Almost a month on from the referendum campaign I’ve had chance to sit down and collect my thoughts about how the polls performed. This isn’t necessarily a post about what went wrong since, as I wrote on the weekend after the referendum, for many pollsters nothing at all went wrong. Companies like TNS and Opinium got the referendum resolutely right, and many polls painted a consistently tight race between Remain and Leave. However some did less well and in the context of last year’s polling failure there is plenty we can learn about what methodology approaches adopted by the pollsters did and did not work for the referendum.

Mode effects

The most obvious contrast in the campaign was between telephone and online polls, and this contributed to the surprise over the result. Telephone and online polls told very different stories – if one paid more attention to telephone polls then Remain appeared to have a robust lead (and many in the media did, having bought into a “phone polls are more accurate” narrative that turned out to be wholly wrong). If one had paid more attention to online polls the race would have appeared consistently neck-and-neck. If one made the – perfectly reasonable – assumption that the actual result would be somewhere in between phone and online, one would still have ended up expecting a Remain victory.

While there was a lot of debate about whether phone or online was more likely to be correct during the campaign, there was relatively little to go on. Pat Sturgis and Will Jennings of the BPC inquiry team concluded that the true position was probably in between phone and online, perhaps a little closer to online, by comparing the results of the 2015 BES face-to-face data to the polls conducted at the time. Matt Singh and James Kanagasooriam wrote a paper called Polls Apart that concluded the result was probably closer to the telephone polls because they were closer to the socially liberal results in the BES data (as issue I’ll return to later). A paper by John Curtice could only conclude that the real result was likely somewhere in between online and telephone, given that at the general election the true level of UKIP support was between phone and online polls. During the campaign there was also a NatCen mixed-mode survey based on recontacting respondents to the British Social Attitudes survey, which found a result somewhere in between online and telephone.

In fact the final result was not somewhere in between telephone and online at all. Online was closer to the final result, and far from being in between the actual result was more Leave than all of them.

As ever, the actual picture was not quite as simple as this and there was significant variation within modes. The final online polls from TNS and Opinium had Leave ahead, but Populus’s final poll was conducted online and had a ten point lead for Remain. The final telephone polls from ComRes and MORI showed large leads for Remain, but Survation’s final poll phone poll showed a much smaller Remain lead. ICM’s telephone and online polls had been showing identical leads, but ceased publication several weeks before the result. On average, however, online polls were closer to the result than telephone polls.

The referendum should perhaps also provoke a little caution about probability studies like the face-to-face BES. These are hugely valuable surveys, done to the highest possible standards… but nothing is perfect, and they can be wrong. We cannot tell what a probability poll conducted immediately before the referendum would have shown, but if it had been somewhere between online and phone – as the earlier BES and NatCen data were – then it would also have been wrong.

People who are easy or difficult to reach by phone

Many of the pieces looking of the mode effects in the EU polling looked at the differences between people who responded quickly and slowly to polls. The BPC inquiry into the General Election polls analysed the samples from the post-election BES/BSA face-to-face polls and showed how people who responded to the face-to-face surveys on the first contact were skewed towards Labour voters, only after including those respondents who took two or three attempts to contact did the polls correctly show the Conservatives in the lead. The inquiry team used this as an example of how quota sampling could fail, rather than evidence of actual biases which affected the polls in 2015, but the same approach has become more widely used in analysis of polling failure. Matt Singh and James Kanagasooriam’s paper in particular focused on how slow respondents to the BES were also likely to be more socially liberal and concluded, therefore, that online polls were likely to be have too many socially conservative people.

Taking people who are reached on the first contact attempt in a face-to-face poll seems like a plausible proxy for people who might be contacted by a telephone poll that doesn’t have time to ring back people who it fails to contact on the first attempt. Putting aside the growing importance of sampling mobile phones, landline surveys and face-to-face surveys do both depend on the interviewee being at home at a civilised time and willing to take part. It’s more questionable why it should be a suitable proxy for the sort of person willing to join an online panel and take part in online surveys that can be done on any internet device at any old time.

As the referendum campaign continued there were more studies that broke down people’s EU referendum voting intention by how difficult they were to interview. NatCen’s mixed-mode survey in May to June found the respondents that it took longer to contact tended to be more leave (as well as being less educated, and more likely to say don’t know). BMG’s final poll was conducted by telephone, but used a 6 day fieldwork period to allow multiple attempts to call-back respondents. Their analysis painted a mixed picture – people contacted on the first call were fairly evenly split between Remain and Leave (51% Remain), people on the second call were strongly Remain (57% Remain), but people on later calls were more Leave (49% Remain).

