BMG were supposed to put out their final EU poll yesterday, but it was put back for a day because of the murder of Jo Cox and eventually emerged this morning. BMG carried out parallel telephone and online polls, and unlike ICM who no longer find any difference at at in their dual-mode experiments, BMG continue to find a big gulf:

  • In their online poll BMG found topline figures of REMAIN 41%, LEAVE 51%, Don’t know 9%. Like other recent polls this reflected a big shift towards leave, with remain down by 2 points, Leave up by 6 points
  • In their telephone poll BMG found a small lead for Remain – REMAIN 46%, LEAVE 43%, Don’t know 11%

BMG also reallocated don’t knows based upon how they answered other EU questions in their phone survey, this produced final topline figures of Remain 53%, Leave 47%. Note that the fieldwork for the poll was conducted between the 10th-15th June, so wholly before the death of Jo Cox. Full details of the polls are here.

Secondly today we have a poll from Surveymonkey. Many readers will recognise Surveymonkey as a software platform for conducting surveys – the poll was conducted by randomly picking some of the people taking other Surveymonkey surveys and then directing them an EU survey – so very different from panel-based online surveys. Surveymonkey did the same at the general election with somewhat mixed results: their poll had the Conservatives six points ahead of Labour, so in that sense was far more accurate than other polls… but the reason was because they significantly underestimated both Conservative and Labour support, so actually had a larger average error than some other polls. Anyway, on the EU referendum they found topline figures of REMAIN 48%, LEAVE 48%, No answer 4%. Make of that what you will – full details are here. Fieldwork was between the 8th and 15th June, so again, before Jo Cox’s murder.

Third is a poll from a company called qriously, whom I have never previously heard of. As far as I can tell the poll was conducted by embedding survey questions in adverts on smartphone apps. The data is weighted by age, gender, region, past vote and education so is making an effort to produce representative results – the question is to what degree, if at all, the sampling method is capable of producing a representative sample, which we cannot really tell. Their poll between the 13th and 16th June found topline figures of REMAIN 40%, LEAVE 52%, Don’t know 9% – so more favourable towards Leave than any other polling. They also released figures for people interviewed on Friday morning after Jo Cox’s murder, which were REMAIN 32%, LEAVE 52%, Don’t know 16% – a significant movement from Remain to don’t know. I would treat these Friday figures with a lot of caution, it’s a method that is unproven in political polling, the shift from remain to don’t know doesn’t make much intuitive sense as a reaction to the murder, and most importantly, the fieldwork was only conducted on a weekday morning, which may itself skew the make up of the sample. I would strongly suggest waiting to see what other polls conducted after the murder show. Details of the polling are here.

Tonight we should get new figures from at least YouGov in the Sunday Times and Opinium in the Observer, possibly others.

124 Responses to “Final BMG figures, and two more unusual polls…”

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  1. I’ve been thinking about the Scots Indie Referendum and the EU one. Although the Nats lost, it let the nationalist genie out of the bottle and can’t be put back in…I wonder if a remain vote will see the losing voters desert mainstream parties en masse?

    Depending where they go, it could be a chilling prospect. Nationalism is a deadly, dangerous creed.

  2. Fascinating detail in the BMG phone poll of how the differential between the sides changes as a result of subsequent callbacks.

    1st call (45% of final total) – Remain lead 1.1%
    2nd call (30.4% of final total) – Remain lead 5.6%
    3rd call (13% of final total) – Remain lead 3.8%
    4th call (7.6% of final total) – Remain lead 4.4%
    5th call (3% of final total) – Remain lead 3.9%
    6th call (0.9% of final total) – Remain lead 3.8%
    7th call (0.1% of final total) – Remain lead 3.9%
    8th call (0.1% of final total) – Remain lead 3.8%

    Which might suggest that Leavers are “easier to find” than Remainers. If that is the case, that would match the perception that Leavers are more enthusiastic about the whole process (as Yessers were in Scotland), and that very fact might over emphasise their strength in polls.

    As has often been pointed out, referendums are very different from elections of political parties.

