling figures, and not necessarily a lasting one. Opinium’s poll a week ago had a significant underlying shift towards Leave, today’s unchanged figures suggest a consolidation of that movement. YouGov on the other hand showed what appeared to be a similar movement towards Leave two weeks ago, but have since moved back towards neck-and-neck.

The bigger picture from the online polls is still that the race is neck-and-neck. Next week we have a new Ipsos MORI telephone poll due – it will be interesting to see what that shows in the light of the movement towards Leave in ICM’s last phone and the methodology changes that MORI announced on Friday.

Meanwhile, the rest of the YouGov poll had some interesting questions on the campaign. Asked which campaign is more honest, makes more negative attacks, is more realistic or which lies the most there is very little difference – Leave’s ratings are marginally better, but by a tiny amount. The big divide is “scaremongering” – 41% think Remain have done more scaremongering, 28% think Leave have done more. Crucially, this comes through in the immigration and economy questions too: 55% think LEAVE have exaggerated in their claims about immigration, but 49% think the underlying claims are basically true. 63% think REMAIN have exaggerated in their claims about the economy and only 40% think the underlying claims are basically true. Perhaps this is a suggestion that Remain are overplaying their hand a little on the economy – or perhaps, a sign that Leave’s accusations of scaremongering are managing to neuter the economic argument somewhat.

228 Responses to “YouGov and Opinium both show EU race neck-and-neck”

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  1. I believe that Remain will win, most probably using any tactics available. What are the odds for it being abandoned at the last moment?

  2. Probably not very significant unless the Euref is incredibly close, but Gibraltar’s 24,000 electors are reportedly 85% in favour of remain with a predicted 85% turnout. Based on a street poll of 850 by the local paper, so not a proper poll, but interesting nevertheless.

    Reasons apparently are that Gibraltarians see EU laws as their principal defence against Spanish claims; their rapid growth and prosperity depends on a daily influx of 10,000 Spanish workers; and they do very well out of access to the EU market for online gambling.

  3. DUNHAM111
    @ David Carrod
    “Leave supporters are more vocal, but as with the Scottish Indyref, the quiet supporters of the status quo will ensure that Remain wins – the potential adverse economic impact will sway undecided voters. The polls don’t survey NI or overseas voters”

    Not sure why you have come to this conclusion? I was living in Scotland during the indy ref and the Yes campaign were the more visible and vocal (at least it was a positive message) where as in England the most visible and vocal campaign are the Remain side.

    I was in Stevenage a week ago and normally in the town center the seagulls reign supreme on the ol megaphone diplomacy but even they were visibly traumatized by the wattage coming from the Remain campaigners.

  4. Allan,

    Not much sign of a Remain campaign here in my part of Kirklees (or a Leave one tbh, but I have at least seen them once!). I am going to help put some Remain posters up later this week so that will make it 1-1

    More importantly, like J S-B you are predicting a very different result from the current polling average, which is neck and neck… I think JS-B has agreed to eat his hat if Leave get <60%, so will you make the same commitment?? I will accept metaphorical hat-eating BTW!

    I think the gap between the two sides will be <5% with a night of swinging predictions as the votes come in, but I am not prepared to call it either way!

  5. @ Forever unpolled

    The job of the canvasser is to move on as quickly as possible from anyone who has clearly made their mind up in the opposite direction to yours, not to argue with them!

    Personally I always try and engage opposing canvassers in lengthy conversation, especially on the phone… Not that it happens very often of course!

  6. Sorry, slightly garbled the Gibraltar poll figures in my earlier post. Should be:

    Remain 88.3%
    Leave 8.3%
    DK 3.4%
    Intending to vote: 88%

    Street poll of 596 respondents eligible to vote.

    Report here:

  7. I feel an opportunity is being missed by piemakers and hatters

    Surely the real pork pie hat would sell fats in the next few weeks?

  8. Thanks for that, Sommerjohn.

    By my calculation, that 88:8 lead in Gibraltar would shift the overall result to Remain by about 0.04%.

