There are three polls in tomorrow morning’s papers – ORB in the telephone, YouGov in the Times and a NatCen poll in the Financial Times.

YouGov for the Times has topline figures of REMAIN 42%(-2), LEAVE 44%(+1), Don’t know or Won’t vote 13%, conducted between Friday and Sunday. While Leave nudge ahead of Remain again, YouGov continue to show an extremely close race (and it confirms the narrowing of the race from the seven point Leave lead they had a week ago).

ORB’s poll is reported in the Telegraph as showing Remain “surging back into the lead” with figures of Remain 53%(+5), Leave 46%(-3). These figures are based on only those certain to vote however, and ORB have previously suggested that they regard their figures for all voters as their primary measure. On those figures the movement is in the other direction – REMAIN 49%(nc), LEAVE 47%(+3).

Thirdly there is a NatCen poll. Full details of the NatCen poll were embargoed until midnight, but Reuters have the topline figures here. Headline voting intention is REMAIN 53%, LEAVE 47% – but it’s important to note that the fieldwork is very old, conducted between May 16th and June 12th, with two thirds of the fieldwork done before May 26th.

This means the NatCen poll is of limited use in measuring current support, but is an interesting methodological experiment. The poll was conducted online by recontacting people who took the randomly sampled British Social Attitudes Survey, making it effectively a small randomly recruited online panel (people who couldn’t be contacted online were interviewed by phone instead, taking several weeks over the fieldwork to maximise response rate). Random recruitment of online panels is often suggested as a potential way forward for polling, though it’s not necessarily a panacea (in the States Pew already have a randomly recruited online panel called the American Trends Panel, but when they benchmarked it on how representative it was compared to commercial online panels recruited from volunteers and it ended up mid table).

Looking back at other polling at about the time the NatCen poll was conducted, online polls were showing an average Remain lead of about two points, telephone polls were showing an average lead of about twelve points, so the six point Remain lead is somewhere inbetween the two.

The Natcen fieldwork took place between the significant shift towards Leave we saw at the start of June, and obviously before the possible movement back towards Remain in recent days. In the Reuters article NatCen are quoted as saying that responses moved towards Leave over the fieldwork period, though it’s not possible to tell if that was changing opinions or harder to reach people being more Leave. Slightly counter-intuitively it also says that people who answered the survey online were more Remain than people who answered by phone – though that could easily be because people who couldn’t take the survey online were older or poorer.

309 Responses to “YouGov, ORB and Natcen polls”

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  1. Anthony

    Line 1 – “ORB in the telephone”

  2. Nothing particularly significant. I think the previous ‘leave’ surge was bogus and nothing much has changed – it will be very close. In my opinion, ‘remain’ have a very small lead nationwide, but one that can easily be wiped out if the don’t knows lean towards leave. It will be a nail biter.

  3. knife edge still, and could go either way.

  4. Anthony, I should read your overviews more. That last poll is pointless and I can’t understand why it’s even released.

  5. So not all hope lost for Leave. I still think it will be a narrow(ish) Remain win on the day though.

    The Remain campaign are really going to have to tread carefully over the next 48 hours. They have been a pretty blunt instrument to date. Some finesse is called for.

    The Leave campaign needs to get Gisela Stuart and Frank Field out there, and try to persuade Farage to go on holiday for a bit.

    In other news, turns out my own MP has declared for Remain. That’s three out of three Plymouth MPs for staying in. I believe the city probably won’t listen to that…

  6. As a supporter of leave – 6 weeks ago I would have been delighted to see that Leave have a 2 point lead with yougov 2 days out from the big day. There is very little sign of any surge in remain – you can only see it if you take what looks like what could be a rouge yougov poll early last week showing a 7 point leave lead.

    Twitter earlier had a very complicated yougov sourced turnout v poll lead v result chart which appears to show that remain suffer at most levels of turnout which is news to me – but happy to take it

  7. Too close to call.

    500,000 votes in it.

    Won’t be putting a wager on this one!!

  8. “As a supporter of leave – 6 weeks ago I would have been delighted to see that Leave have a 2 point lead with yougov 2 days out from the big day. ”

    Well within a margin of error, so not very meaningful. The previous YouGov poll had remain leading by one point. My feeling is most ‘don’t knows’ will vote for the status quo, maybe by a 60:40 margin, so it will be very close.