Ultimately, the evidence on hard-to-reach people ended up being far more mixed than initially assumed. While the BES found hard-to-reach people were more pro-EU, the NatCen survey’s hardest to reach people were more pro-Leave, and BMG found a mixed pattern. This also suggests that one suggested solution to make telephone sampling better – taking more time to make more call-backs to those people who don’t answer the first call – is not necessarily a guaranteed solution. ORB and BMG both highlighted their decision to spend longer over their fieldwork in the hope of producing better samples, both taking six days rather than the typical two or three. Neither were obviously more accurate than phone pollsters with shorter fieldwork periods.

Education weights

During the campaign YouGov wrote a piece raising questions about whether some polls had too many graduates. Level of educational qualifications correlated with how likely people were to support to EU membership (graduates were more pro-EU, people with no qualification more pro-Leave, even after controlling for age) so this did have the potential to skew figures.

The actual proportion of “graduates” in Britain depends on definitions (the common NVQ Level 4+ categorisation in the census includes some people with higher education qualifications below degree-level), but depending on how you define it and whether or not you include HE qualifications below degree level the figure is around 27% to 35%. In the Populus polling produced for Polls Apart 47% of people had university level qualifications, suggesting polls conducted by telephone could be seriously over-representing graduates.

Ipsos MORI identified the same issue with too many graduates in their samples and added education quotas and weights during the campaign (this reduced the Remain lead in their polls by about 3-4 points, so while their final poll still showed a large Remain lead, it would have been more wrong without education weighting). ICM, however, tested education weights on their telephone polls and found it made little difference, while education breaks in ComRes’s final poll suggest they had about the right proportion of graduates in their sample anyway.

This doesn’t entirely put the issue of education to bed. Data on the educational make-up of samples is spotty, and the overall proportion of graduates in the sample is not the end of the story – because there is a strong correlation between education and age, just looking at overall education levels isn’t enough. There need to be enough poorly qualified people in younger age groups, not just among older generations where it is commonplace.

The addition of education weights appears to have helped some pollsters, but it clearly depends on the state of the sample to begin with. MORI controlled for education, but still over-represented Remain. ComRes had about the right proportion of graduates to begin with, but still got it wrong. Getting the correct proportion of graduates does appear to have been an issue for some companies, and dealing with it helped some companies, but alone it cannot explain why some pollsters performed badly.

Attitudinal weights

Another change introduced by some companies during the campaign was weighting by attitudes towards immigration and national identity (whether people considered themselves to be British or English). Like education, both these attitudes were correlated with EU referendum voting intention. Where they differ from education is that there are official statistics on the qualifications held by the British population, but there are no official stats on national identity or attitudes towards immigration. Attitudes may also be more liable to change than qualifications.

Three companies adopted attitudinal weights during the campaign, all of them online. Two of these used the same BES questions on racial equality and national identity from the BES face-to-face survey that were discussed in Polls Apart… but with different levels of success. Opinium, who were the joint most-accurate pollster, weighted people’s attitudes to racial equality and national identity to a point half-way between the BES findings and their own findings (presumably on the assumption that half the difference was sample, half interviewer effect). According to Opinium this increased the relative position of remain by about 5 points when introduced. Populus weighted by the same BES questions on attitudes to race and people’s national identity, but in their case used the actual BES figures – presumably giving them a sample that was significantly more socially liberal than Opinium’s. Populus ended up showing the largest Remain lead.

It’s clear from Opinium and Populus that these social attitudes were correlated with EU referendum vote and including attitudinal weighting variables did make a substantial difference. Exactly what to weight them to is a different question though – Populus and Opinium weighted the same variable to very different targets, and got very different results. Given the sensitivity of questions about racism we cannot be sure whether people answer these questions differently by phone, online or face-to-face, nor whether face-to-face probability samples have their own biases, but choosing what targets to use for any attitudinal weighting is obviously a difficult problem.

While it may have been a success for Opinium, attitudinal weighting is unlikely to have improved matters for other online polls – online polls generally produce social attitudes that are more conservative than suggested by the BES/BSA face-to-face surveys, so weighting them towards the BES/BSA data would probably only have served to push the results further towards Remain and make them even less accurate. On the other hand, for telephone polls there could be potential for attitudinal weighting to make samples less socially liberal.