  3. Nick P

    So I’m “deadly and dangerous” am I?

    Silly boy.

  4. Does anyone know if there’ll be an Exit poll on Thursday?

    There wasn’t one for the Scottish referendum (and can’t recall if we had one for the AV one)

  5. NEILJ
    Why should this vote prove to be any more final than the result of the 1975 Referendum? If there is a Remain win next week and UKIP start winning by-elections on an anti-EU platform in 2018/2019 the pressure for another vote will begin to mount again.

  6. OldNat, you are the most dangerous person on this site…. ;)

  7. Gordon – apparently not according to something I read somewhere (maybe AW).

  8. @GRAHAM
    ‘Why should this vote prove to be any more final than the result of the 1975 Referendum? If there is a Remain win next week and UKIP start winning by-elections on an anti-EU platform in 2018/2019 the pressure for another vote will begin to mount again.’

    I think you have answered your own question. The last E.U. referendum was over 40 years ago. I do not say there will never be another referendum (if we vote for remain, a big if) but if any one tried to make us go through this again in the next few years I believe they will be punished. In another 20 years or so who knows.

    By-elections, similar to the E.U. elections are often used as a protest vote and are really not that significant, the Liberals used to win them regularly.
    I would grant you if UKIP won most seats at the next General Election you will have a point, but the chances of that happening are virtually nil.

  9. It’s the Creed not the person that is dangerous, ON. Can ensnare all sorts of intelligent people.

  10. gordonabnervon

    No exit poll – they depend on going to the same polling stations each time and comparing with last time, so no basis for it.

    NICKP: You have to remember the Scots Nats were already the governing party in Scotland… I think calling them “deadly and dangerous” was out of order, although I agree that elsewhere Nationalists often are..

    I have been really surprised at how poorly UKIP did in the Tooting by-election (and local by-elections). I think the fallout of this vote is extremely unpredictable, whichever way it goes.

  11. In a democracy, no issue is resolved forever. The EU may change, the electorate may swing one way or another. The last ten years, economically, have been an exercise I kicking the can down he road. A remain vote will be a fairly hefty kick. But sooner or later there is public sector debt, private debt, a current account deficit, and an enormous bill for new housing that will all come live at some point. Personally, I see no good answers.

  12. I guess we’ll be relying on Sunderland again then for the first actual results?

  13. Fascinating interview with Emmanual Macron, former French finance minister, that rather sums up the internal dynamics of the EU.

    He believes that even if the vote is for remain, France will immediately launch initiatives to ensure there are no other nations that think of asking for special status, saying that the deal offered to the UK was “an exceptional status that should not be extended to others”.

    He then is quoted as saying – “To avoid the trap of Europe fragmenting on the economy, security and identity, we have to return to the original promises of the European project: peace, prosperity and freedom. We should have a real, adult, democratic debate about the Europe we want.”

    So, we are allowed to have a real, adult and democratic debate about the Europe we want, but we aren’t allowed to consider half of the options on the table.

    Just about sums it up, but what pains me is the fact that these people don’t even seem to be aware of what is coming from their lips.

  14. andrew

    What I said was, “depending upon where they go…”

    I think history tells us about how dangerous Nationalism is.

    And as a man of 57, I probably am silly, but probably not a boy, ON.

  15. “Nationalism is a deadly, dangerous creed.”

    Is there any ideology that cannot be substituted for “nationalism” here?


  16. I think I pointed out a couple of days ago that France would be the biggest headache for a post-Brexit government.

  17. If anyone is interested I have been out and about in Kirklees, Huddersfield and Dewsbury constituencies (not Batley and Spen). I have seen a total of 3 posters in windows – 2 remain and one leave. Mind you in Kirklees displaying posters in elections has gone out of fashion, but all the parties put up hundreds on lamp posts, even in local elections.