  9. As a Remain supporter I feel a little more confident than a week ago but once again the polls are all over the place. Either way neither side will secure a convincing victory.

  10. Who is representing each side for the BBC debate tomorrow?

  11. It will be interesting. Whichever side wins there will be anger, bitterness and recriminations on the following day. A remain victory, especially a narrow one, will probably push many people to join UKIP and certainly vote for them – just as happened to the SNP after they lost the Scottish referendum. A number of Tory MPs may well defect to UKIP. If the ‘leave’ camp win Cameron will be furious and every possible mechanism will be looked at to delay or even filibuster the UK’s exit from the EU. Parliament is still very much pro-remain and a narrow ‘leave’ win will not be regarded as a sufficient mandate for leaving the EU. Whatever happens, political journalists will have a busy old time.

  12. @NeilA

    I think Gisela Stuart will be in the debate tomorrow on the Beeb along with Andrea Leadsom and Boris.

    Remain will be represented by Ruth Davidson, Sadiq Khan and Francis O’Grady (TUC leader)

    Remain have changed their team entirely, Leave have kept the team that delivered their polling surge.

  13. @ TANCRED

    “Parliament is still very much pro-remain and a narrow ‘leave’ win will not be regarded as a sufficient mandate for leaving the EU.”

    Dear, dear. I think a few posters were expecting a 10% remain lead by now.

  14. If Remain win, as I still hope and (just about) expect, they should give Farage a knighthood for services to encouraging common decency. His performances over the last few days have surely shoved more than just Varsi over the line. The British certainly have their share of xenophobes and blamers, but not as many as in many other countries, and certainly not 50%.

  15. Whilst polls may or may not be wrong, one thing that I am absolutely convinced about is that they give the best indication available as to what the current position may be. In GE’s knowledge of what’s happening in a few key marginal seats would give a huge insight into potential outcomes for the whole country. Not so for this one off poll. I think the betting market is assuming there will be a reversion to the status quo but does not give any insight other than current polls + assumed reversion to remain.

  16. I’m bored of the campaign and the polls that haven’t a clue, I just want to know the result. Nobody has any idea of turnout or the support on either side. The rebuilding of the Tories will be intriguing to watch.

  17. Dr Mibbles,

    Leave is Boris Johnson, Gisela Stewart and Andea Leadsom
    Remain is Sadie Khan, Ruth Davidson, Frances O’Grady

    Should be interesting. Mrs H-J and I have tickets (but entry not guaranteed!)

  18. RE TV debate Leave unchanged whilst Remain will be using all 3 subs after their poor showing in a similar 3 v 3 format on ITV last week

  19. @Zippy

    “As a supporter of leave – 6 weeks ago I would have been delighted to see that Leave have a 2 point lead with yougov 2 days out from the big day. There is very little sign of any surge in remain”

    I think you’re right. Most of our bien pensant commentators thought this was in the bag for remain from the start and the only debate was how big would be their margin of victory. This was the complacent view of the Remain campaign too, by all accounts, and the fact that it is this tight so close to polling day is quite extraordinary. No insouciance amongst the Remain campaigners now and I suspect it’s more prayers and crossed fingers for them between now and Thursday. They’ve thrown their best shots and fired off all their big guns and the polls are stubbornly refusing to move much at all. Narrow Remain win is still the most likely outcome, but it’s basically on a knife edge. Who’d have ever thought that?

    My sense is that the bi-polar choice presented by a referendum doesn’t lend itself necessarily to the normal rules of psephology. Consequently, I’m not at all sure about the inevitability of a drift back to the status quo choice come decision day. EU membership isn’t actually a big deal for many and the nurse isn’t a particularly appealing one to cling too. Neither is there much fear of something worse. In fact, I wouldn’t be surprised if Leave might actually enjoy the benefit of quite a few wavering pencils in the privacy of polling booths, either. Sod ’em all curmudgeons aplenty amongst the current electorate, I think. Could be their day on Thursday.

    I’m torn between Leave or Abstain at the moment. Paul Mason has written a brilliant piece in the Guardian that makes me a little more abstain than leave but what I won’t do is reward the authors of this appallingly ill-conceived party political stunt. We are being asked to intrude into a 45 year old Tory Party obsession and my instinct is to want no part of it.