Turnout models

There was a broad consensus that turnout was going to be a critical factor at the referendum, but pollsters took different approaches towards it. These varied from a traditional approach of basing turnout weights purely on respondent’s self-assessment of their likelihood to vote, models that also incorporated how often people had voted in the past or their interest in the subject, through to a models that were based on the socio-economic characteristics of respondents, modelling people’s likelihood to vote based on their age and social class.

In the case of the EU referendum Leave voters generally said they were more likely to vote than Remain voters, so traditional turnout models were more likely to favour Leave. People who didn’t vote at previous elections leant towards Leave, so models that incorporated past voting behaviour were a little more favourable towards Remain. Demographic based models were more complicated, as older people were more likely to vote and more leave, but middle class and educated people were more likely to vote and more remain. On balance models based on socio-economic factors tended to favour Remain.

The clearest example is Natcen’s mixed mode survey, which explictly modelled the two different approaches. Their raw results without turnout modelling would have been REMAIN 52.3%, LEAVE 47.7%. Modelling turnout based on self-reported likelihood to vote would have made the results slightly more “leave” – REMAIN 51.6%, LEAVE 48.4%. Modelling the results based on socio-demographic factors (which is what NatCen chose to do in the end) resulted in topline figures of REMAIN 53.2%, LEAVE 46.8%.

In the event ComRes & Populus chose to use methods based on socio-economic factors, YouGov & MORI used methods combining self-assessed likelihood and past voting behaviour (and in the case of MORI, interest in the referendum), Survation & ORB a traditional approach based just on self-assessed likelihood to vote. TNS didn’t use any turnout modelling in their final poll.

In almost every case the adjustments for turnout made the polls less accurate, moving the final figures towards Remain. For the four companies who used more sophisticated turnout models, it looks as if a traditional approach of relying on self-reported likelihood to vote would have been more accurate. An unusual case was TNS’s final poll, which did not use a turnout model at all, but did include data on what their figures would have been if they had. Using a model based on people’s own estimate of their likelihood to vote, past vote and age (but not social class) TNS would have shown figures of 54% Leave, 46% Remain – less accurate than their final call poll, but with an error in the opposite direction to most other polls.

In summary, it looks as though attempts to improve turnout modelling since the general election have not improved matters – if anything the opposite was the case. The risk of basing turnout models on past voting behaviour at elections or the demographic patterns of turnout at past elections has always been what would happen if patterns of turnout changed. It’s true middle class people normally vote more than working class people, older people normally vote more than younger people. But how much more, and how much does that vary from election to election? If you build a model that assumes the same levels of differential turnout between demographic groups as the previous election then it risks going horribly wrong if levels of turnout are different… and in the EU ref it looks as if they were. In their post-referendum statement Populus have been pretty robust in rejecting the whole idea – “turnout patterns are so different that a demographically based propensity-to-vote model is unlikely ever to produce an accurate picture of turnout other than by sheer luck.”

That may be a little harsh, it would probably be a wrong turn if pollsters stopped looking for more sophisticated turnout models than just asking people, and past voting behaviour and demographic considerations may be part of that. It may be that turnout models that are based on past behaviour at general elections is more successful in modelling general election turnout than that for referendums. Thus far, however, innovations in turnout modelling don’t appear to have been particularly successful.

Reallocation of don’t knows

During the campaign Steve Fisher and Alan Renwick wrote an interesting piece about how most referendum polls in the past have underestimated support for the status quo, presumably because of late swing or don’t knows breaking for remain. Pollsters were conscious of this and rather than just ignore don’t knows in their final polls, the majority of pollsters attempted to model how don’t knows would vote. This went from simple squeeze questions, which way do don’t knows think they’ll end up voting, are they leaning towards or suchlike (TNS, MORI and YouGov), to projecting how don’t knows will vote based upon their answers to other questions. ComRes had a squeeze question and estimated how don’t knows would vote based on how people thought Brexit would effect the economy, Populus on how risky don’t knows thought Brexit was. ORB just split don’t knows 3 to 1 in favour of Remain.