  9. Does anyone know if any polling has been done to find out how important the eu issue is to different party supporters?-I’m thinking of the consequences post ref
    My feeling is talking to canvassers that while lab voters may certainly vote leave to most it isnt the MOST important issue come a general electioni.e whatever the way they vote in the ref and whatever the result this wont greatly alter voting intention
    Again just a feeling it seems the eu is a very important issue to quite a lot of tories and might be more likely to have a lasting influence
    No idea if this is correct and wondered if anyone else has thoughts

  10. At this point, anyone who’s definitely made up their mind is unlikely to be changing it. The folks who are being targeted at the moment are the committed in your campaign’s favour, genuine-sounding Don’t Knows, and the wavering supporters.

    Of course Remain will have the bigger and more visible campaign. They have more people for one thing – 80%-odd of Labour members, virtually all card carrying Lib Dems, most Greens and half the Tories, for a Remain campaign base of around 600,000.

    The Leave side has half the Tories, UKIP and a small scattering from each of the remaining parties, for a total of maybe 150,000.

    Now a bigger campaign base can’t win it alone, but if most of that 600,000 put up a poster or a stakeboard, and hand out a few more, they’re quickly going to cover a lot more ground than Leave.

    They also have the advantage of all the canvass data of Labour and the Lib Dems, where Leave can only rely on UKIP’s, which is often patchy due to their low membership and only recently beginning campaigning in some places. The Conservative Party, being officially neutral, is presumably not allowing the use of party data for the referendum. Knowing where your voters live is highly useful.

  11. I can report that the Vote Leave battlebus was in High Wycombe at lunchtime today, where Boris Johnson gave a rabble-rousing speech.

    He was cheered to the rafters by the vast majority of the assembled throng, it was more like a rock concert than a political rally. This was right in the town centre, with no pre-vetting of the crowd (unlike Cameron’s public speeches).

    A solid Leave vote in this part of Buckinghamshire, I reckon.

  12. “This was right in the town centre, with no pre-vetting of the crowd (unlike Cameron’s public speeches).”

    My experience of such rallies is that although there might not be official vetting, an email will have been sent around yesterday to a Vote Leave mailing list telling them to come to High Wycombe. It’s fine, all political campaigns do it, but do take their grassroots nature with a hint of salt.

    I’d be curious to know how many of that crowd had a party membership card in their wallets.

  13. I suspect that the neck-and-neck picture will now persist until polling day, with a few polls showing slight leads for either side. I think the key issue will be how good the polls have been at predicting turnout in disenfranchised groups. My hunch is that this group will be much more likely to turn out for this than in a general election; bad news for REMAIN if that is so.

  14. Really pleased to have the link to the Ipsos Mori article (previous thread), because I’ve always been sceptical as to whether the methods used to model turnout for elections would work for the referendum. Good to see that different factors are being investigated. My bet would be on the recent voting record factor being the most useful of those listed: it’s closely tied to behaviour, it’s based on recent behaviour and people will probably answer reasonably accurately.

    But I think that weighting by past voting record and similar factors is going to underestimate student turnout. I’m basing this partly on the late surge in registrations in this demographic and partly on ‘opportunity sampling’ of posters in my area (the fancy term for keeping my eyes open when I’m out and about on foot!). Obviously this isn’t in any way representative, but comparing with posters at election time (GE2015 and May local elections, the area was marginal for both) suggests that overall interest in the referendum is high around here: there are a lot more posters than for either comparison election and definitely more in student houses. This may be partly because we’ve had deliveries of Remain leaflets with mini-posters printed on the back (Leave seem to have missed a trick there), but there are a LOT of these in windows, including plenty in student houses.

    I wonder if student interest has been driven partly by all the media coverage of them as relatively homogeneous Remain bloc with historically low turnout? Or does it reflect what we’re always being told to believe about today’s young people being more interested in issue-based politics rather than party-based politics?

  15. Crossbat11

    Don’t you also have to consider what manner and timing of dissolution will be conducive to a replacement that’s more to your taste?

    I suspect that if the outcome of a post-Leave election were easier to predict there would be more people planning to use their vote to give Cameron/his government a good kicking.