    Congratulations to Wales (and England) tonight. The Welsh obsession with Rugger is a bit of a myth and football is watched and played by far more people in the principality. Nice to see the round ball game get a well deserved few minutes in the sun. As some sage said recently, Rugby in Wales is an event, football is a process.

  20. ORB’s last poll gave their likely-to-vote as the headline – after an adjustment that trimmed 20pp of turnout and flipped Scotland to Leave and London to nil all.

  21. Petra G ‘I’m bored of the campaign and the polls that haven’t a clue’

    So bored you find yourself here!

  22. that should be Sadiq not Sadie!

  23. Tancred

    “A remain victory, especially a narrow one, will probably push many people to join UKIP and certainly vote for them”

    Who knows what will happen in English politics after the referendum? However, it certainly won’t be –

    “just as happened to the SNP after they lost the Scottish referendum”

    The huge rise in the SNP vote to just under 50% (taking them to an overall majority in a PR Parliament) happened 3 years before the referendum.

    That proportion of the vote remained pretty stable through 2015 and 2016.

  24. Crossbat

    I can think of various reasons why people might vote Leave, but the “annoy Cameron” one leaves me the most mystified!

    Surely the main architects of this “appallingly ill-conceived party political stunt” are Nigel Farage and the Tory Brexiteers who held a gun to Cameron’s head??

  25. @ ANDREW111

    If it’s leave, Osborne will be the sacrificial lamb for the Brexiteers.

    Expect favourable terms for “Associate Membership” from Berlin within 48 hours.

    Cameron will stay.

  26. @ OldNat

    The methodology sounds quite … (I couldn’t find the appropriate, acceptable word). But it is possible that the marketing language put me off.

    Anyway, in a way it followed up on the enquiry, so it is positive, providing that the finding of the enquiry is correct and it could be projected onto a referendum.

    For a four-week fieldwork the assumption had to be made that nothing changes the intention. It could be right, some people here share this belief.

    The method combines various elements by steps, and while the overall MoE is OK, the MoE for the steps cannot be, so, while they could be right, we can’t validate it.

    There is an element of a Bayesian assumption in the methodology, which is fine, but it seemed not to be followed up.

    So – none can validate if they are on the right track, or just doing a facelift or it is plain quackery. Quite unfortunate, because there could be something in what they are doing …

  27. Rich

    “That last poll is pointless and I can’t understand why it’s even released.”

    John Curtice explains the point of this poll here –

    Despite the excitability of so many posters here [1] this remains a polling site, not a referendum one!

    [1] Surely, Leave supporters should be displaying good old-fashioned British phlegmatic behaviour instead of all this continental emotional nonsense, which should be the preserve of us Remainers.

  28. Tancred

    I would be suprised at tory MP defections to UKIP as Farage is very much still the face of the party and currently has a bad reputation among most of the public and the media. My hunch is that he is quite difficult to work under for those that don’t share his way of thinking judging by the animosity between him and Carswell. Until Farage’s grip on the party is loosened UKIP won’t be a very attractive party to defect to.

    I think more likely tory brexiteers will attempt a coup replacing much of the current frontbench with confirmed eurosceptics if leave win, and perhaps even if remain win.

  29. OLDNAT

    Yes, I am afraid the Nationalist surge in the General Election was only unexpected to people who ignore Holyrood elections (most people in London…)

    At the moment there is nothing to suggest UKIP can get past the 27% they got in the last Euro elections, and I would have expected a much better vote for them in Tooting if they were going to surge beyond 15-20%.. I think their big problem is that Farage really is very right wing, so the appeal to Labour voters tends to decay when people realise what he would actually do if he got power. If UKIP could somehow transform themselves into a more centrist ant-EU party they might do better, but the people currently in charge despise the centre ground… And there would not be much core vote for them there.

    My impression is that the SNP somehow transformed themselves from a party perceived as right of centre to one perceived as left of centre, and that was the secret of their success (but is now leading to some losses in more rural and middle class areas where the opposition unites around a single party)

  30. While a small Remain win may be among the most likely results, it is probably the worst outcome for the country – and the EU.