In every case these adjustments helped remain, and in every case this made things less accurate. Polls that made estimates about how don’t knows would vote ended up more wrong than polls that just asked people how they might end up voting, but this is probably co-incidence, both approaches had a similar sort of effect. This is not to say they were necessarily wrong – it’s possible that don’t knows did break in favour of remain, and that that while the reallocation of don’t knows made polls less accurate, it was because it was adding a swing to data that was already wrong to begin with. Nevertheless, it suggests pollsters should be careful about assuming too much about don’t knows – for general elections at least such decisions can be based more firmly upon how don’t knows have split at past general elections, where hopefully more robust models can be developed.

So what we can learn?

Pollsters don’t get many opportunities to compare polling results against actual election results, so every one is valuable – especially when companies are still attempting to address the 2015 polling failure. On the other hand, we need to be careful about reading too much into a single poll that’s not necessarily comparable to a general election. All those final polls were subject to the ordinary margins of error and there are different challenges to polling a general election and a referendum.

Equally, we shouldn’t automatically assume that anything that would have made the polls a little more Leave is necessarily correct, anything that made polling figures more Remain is necessarily wrong – everything you do to a poll interacts with everything else, and taking each item in isolation can be misleading. The list of things above is by no means exhaustive either – my own view remains that the core problem with polls is that they tend to be done by people who are too interested and aware of politics, and the way to solve polling failure is to find ways of recruiting less political people, quota-ing and weighting by levels of political interest. We found that people with low political interest were more likely to support Brexit, but there is very little other information on political awareness and interest from other polling, so I can’t explore to what extent that was responsible for any errors in the wider polls.

With that said, what can we conclude?

  • Phone polls appeared to face substantially greater problems in obtaining a representative sample than online polls. While there was variation within modes, with some online polls doing better than others, some phone polls doing worse than others, on average online outperformed phone. The probability based samples from the BES and the NatCen mixed-mode experiment suggested a position somewhere between online and telephone, so while we cannot tell what they would have shown, we should not assume they would have been any better.
  • Longer fieldwork times for telephone polls are not necessarily the solution. The various analyses of how people who took several attempts to contact differed from those who were contacted on the first attempt were not consistent, and the companies who took longer over their fieldwork were no more accurate than those with shorter periods.
  • Some polls did contain too many graduates and correcting for that did appear to help, but it was not a problem that affected all companies and would not alone have solved the problem. Some companies weighted by education or had the correct proportion of graduates, but still got it wrong.
  • Attitudinal weights had a mixed record. The only company to weight attitudes to the BES figures overstated Remain significantly, but Opinium had more success at weighting them to a halfway point. Weighting by social attitudes faces problems in determining weighting targets and is unlikely to have made other online polls more Leave, but could be a consideration for telephone polls that may have had samples that were too socially liberal.
  • Turnout models that were based on the patterns of turnout at the last election and whether people voted at the last election performed badly and consistently made the results less accurate – presumably because of the unexpectedly high turnout, particular among more working class areas. Perhaps there is potential for such models to work in the future and at general elections, but so far they don’t appear successful.

892 Responses to “What we can learn from the referendum polling”

1 2 3 4 18
  1. @JONBOY

    Remain lost because the Tory electorate abandoned Cameron in droves. That is simply the main reason for the loss. Had 57% of conservative voters backed remain, then remain would have won. Instead it was 57% backing leave.

  2. TANCRED
    Being supportive of DC means nothing in this context. I was very supportive of the ex PM from the beginning. I railed at those with nothing better to say than “Bullingdon boy” and the usual politics of envy claptrap.

    However, when it came to Europe I was, am and always will be OUT.
    I do not wish to be in a close federation with those nations which gave us Dachau, Belsen, Drancy and even in Italy’s case various camps throughout Greece and the Balkans, where hundreds of thousands died just over 70 years ago. Very few of the worst perpetrators were ever punished and continued in office/professions until their comfortable retirements. The UK does not need Europe, it never did and it doesn’t now.

  3. Voodoo poll alert. I am trying to find the provenance for the figures quoted in this article, which looks to me like a paid-for marketing piece for e2save’s “If only it was 4K” promotion. The “52% of Brits don’t believe in Moon landings” statement seems to be going a bit viral.

    No link to the poll, and nothing about the poll on e2save’s site, or YouGov, Opinium or Ipsos MORI. At the moment I’m wondering whether the poll was actually an e2save employee’s kid’s school project.

    http://www.mirror.co.uk/news/uk-news/moon-landing-celebrates-47th-anniversary-8446862

  4. SORBUS
    There was always a strong element on the left that thinks this is 1926 and that the people are just waiting to rise up and torch Buck House.