    I’d be interested to know how many plan to do this anyway. It could be added to those ‘issues which will determine your vote’ sections beloved of pollsters (I don’t think the responses are very reliable, but that’s beside the point here). Do they avoid doing this because they think the numbers are too small? Because they think social desirability bias will make people reluctant to admit to this strategy? Or because they don’t want to appear to be legitimising that strategy? I’m curious.

  16. James E: “By my calculation, that 88:8 lead in Gibraltar would shift the overall result to Remain by about 0.04%.”

    Ah well, if remain win by 0.02%, the Sun can go with “It’s Gib wot won it”

    But on a more serious note, it does seem that Brexit would be disastrous for Gibraltar, as, freed from EU constraints, the Spanish could close the border. I don’t suppose that these days many Brits reciprocate the fervent loyalty of Gibraltarians to the UK, but its maybe worth daring them a thought.

  17. it’s maybe worth sparing them a thought.

  18. There is not much experience of previous polling to inform us about this referendum (except perhaps that the polls are probably wrong!)

    The best indication is probably the Scottish referendum. OldNat may disagree with me, but I think there are many parallels:
    1) The out vote was more vociferous online, more committed, more anti-establishment and more emotional, while the stay in vote was quieter, more pragmatic, and perhaps more self-interested
    2) Issues of sovereignty and decision-making closer to home dominated the out campaign, while economic issues (project fear?) dominated the stay-in campaign
    3) Many people thought the out campaign would win on turnout, (but in the end the inn campaign delivered their vote – here we do not know if the parallel exists
    4) As I recall the Scottish blogosphere was very much in favour of Independence, and generally the leaders of the independence campaign had more credibility with voters

    OK, so lets look at the polls (helpfully summarised on this website). One month out, the stay-in vote looked nailed on, but during the short campaign the polls narrowed and one even gave a 6% lead to independence. The average of the last 10 polls was a 2.9% lead for the remain-in campaign. But the result was a 10.6% victory for remain-in. In the end people went for the safety of the status quo

    My conclusion from this is that to be confident of victory on the basis of polling evidence, VoteLeave need a 7.6% lead in the last 10 polls before 23rd June. But I would add to this that the UK is a much bigger electorate than Scotland and the big regional and social class differences (quite often contradictory) in voting intention make this referendum extremely hard to poll

  19. I think the Quebec referendum ’95 is very instructive as regards this referendum.

    The Remain camp had an 8% lead when the campaign began in mid Sept. Remain faltered as October began and by mid October Leave had a 4% lead. Leave had a 6% lead in the last poll before the vote.

    And yet on the day Remain squeaked across the line with a 1.2% lead.

    It feels like deja vu all over again to me…

  20. I hope that last comment is more in the spirit of this site than some of my previous ones!

  21. I still think there’ll be a late swing to the status quo. There’s some interesting material on voter psychology in this report:

  22. And the turnout in Quebec was 93%, Scotland 84%. I think there will be high turnout here but not quite so high as Scotland. At a guess 76%; turnout in 1975 was 64%. No UK election since ’97 has gone above 70%, and ’92 election was 77% and I’d pin interest levels at a similar level to that. Supposedly returning officers have been told to expect ~80%. c.70% is supposed to be the sweet spot for Remain.

  23. We could have a little informal contest to predict turnout. I go 61.5%.

  24. What’s interesting is that poll tightening in both Quebec and Scotland drove status quo voters to get out and vote. I imagine poll tightening is likely to do the same here so the risk of remain failing to get its vote out and leave winning off the back of a low turn out (which was a big fear as I understand it) should be low. And there is the risk that leave leads cause some leave voters to feel it doesn’t matter if the fail to vote.

    It all points to a very tight race.

    Gibraltar may yet tip it!

  25. I’m guessing 71% turnout.

    This is also the average of those who describe themselves as ’10/10′ to vote per the last couple of polls.

    On an different matter, Sterling has risen by a cent in the past hour against the dollar. Is there a poll out?

  26. @Partridge

    Please read Anthony Wells’s post above.