    So far I have seen a total of about 40 Leave posters on lamp posts, entirely on main roads. (Also 3 large UKIP posters on a roundabout below the M62 which have already been torn off the fence and thrown in the field by someone) . A similar number of Lib Dem Remain posters and now finally today Labour Remain posters have started going up. On the Saturday before the May local elections the same drive would have revealed far more UKIP posters than there are total Leave posters, and hundreds more for Labour, Tories, Lib Dems (in certain wards) and Greens. Well, you can understand why there are no Tory posters, but I would have expected far more generic Leave and Remain posters by now. It seems that either the enthusiasm or the organisation for this has been lacking (probably the organisation – these posters are normally organised by constituency parties and I suspect they have assumed someone else will do it)

  18. @Alec – Good post.

  19. “Is there any ideology that cannot be substituted for “nationalism” here?”

    Not sensibly.

  20. Old article from 2004, but interesting, nonetheless –

    It details how companies and contracts can use EU law to employ people below UK minimum wage rates, legally.

    On the bright side, there are proposals to amend directives to mean that workers posted overseas would have to be paid at the host nations minimum standards, but only after 2 years – most building contracts will be over by then.

    The legal loopholes in minimum wages is something else I’ve learned about during this campaign.

  21. NEILJ
    I don’t have strong views on the EU one way or the other – it is not a salient issue for me. I can well imagine,however, in a few years time a scenario where following some crisis leading to a further surge of immigration and UKIP will have a ready opening to tell the British people ‘You were duped in 2016. Look what is happening now!’. I am afraid that many will be receptive to that message.

  22. The events on Thursday would not have affected the postal vote. This vote was highlighted on many blogs as being in the Leave favour. What percentage would postal votes have been up to this time, assuming approx 65 % turnout.

  23. Alec,
    Macron has mostly made it abundantly clear that the only deal on the table after Brexit will be either Leave completely or join the EEA. In other words none of the “have your cake and eat it” that some of the Brexit spokespeople have suggested. Seems perfectly reasonable to me…

    Freedom of movement is an absolute pillar of the EU and it really beats me how some people seem to think Cameron could or should have negotiated us out of it (especially since he believes it is in British interest to have it).

    One of the big problems with this referendum is that Remain voters know pretty well what they will get afterwards (more of what we have now), while Leave voters seem to have a wide range of conflicting expectations, many of which are very unlikely to be realised.. It is a bit like the Tory-LibDem coalition, which had been backed by more than 50% of the voters but proved extremely unpopular as people said “but I never voted for tuition fees/bedroom tax/NHS reforms etc etc”

  24. OLDNAT

    all the percentage changes in the BMW callbacks are well within margin-of-error for the sample size, so that doesn’t really tell us much

  25. *BMG

  26. ANDREW111

    Of course Macron is going to say that before a vote, he wants to scare people into voting Remain for his own reasons.

    In reality however, France is not going to hurt it’s own economy more than it hurts ours to ‘teach us a lesson’. Their government isn’t going to let thousands of workers at Renault and L’oreal get made redundant to spite the UK. The notion is ridiculous.

  27. @Andrew111 – Macron for his part only speaks for the French, and it is seemingly more likely that he will not be holding office after the elections in 2017.

    This is one thing that really gets me about the French and German positions concerning the EU. Constantly they go on about the EU being a democratic block of 28 countries when they want to force one country or another into toeing the EU line but then the French and German governments seem to dictate what that EU line is. This is the failure of the EU, it was designed to stop France and Germany again going to war and therefore they think they are the only partners in the block that counts. It is not up to Hungary or Latvia to declare what the EU policy would be and it is also not up to France or Germany to declare what the EU policy will be. It is up to the Governments of each member state to negotiate together to come up with a policy, and hell knows the EU with presently 28 members seldom manage to do that, and even when they do there are so many exclusions that it becomes pointless, and should a country not abide by it they just ignor the policy it would seem.

    This just reinforces why I think the UK is better off out of the EU. When a club is badly managed stop subscribing to it and use your money more productively is my opinion.

  28. @Andrew111 – I would agree – the post Brexit options would have to be fair to both the UK and other member states, alongside Norway etc. Having said that, the EU is decided by negotiations, and the more powerful tend to get preferential treatment.