    The reality is very different and Labour under ANY leadership is screwed for a long time to come. Under the present crop of student rabble who have never grown up, ever.

  5. @ Lurkinggherkin

    The Mail links it to Atomik Research, but there is nothing on their website (and nothing on e2save as you said.

    In 2009 DT also had an unattributed survey report, then it was 25%.

  6. @Alec

    I took more or less the exact opposite lesson from Chilcot. The allies placed very great store in the account of one unreliable (as it turned out) informant.

    The best use of surveillance techniques is in concert with human intelligence techniques. The human tells you that a particular suspect is up to no good, the technology tells you if this proposition is consistent with the verifiable facts.

    As a simplistic example, if an informant tells me a guy called Alec is travelling up to London every week on coaches to courier drugs, that may or may not be true. But if the data on Alec’s phone shows movements that confirm the journeys, that will both support what the informant has said, and also (probably) give us a good indication of which coach he was on, so we can go to electronic ticketing and CCTV for more evidence.

    Where I think the “anti-Big Brother” brigade get it wrong is in assuming that the acquisition of data increases the risk of the wrong people being targeted, when the entire point of it is to decrease that risk by providing an independent and scientific way to corroborate notoriously dodgy human intelligence information.

    In my example about, a little bit of “snooping” might well reveal that Alec has in fact been mooching about his home town for the past month and hasn’t gone anywhere near London. It might lead us to CCTV of Alec in IKEA when an alleged drug deal was being done, thereby completely absolving him of blame without ever having to hoof his door in, frighten his wife and children or even have him ever being aware he was a suspect.

    What the bulk collection of data is primarily for is to ensure that when you need to check your facts, that the material actually exists for you to do so. To use Theresa May’s phrase “If you’re looking for a needle in a haystack, first you need a haystack”.

    I’m sure there are security service operations where bulk data is sifted for indications of terrorist activity etc, but I have personally not been aware of a single police operation that has ever originated with the collection of data (with the exception of online image cases, where the routine screening of uploads by some social media companies for “known” illegal images sometimes generates a referral).

  7. For those who expect a fudged deal with the EU, the Prime Minister made it very clear during her weekly session that borders will be controlled following Brexit. She also made no promises to Scotland and it was clear there was no First Minister veto.

    Delighted, as i was with the employment figures.

  8. I rather expect Owen Smith to eat into Corbyn’s lead as he becomes better known to the party membership. He seems to have more flair and passion than any of the other three candidates who stood for the leadership last year and it will be interesting to see whether his campaign catches fire at all. I believe I am correct in saying that circa 25% of Corbyn’s support as measured by Yougov was ‘probable’ rather than ‘certain’.

  9. Anyone wanna tell Roly who invented the Concentration camp?

  10. @ Lazlo

    Thanks for checking the DM for me, I have a browser plugin that replaces content from the Mail and the Express with pictures of kittens. I think it should be part of the next iteration of W3C standards. ;-)

    Atomic Research’s online polling operation is called “Power of Opinions”. They pay people reward points towards gift vouchers for answering survey questions. It doesn’t look terribly trustworthy. Their focus seems to be targetted market research rather than general representative polling.

  11. @ Carfrew

    I was tempted.

  12. @ Lurkinggherkin

    I would love such a plug in :-).

  13. @ ToH

    I know you aren’t a Tory, but you really fit the generic profiling of Conservative members.

    http://www.democraticaudit.com/?p=23369&utm_content=buffer9a07e&utm_medium=social&utm_source=twitter.com&utm_campaign=buffer

  14. @ Lazlo

    You can get it here for Firefox

    https://addons.mozilla.org/en-GB/firefox/addon/kitten-block/

  15. I’ve been lurking around here, on and off, observing the debate on Brexit in which there has been a regrettable descent into name calling (see also the LLC).

    My suggested solution to the whole sorry affair is as follows: England and Wales can leave the United Kingdom, and become part of the Commonwealth. Article 50 with its deadly 2-year red line for exit negotiations need not be triggered at all – England & Wales can negotiate new trading arrangements at their leisure with non-EU partners before they depart the UK. To add an element of certainty to underpin negotiations with other nations, any act of parliament that will finalise the removal of E&W from the UK can state a deadline whereupon the separation becomes final, but this can be a more agreeable time limit than 2 years.