  27. I think the big unknown here is the postal vote figures. We really dont know what has been happening with the postal vote turnout and I think for all the polling which is taking place we shouldnt forget that people have actually voted and it would be interesting to look at postal vote turnout in different areas and what we can read into this.

    I think I am right in thinking that today is the first day of postal vote opening and verification so we should start getting proper reports on the turnout and of course the usual anecdotal reports of strength of the campaigns which should help us see a clearer picture of the uk.

  28. @Cotswold

    I for one voted over a week ago!

    But I am not sure any reports come out re turnout or anything else from postal votes in advance of polling day? Isn’t it all subject to purdah?

  29. Cotswold Tory,
    In Kirklees postal vote receipting sessions started on 7th June and are continuing periodically. In these the outer envelope is opened, and the postal vote statement verified. A receipt is being sent to overseas voters. I guess these sessions give an idea of turnout.

    Opening of the inner envelope will commence on Friday 17th, and continue daily up to polling day. Papers will be opened face down to avoid people counting the votes (but there is a somewhat contradictory statement that there will be opportunities to view any rejected ballots, which would obviously mean looking at them face up at some stage)

    I very much doubt if any official comments on turnout will be made before polling day. Scrutineers may speculate based on a comparison with the last general election, but I think those comparisons will be difficult…

  30. Anecdote alert-

    I have been out canvassing all day (just popped back for a cup of tea)… what we seem to be seeing is a very solid and strong leave vote which I think will be immune to any late min swing to the status quo. However this is not going to be the same for the undecideds who I still think (even as a leave supporter) will swing at the last min to what they know…

    This is going to come down to which ever is the bigger of the increased likliness of leave voters to turn out vs the strength of the last min swing back..

    Feeding into my last point about postal votes though what should be a little worry to the remain side is that so many votes have already been cast so there is no option for late swing with these people.

  31. Sorbus,

    Thanks very much for that link, which makes very interesting reading!

    A very different methodology to normal polling. If there is a ballot box swing to Remain as in Scotland and Quebec these people will get a lot of work in the future!

  32. My feeling would be that the turn out will be much lower than a general election, I just see fewer leaflets, fewer posters etc, although I’m sure the closeness of the result will help get a respectable number. People are talking about it.

    42% voted in the AV referendum, it will definitely be a lot higher than that I would suggest.

    The don’t knows might split heavily to don’t care enough and didn’t vote.

    I just think most people do not see this as the most important issue facing the country – a statement the polls have always backed. This will lower turnout. (I personally think Europe is hugely important)

    Incidentally a low turn out and a close result will be a rubbish answer because the losing side might not fully accept it.

  33. @Cotswold

    Anyone who has already voted wasn’t a Don’t Know so I don’t think it makes any difference (and even if it did it could apply equally to Leave) as I agree that the Don’t Knows will decide it and that they will break for the status quo as they have in every other vaguely comparable referendum.

  34. @Jamie

    If look at the report posted by Sorbus (which is very interesting), within their sample the referendum is perceived as the most important vote in a generation: most important for 54% of respondents, and among the top three for 81%.

    If that’s true of the populus as a whole then turnout should be higher than the 2015 GE.

  35. Jamie,

    Read that report that Sorbus posted.. people on both sides think this is a much more important vote than the last General Election… Interestingly Remain voters are quite emotional about the issue, not just Brexiteers

    However the political parties (who do the campaigning on the doorstep) do NOT think this is more important than a general election (with the exception of UKIP, who are not well organised in most places), and are also to a greater or lesser extent split on the issue. Hence the campaign is much less visible. People know the referendum is coming and will be reminded by tv and radio and I think turnout will be high

  36. Andrew111
    Glad you thought so.

    It implies that people who vote by post – especially those who vote early – probably aren’t subject to some of the pressures that the authors think drive last minute changes in preference.

    I’ll certainly buy the idea that the ritual of attending the polling station, seeing one’s fellow citizens (and their dogs!) lining up to do their democratic duty and holding that blunt pencil in one’s hand could have an impact on mindset.