    You are also correct in stating that freedom of movement is a central pillar of the EU, but my issue was with the fact that Macron said we need a debate, and then pre judged what that debate would end up agreeing to.

    There is nothing to say that the current model of free movement needs to be retained, and indeed there are sound economic reasons to argue that it is promoting inefficiencies in host nations and drags of development in donor countries.

    If something is no longer effective, or critically no longer has wholesale democratic support, then it needs changing.

    This is the nub of the issue with the EU – change often ignores the democratic will of its peoples, and what people actually want is rarely offered. This is really what Macron is saying.

  29. NOHJ

    according to this postal voters in 2015 made up 16.8% of the electorate

    The turnout amongst postal voters was 85%, compared with 65% overall.

    Because postal voters include a higher proportion of older voters and because older voters are strongly inclined towards Leave according to the polls, it would be expected that postal votes would break strongly for Leave. However whatever data you have heard about is extremely unlikely to be representative, since it is based on catching glimpses of ballot papers being placed face down on a table

  30. ROY
    I don’t speak for Hope not Hate but the accusation that they prevented Mr Farage speaking in Northampton doesn’t hold water. They don’t generally demonstrate but concentrate on leafleting and registering potential voters. They have supported opposition to groups like the BNP very successfully in places like Dagenham but don’t appear to have a stance on this Referendum, bar trying to get under represented groups to participate. I get the impression that their attitude to UKIP, whilst hostile, is more nuanced and still evolving.
    Nobody may read the Guardian anymore but it is extremely popular online (and free).
    Anecdotal evidence from Tory voting rural Suffolk with UKIP fringes is that the last day or two has seen a small but significant mushrooming of Remain posters in windows, as if folk have been suddenly emboldened to show their colours. Attending a concert in Cambridge last Thursday the contrast between the town, solidly Remain and the surrounding country 99% Leave was somewhat surreal.
    I don’t know about getting our country back but I’m looking forward to getting my life back after Thursday. I can’t imagine there’ll be any appetite anytime soon to go through all this again.

  31. “As far as I can tell the poll was conducted by embedding survey questions in adverts on smartphone apps…. – the question is to what degree, if at all, the sampling method is capable of producing a representative sample, which we cannot really tell.”

    If smartphones [I don’t have one] work anything like PC/Laptop browsers, then surely more shrewd/savvy users will be using ad-blockers.

    If this is the case, it would be interesting to see how this would skewer the results, if at all.

  32. Nick P

    57? But a boy to me! :-)

    However, anyone who thinks there is a single “Creed” of Nationalism, Socialism, Conservatism, Liberalism, Anarchism, Communism, or most “isms”, simply doesn’t know very much about political movements.

    Alternatively, they create a single definition for them in their own heads, and then apply that to all circumstances. Mind you, that is just a different form of ignorance.

  33. There won’t be any public exit polls. However, private companies based in the City of London have apparently commissioned exit polls for their own purposes.

  34. Yes, the qriously approach is very interesting. I wonder whether they will do any more before the vote?

    Incidentally I just did a Yougov poll about Jo Cox, and one of the questions was ‘Do you think MPs are undervalued’. Only 28% thought they were, and only 14% of UKIP supporters. This seems to agree with the ‘Peasants Revolt’ theory, and that UKIP are largely a ‘plague on both your houses’ party.

  35. PETE B
    ‘Incidentally I just did a Yougov poll about Jo Cox, and one of the questions was ‘Do you think MPs are undervalued’. Only 28% thought they were, and only 14% of UKIP supporters. This seems to agree with the ‘Peasants Revolt’ theory, and that UKIP are largely a ‘plague on both your houses’ party.’

    Seems harsh on their only M.P. Douglas Carswell, but figures don’t lie I suppose

  36. Andy JS

    Aren’t you using “exit polls” in the wrong sense?

    The “exit polls” used at UK GEs are based on selecting a representative sample of polling stations where the distribution of votes at the previous election is known.

    That can’t happen at a referendum.

    There will be polling on 23rd June by Populus (and, I’d guess, by other pollsters). It’s the ideal way to test methodologies.