    Hypothetically, since there seems to be a will for this, London could also stay in the EU as part of the diminished UK (dUK – don’t know if anyone has used that acronym before?). And also, Northern Ireland. I know there are other regions that might wish inclusion in this arrangement but lines have to be drawn somewhere. (I live in England, and I’d like an exception for my house to Remain! But I recognise that we can’t fine-tune arrangements to such an impractical extent).

    Constitutionally, as far as I’m aware it’s the United Kingdom that signed up to the Lisbon Treaty, not its constituent nations. EU membership contributions are based on a proportion of GDP, and other proportionate factors, so the cost of membership of the EU for the dUK will naturally fall to reflect its downsized economy.

    There can be special arrangements for free movement of dUK and E&W nationals between the separated states, like a mini-Schengen area, but E&W can otherwise restrict movements across their borders and control length of stay, as they see fit. This could be extended to include other nations such as Australia and Canada, since there have been proposals to this effect from some elements of the Brexit camp.

    Isn’t the rallying cry of the dedicated English Nationalist “I’m English, not British!”?. As member states of the Commonwealth they can retain the Queen (or her heirs) as their head of state (this assumes continuance of the monarchy – the rights or wrongs of which are a separate issue). And she doesn’t have to move house at all; she hangs on to both Buckingham Palace and Balmoral.

    The main obstacle would seem to me to be English ego; some people unfortunately seem to see the Commonwealth nations as inferior, and they see E&W joining the Commonwealth as a kind of ‘downgrade’ of status. But it does not have to be viewed in that light.

    Another objection that has been suggested is that Spain would veto the arrangement. But as far as I can see, they can’t; they can only veto new nations joining the EU, and in my proposal no new nation is joining the EU. It would be like us exercising a veto over the breakup of Spain – I don’t think we could, that would be Spain’s own affair. There was no mention of Spain being able to veto Scotland’s independence during their referendum; only, that they could veto a newly-independent Scotland joining the EU.

    Think about it, England (sans London) and Wales, secceding from the UK, thereby automatically, from the EU, and getting their own full-blown parliaments. Leaving behind the bits of the UK who want to Remain. Perhaps the North becomes the new powerhouse of England, and seat of England’s parliament and capital? And let’s not forget the important stuff – England and Wales get to keep their own national footie & rugby teams, naturally. What’s not to like?

  16. @ Lurkinggherkin

    It was nice and humorous.

    However, Liverpool, Manchester, Newcastle, Western Wales also voted for Remain, so your plan is getting a bit over complicated :-). This is the problem with all great plans.

  17. LURKINGGHERKIN

    Great post re dUK, but wouldn’t reverting to the old capital, Winchester, be more apposite for England?

  18. On the LLC, I compiled a comparison of past voting positions of the three candidates from

    http://www.publicwhip.org.uk/

    Eagle’s gone so I have struck her from the list.

    Numbers are % scores, calculated according to a weighted formula you can find on the public whip site. I just put the figures together as the public whip doesn’t offer a simple way of viewing the figures for the MP’s side by side.

    C for Corbyn, S for Smith. Smith being a new kid on the block has blanks for some. Zero denotes abstention. It will look a lot more readable if you copy and paste it into Notepad or other app with a fixed width font (or change your browser font to Courier New).