    A large win for Leave would see a swift process to negotiate the exit treaty – likely led by a new PM. This would also permit the EU to proceed more swiftly with deeper integration – even if they lose one or two more members along the way.

    A narrow win for Leave would force some serious thinking both within UK and the EU council. This result is the most likely to lead to an effort by the EU authorities to try to understand the message from the people (across the EU, not just in UK) that a change of direction is needed. It is also conceivable that Cameron could hang on as PM, and use his defeat to extract further changes to the benefit of the UK. I would not rule out a new treaty and second referendum – which could finally see the UK play a pivotal role in reshaping the EU.

    A big win for remain is unlikely. But if it happened, then it is likely to mean that the EU pushes full steam ahead with more integration. This could cause problems and a second UK referendum further down the line, but could equally mean the UK being sucked into the eurozone. It is also likely that Cameron’s “renegotiation” will be quietly forgotten.

    A narrow vote to stay on the other hand will be greeted by an immense sigh of relief from the EU establishment, who will then continue with fudges and bickering as if nothing had happened. There is a real prospect that the validity of the “renegotiation” – or some elements of it – is challenged by the Parliament or the ECJ. Meanwhile discontent with the EU within the UK in general – and the Conservative Party in particular – will continue to fester until another crisis erupts and forces an acrimonious exit. Domestically, we will face a lame-duck government limping on until Cameron finally steps down. There is almost certain to be a recession soon after such an outcome, and it is likely to be worse for the UK than under any of the alternatives.

  31. I just watched a fascinating debate from Glasgow on the BBC News Channel, with Jim Sillars, a formidable SNP lady, Kezia Dugdale, and Lord (Michael) Forsyth.

    I found it very interesting and of course quite an interesting section on the effect of Brexit on whether there would be a new referendum.

    Overall, the high quality of the discussion, including the points made by the audience, put to shame the debates in other parts of the UK.

  32. andrew111

    I am no expert on Scotland at all but I think SNP position themselves in the mainstream of Scottish political life.

  33. Hardly the “game, set and match to remain” that some people have been hyping it up as. Not even really a change in momentum, just reversion to the mean after a couple of good polls for leave.

  34. The remain picks for the big debate are really… odd. It’s almost like the BBC are trying to tick all the minority boxes (which is a very BBC thing to do).

  35. Paul H-J

    I can tell you one country that is desperate for a Remain vote of any size is Switzerland. Following their narrow vote to withdraw from freedom of movement all negotiations on a new deal have been put on hold pending the result of the much bigger UK referendum. If there is a Leave vote the Swiss expect to remain in limbo (with all sorts of benefits like University funding suspended) for at least another 2 years..

    A narrow Brexit vote would almost certainly lead Parliament (with its pro-EU majority) to go for an EEA deal. But that would lead to howls of anguish from UKIP and the Tory right since it would include freedom of movement and a significant financial contribution. No stability there…

  36. “Expect favourable terms for “Associate Membership” from Berlin within 48 hours.”

    Not a chance in hell. The Germans don’t want to set a precedent and be under no illusion that there will be a cosy treaty signed up behind closed doors. It won’t happen. If ‘leave’ win Britain will be thrown out on its ear and isolated.

  37. Can I ask the forum members – what is the size of the electorate for this referendum (and the regional breakdowns if they are available)? Apologies for asking as no doubt it’s been posted somewhere before but I haven’t seen it.


    It’s not the BBC who select the people in the debate (as far as I understand). I think the Remain people must want to make an appeal to the Labour people, as two of those three are leftist and the third (Ruth Davidson) is a more “moderate” kind of Conservative. She seems to be something of a star, so may do well on the night.


    I remember Labour always used to scoff at the SNP as the “Tartan Tories” In 2007 only Nicola Sturgeon won a Glasgow constituency and most of the SNP constituencies were in rural areas

    You don’t hear Tartan Tory much these days. The Scottish mainstream is certainly left of centre and as you say the SNP have now claimed it.

    But Oldnat will no doubt have a more accurate perspective!

  40. @Prof Howard

    The SNP lady is Joanna Cherry she was a lawyer now an MP. I think debates in Scotland are better because during the two year referendum campaign with countless public meetings our activists and politicians got used to debating.