    That hedge funds have also commissioned private polls, in order to make a fast buck or two. is not surprising – though I do hope they have commissioned pollsters with rotten methodology, and they lose a bundle! :-)

  37. Yeah just had John Curtice confirm no exit polls as ‘none commissioned by the TV companies”

  38. Those Icelandic Nationalists in the crowd seem rather pleased. :-)

  39. One of the great successes of the left in this country is to demonise and label English nationalism as dangerous and nasty. In other countries, nationalism is a source of national pride. Who was that labour MP who made a really nasty comment about a house in her constituency that had a Union Jack outside. That’s the stuff am talking about, and I am guessing might be a reason Labour have lost a lot of working class voters over the last 5-10 years.

  40. The Times leader states that Brexit is too risky and Business as Usual would be dismal.

    It hopes that the whole referendum will be a chastening experience, after which Britain can lead a charge to “a new alliance of sovereign EU nations dedicated to free trade and reform led by Britain.”

    It’s like those times when you look at the options, none are easy, you can’t make up your mind, and then choose something which is just unaccountable. If you’ve ever played Diplomacy, you’ll know what I mean. The direction of Europe will be dominated by the internal logic of maintaining the Euro and maintaining Schengen. I am not sure why the Times thinks its option exists.

  41. Rich

    It wasn’;t a Union flag but a St. George’s Cross.

    The problem with putting all ‘nationalisms’ in the same category is that there are obvious differences between those nations which have spent most of their time struggling to defend their identity and those who have spent most of their time trying to destroy the identity of others. Turkish nationalism cannot be judged as the same as Armenian or Kurdish nationalism.

    Of course, a nation’s nationalism may change. German nationalism in the 19th century might well be regarded as something positive, whereas under National-Socialism it would be regarded very negaitively.

    The only way to get rid of nationalism is to go back to a non-nation state world – such as existed in Europe prior to around 1100 (social divisions across Europe were based on education, not on nationality) and in the Ottoman Empire prior to its collapse in 1918.

  42. @Ashman
    What your post shows is that the simplistic picture of the effect of exchange rate fluctuations on trade with the EU is more complicated than that I expressed in my post. That is exactly the point I was making to Ludlownewboy.
    Otherwise I don’t really understand your points.
    Our trade in very rough figures from this link []
    In 2014, the United Kingdom exported $472B and imported $663B, resulting in a negative trade balance of $191B. In 2014 the GDP of the United Kingdom was $2.99T [so exports are 16% of total. ]
    The link then says our trade is mostly with what is tabulated below: but means about 1/3 of our exports and about half of our imports are with a few trading partners. Nearly half of our negative trade balance arises from our trade with the EU, the other half mostly from China and Switzerland.
    United States ($51B exports to, ($44.4B) imports from
    Germany ($46.5B),exports to; $100B imports from
    Netherlands ($34.2B) exports to; (Rotterdam to send elesewhere??) $51B imports,
    France ($27B).exports to ($41.5B) imports from
    Taking G,N,F as EU $107 exports to; $192 imports from
    Add to imports China ($62.7B), Switzerland ($33.6B)
    Total exports $158B Imports $333B
    If all the above trade with EU ceased altogether our balance of payments deficit would be halved at the cost of losing 22% of our export trade.
    This hardly fits with the importance attached to our membership of the single market, nor with the predicted total disaster if we left EU. Tell me where you think I am going wrong.

  43. @rich

    The MP in question was Emily Thornberry. But it wasn’t her constituency, it was during the by-election in Rochester & Strood

    She’s the MP for Islington South & Finsbury (she lives in the constituency too – on the same road Tony Blair did before he moved to Downing Street)

  44. @John B, Rich,

    Also it wasn’t in her own constituency, which is in Islington (insert stereotype here – and having worked there, you won’t be far off).

    It was in a working class area in another constituency, which was rather the point. A lady from the smoke coming down to sneer at the poor people sort of thing.