    And that’s a thought-provoking possibility.

  37. Sorbus,

    I think the undecided postal voters will often tend to vote at the last minute (ie not till next weekend), and many will weigh their decision just as the survey suggests. the ones that CotswoldTory has been talking to will be firm in their opinions..

    One thing people are generally unaware of is that an unposted postal vote can be delivered at any polling station (I think!) up to the close of polls and will be counted. That might be a target for the campaigns…

    However I don’t think either campaign is going to be able to mount much of a polling day operation to be honest, compared with a general election..

  38. Andrew
    “However the political parties (who do the campaigning on the doorstep) do NOT think this is more important than a general election (with the exception of UKIP, who are not well organised in most places), and are also to a greater or lesser extent split on the issue. Hence the campaign is much less visible.”

    With that in mind, it will be interesting to see whether turnout is indeed higher than the GE. If it is, it will show that doorstep canvassing is not particularly effective (something I have suspected for years).

  39. @ The Last Fandango

    The difference between “leave” or “stay” in Canada came down to 54,888 votes in 1995 in Quebec, and was thought to be the decision of the “allophones” in Montreal to vote “NO”

    Allophones, as the leader of the Partis Quebecois said in a rather pithy speech on the night of the referendum are the non-Anglophone and non-Francophone ethnic voters, the Italians, etc.

    Further, I found the unofficial poll from Gibraltar interesting, as I observed this morning that the value of my British Pension, Pound against the Canadian $, has dropped by 11.2% since December, 2015.

    Not sure how many overseas British Pensioners are eligible to vote in the EU referendum, but I cannot wait to see what happens to the value of my pension if “Brexit” wins.

  40. Needs confirming but Leave lead by 5 on BOTH Guardian ICM phone and online polls!

  41. Thank you.

    The Sorbus report does not click through for me.

  42. As someone who is not a member of any party, but feels this issue is more important than any other, I have canvassed during this referendum for the first time. I would like to make some observations from my experience. Because it’s a non-party (or rather cross-party) referendum, I find very little hostility on the doorstep such as might be found when, say, wearing a Tory or Labour hat. Therefore, I’ve found people quite receptive to being door-knocked, leafleted etc. and willing to discuss things if they have the time. However, that said, I assume it’s a nightmare for the professional politicians and pollsters because they are fumbling in the dark due to having no previous data to work with. My experience is that, by and large, you simply can’t judge by demographic/ehtnic group/age group what peoples’ views are going to be. You get plenty of surprises! Final point – as time wears on I get the impression that a fair proportion of don’t knows won’t vote as they simply can’t figure out what to do. Although I do expect a turnout around 75%.

  43. I work in the city and my news feed are telling me 5 point lead for leave on both phone and Internet polls.

  44. No confirmation of the earlier poll info I gave so please completely IGNORE it for the moment, I should have held fire! Loads of rumours floating about.

  45. Further to my post – just seen a tweet regarding ICM poll (for Guardian I think) which has leave 50-45 and 49-44 ahead both phone and online. This might be the one referred to in Bantam’s post above

  46. Late swing to Brexit?

    Agree with others who say there is likely to be a swing to status quo on the day itself. It’s been in evidence in most other comparable referendums.

    Turnout crucial, of course. The higher the better for Bremain – anything below 70% and I believe Leave will win.

  47. I am predicting turnout of 73%

  48. ICM – 6 point lead for Leave in both online and phone polling

    53 Leave / 47 Remain
    53 Leave / 47 Remain

  49. Don’t knows may well be influenced by the reporting of the financial markets’ responses to latest polls. Plummeting FTSE and £ can only reinforce Project Fear.

    Re ICM ” ICM spox says they’ve not posted any poll. Guardian currently has it, not live as far as they’re aware.”

  50. Far too many polls now suggest a fairly consistent lead for Brexit. Even with late swings towards Remain…i can’t see Remain not coming up 2-4 points short.

    Their campaign seem to have no momentum at all and unlike the doom of a future economic meltdown, it seems like the immigration issue, that is actually real and very visible, is reasonating a lot more with voters

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