  41. It seems to me that Scottish politics is less polarized, with all of the main parties clustered fairly close to the centre ground. That probably helps.


    “Until Farage’s grip on the party is loosened UKIP won’t be a very attractive party to defect to.”

    I agree with this. He has done a brilliant job taking UKIP to where it has been for the last few years, but he seems incapable of accepting slightly different opinions within the party, which is now necessary if UKIP is to progress further. Suspending Suzanne Evans, who seemed to me to be the acceptable face of UKIP was a major mistake.

  43. Pete B

    It seems are opinion on this is very similar. It was Evans’s suspension that first made me think that perhaps Farage was not the asset he used to be. Evans was one of a handful of people UKIP could rely on for reasonable media performances and if it is true that he pushed her out primarily because she said he was perceived as divisive then I think his judgement is more than questionable. However I too credit him with taking UKIP up to where they were in 2015 but since then they have stalled and have not utilised calmer media performers like Steven Wolfe who I thought could have been a real asset to the leave campaign.

  44. On a purely tactical level, the ‘Breaking Point’ poster is a stupid own-goal by Farage. He already has the votes of people who are responsive to this sort of stuff. What it will do is alienate moderate, voters who nevertheless have a problem with aspects of the EU and might be considering voting ‘leave’. He did the same before the last election with his outburst about foreigners with aids. If I didn’t know better, I’d suspect Farage to be a deliberate establishment plant as the BNP always claimed.

  45. Neil A

    I’m not sure that Scottish parties are any more clustered around the “centre ground” than English parties are.

    Our centre ground is a bit differently orientated than the Westminster one (not necessarily more “left” as pandering to our view of ourselves as more “communitarian” – which allows concepts such as “social equality” to be expressed in less partisan ways).

    The massive fault line in Scottish politics is independence, of course, but we have largely redefined that along party lines – which actually makes it less bitter.

    English politics seems much more confused. There are huge gulfs within the parties over “the EU” – though that is actually a surrogate for the anger of those bypassed by the benefits of globalisation, regional disparities, and to cite Fintan O’Toole, not being clear as to “Us” is.

    The rhetoric (often used on here) about “Left” and “Right” seems very dated, and no longer an adequate description. I think your politics no longer reflects your society – and that is dangerous.

  46. As to the Remain participants in the BBC debate –

    Khan from London : Davidson from Scotland : TU guy

    sounds like Remain are planning to solidify their base, rather than making new converts.

  47. Jim Stott

    I think the “Breaking Point” poster was due to a belief that it is more important to encourage anti-immigration voters to turn out on the day for leave than to convert undecideds to become soft leave supporters who may not vote at all. Additionally I think Farage was emboldened by the polls of last week suggesting that he was right to focus on immigration and could only see benefits to pushing it further, though this theory only holds up if the poster wasn’t in the pipeline prior to leave taking the lead.

    If the leave leads of last week were genuine and undecideds break towards remain significantly on the day then the poster was a tactical mistake.

  48. Interesting interview with the German Finance minister Schauble in which he says:

    ‘At some point, the British will realise they have taken the wrong decision. And then we will accept them back one day, if that’s what they want.’

    Am I mistaken in believing that Cameron has said that this is a one off vote and that the door of the EU will close forever, if the vote goes for Leave?

  49. An interesting analysis of the orb poll in the telegraph

    “Overall turnout has jumped to 65 per cent from 62 per cent last week, driven in part by a significant increase in the number of Remainers who are certain to come out to vote this Thursday.

    Among this group, turnout has risen by a substantial 9 points to 69 per cent.

    Meanwhile turnout among Leavers has dropped off by 4 points to 64 per cent, opening up their five-point net turnout deficit – the first time turnout has been lower among Leave voters than Remain voters.”

    So it really does come down to turnout. Will all those young folk stay at home like they normally do, giving victory to the leavers, or will all those DE leavers stay at home like they normally do, handing victory to remain?

    @Syzygy – there is never a ‘last referendum’ – just look at Quebec in Canada. But given that it is the young that want to remain and the old want to leave, if we leave now, we will very likely re-join in the future once all these old leavers are replaced by generational churn – the same way Scotland will get its Independence in time.

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