    Having said that, I really like Emily Thornberry. (I think she’s clever, sensible and *ahem* a little bit foxy) but she did step out of line on that occasion

    For me the risk isn’t really “nationalism” per se, it’s the innate tendency of human groups to pick teams and then “other” everyone else’s teams in order to generate a feeling of team identity.

    It happens with sport, with countries, with religions, with regions, with cities, with professions, with political philosophies.

    It basically comes down to “Look, fellow [Christians/Muslims/Rangers supporters/Irishmen/Socialists] as I punch this accursed [Muslim/Christian/Celtic supporter/Englishman] in the face and thereby demonstrate how much I belong in our group and how much better our group is than their group”.

    The concept was tested in the “Robbers Cave” experiment.

    Loving your country or thinking your country is great isn’t really the problem, there’s more to it than that.

  45. @Gordon

    You beat me to it. I do like to go on.. I should be snappier…

  46. via Britain Elects

    EU referendum poll:
    Remain: 44% (-)
    Leave: 44% (+2)
    (via Opinium, online / 14 – 17 Jun)

  47. @ Alec

    In reply to a few of your comments, i am a little confused by what your expectations of what the ideal EU format would be in regard to the UK. it is not perfect and never would be, because it has been a project developed over 40 years. The various Prime Ministers and UK governments have not blindly accepted EU changes, taking the UK electorate with them, without their permission. It was up to EU sceptics in the various political parties to make the case, win leadership roles and take it to the electorate at elections. It has never happened because the majority viewed EU membership to be an advantage to the UK.

    Remember that a fair portion of the record near 32 million working population are immigrants. The UK is more successful because of the immigration that has occured and would be even better off had it invested in infrastucture including house building over the last 10 years or so. If there are growing pains including lack of houses, school places, NHS capacity etc, it is because UK government has not invested enough. George Osbornes economic plans to be in surplus by 2019 are based on UK population increasing by 1 million.

    If UK votes for Brexit freedom of movement would continue for years to come. The Tories would be in turmoil with a likely leadership contest over this Summer. The triggering of clause 50 to start EU withdrawal might not happen straightaway under Cameron and he would leave it to his successor. Then you have 2 years before WTO rules apply, followed by years of negotiating with EU and others. I cannot see any changes to immigration rules before May 2020. Then there would be a general election to confuse matters. Meanwhile the uncertainty is affecting the UK economy, with investors placing their money elsewhere.

    Eurozone countries are gradually recovering and if the UK does not choke this off with Brexit, then i expect some of these political and economic worries to go away. i don’t think the EU is to blame for the current problems. We are facing a changing world with globalisation and a war on the EU’s Mediterranean border. Europe is stronger for having the EU, but politicians rarely make the case for this and instead blame any of their own government failings on ‘outside’ issues which sometimes includes the EU. It is just too easy and in the UK, they have a media that salivates on anti EU stories.

    I think so many of the UK electorate are confused and i am not sure what will motivate people to vote either way.

  48. OLD NAT.
    Tweet says that when there is a ‘nudge’ question the Remain are head 36 28 for the Don’t knows.

    I think it depends on turn out, swing back and shy Leavers

  49. joseph1832
    Sensible debate is not done by denying others the right to speak but by reasoned argument against their point of view.
    Like it or not most of Mr Farage’s predictions have indeed come to pass. i.e. thousands of immigrants from Romania and Bulgaria, Pressure on housing and schools caused by the vast growth in population in a short period of time due to a lack of border control. These issues are now being recognised by both parties who only a short time ago were ridiculing such forecasts. Its not about race its about space and we do not have the infrastructure in place to accommodate such a social change in such a short period of time.

  50. Andrew Watson
    I live in Northampton.
    shortly before the UKIP bus was due to arrive a large contingent of Hope not Hate activists arrived on Northampton market square equipped with loud hailers intent on drowning Mr Farage out. There were several very heated exchanges with the locals and the Police were called to try to restsore order. In order to avoid things getting out of hand the bus was directed to Blisworth, a small village outside the town. Therefore many outers were denied the opportunity to hear Mr Farage speak. How do I know this I WAS THERE. that is a disgrace to democracy

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