    Abortion, Embryology and Euthanasia- Against……………..C 13
    Academy Schools – for……………………………..C 0 / S 0
    Additional Rate of Income Tax – Increase…………..C 77 / S 84
    Assisted Dying…………………………………C 25 / S 100
    Asylum System – More strict………………………C 17 / S 16
    Ban fox hunting………………………………………C 100
    Bankers’ Bonus Tax………………………………C 87 / S 81
    Business and community control of schools: For………C 24 / S 0
    Cap or Reduce Civil Service Redundancy Payments………C 0 / S 0
    Civil aviation pollution – For limiting………………….C 50
    Closed Material Proceedure………………………..C 0 / S 16
    Coalition Programme for Government – For…………..C 22 / S 20
    Control Orders…………………………………………C 6
    Corporal punishment of children – Against………………..C 50
    Crossrail – In favour…………………………………C 100
    Cull Badgers…………………………………….C 0 / S 25
    Deployment of UK armed forces in Afghanistan………..C 0 / S 50
    Employee Shareholder Status………………………C 10 / S 30
    Encourage and incentivise saving……………………C 0 / S 0
    End support for some 16-18 yr olds in education………C 0 / S 0
    Energy Prices – More Affordable…………………..C 94 / S 83
    English Votes on English Laws etc…………………..C 0 / S 0
    Equal Number of Electors Per Constituency – for……..C 18 / S 0
    European Union – For…………………………….C 52 / S 61
    Excess Bedroom Benefit Penalty for Social Tenants…….C 4 / S 8
    Extend Right to Buy to Housing Associations………….C 0 / S 0
    Fixed Term Parliaments…………………………..C 40 / S 17
    Foundation hospitals – In favour…………………………C 0
    Fox hunting – Ban…………………………………….C 100
    Freedom of Information Bill 2000 – Strengthen…………….C 96
    Fully Elected House of Lords……………………..C 67 / S 98
    Further Devolution to Scotland……………………C 58 / S 50
    Further devolution to Wales………………………C 60 / S 60
    Gambling – Against permissiveness………………..C 74 / S 100
    GP Commissioning in the NHS………………………..C 0 / S 0
    Higher taxes on alcoholic drinks………………….C 23 / S 26
    Higher taxes on banks……………………………C 30 / S 40
    Hold a UK referendum on Lisbon EU Treaty………………..C 100
    Homosexuality – Equal rights…………………….C 96 / S 100
    HS2 – In Favour…………………………………C 42 / S 67
    Human Rights and Equality………………………..C 73 / S 66
    Identity cards – For introduction……………………….C 24
    In Favour of Mass Surveillance……………………C 50 / S 67
    Incentivise Low Carbon Electricity Generation………C 70 / S 80
    Increase Air Passenger Duty………………………C 22 / S 22
    Increase the income tax – tax free allowance…………C 4 / S 8
    Increase VAT…………………………………….C 9 / S 15
    Inheritance Tax…………………………………C 67 / S 67
    Iraq 2003 – For the invasion…………………………….C 0
    Iraq Investigation – Necessary………………………….C 82
    Jobs Guarantee for Long Term Young Unemployed………C 94 / S 89
    Limit NHS Foundation Trust Private Patient Income…C 100 / S 100
    Localise Council Tax Support………………………C 0 / S 13
    Lower taxes on petrol & diesel for motor vehicles…..C 36 / S 40
    Make High Earners Pay Market Rent for Council Home…..C 0 / S 10
    Make it easier to trigger a new election for an MP….C 81 / S 50
    Mansion Tax……………………………………C 88 / S 100
    Mass Retention of Communications Data……………..C 24 / S 87
    Measures to reduce tax avoidance………………….C 42 / S 33
    Merge Police and Fire under Police & Crime Cmmr………C 0 / S 0
    Ministers Can Intervene in Coroners’ Inquests…………….C 29
    Minumum Wage……………………………………C 81 / S 78
    More Generous Benefits for Ill and Disabled……….C 100 / S 89
    More powers for local councils……………………C 63 / S 63
    No detention without charge or trial………………C 99 / S 50
    No Polls Clash With MP Election System Referendum…..C 79 / S 86
    Nuclear power – For…………………………….C 67 / S 100
    Parliamentary scrutiny – Reduce…………………………C 25
    Pension auto-enrolment – For………………………C 42 / S 0
    Phase out of Tenancies for Life……………………C 10 / S 0
    Police and Crime Commissioners……………………..C 8 / S 8
    Post office – in favour of Government policy……………..C 78
    Post office closures – against………………………….C 22
    Prevent abuse of zero hours contracts……………C 100 / S 100
    Privatise Royal Mail………………………………C 0 / S 0
    Promote Occupational Pensions……………………..C 21 / S 0
    Proportional Representation Voting System – For…….C 54 / S 55
    Protesting near Parliament – Unrestricted………………..C 98
    Public Ownership of Railways…………………….C 100 / S 75
    Rail Fares – Lower…………………………….C 100 / S 100
    Recreational drugs – Against legalization………………..C 16
    Reduce central funding for local government…………C 0 / S 10
    Reduce Spending on Welfare Benefits………………..C 5 / S 11
    Reduce the rate of Corporation Tax…………………C 9 / S 13
    Reducing the number of MPs – for……………………C 8 / S 8
    Referendum on Alternative Vote for MP Elections………C 0 / S 1
    Referendum on the UK’s membership of the EU – For…..C 62 / S 50
    Referendums for Directly Elected City Mayors……….C 25 / S 17
    Register of Lobbyists……………………………C 29 / S 25
    Regulation of Shale Gas Extraction………………..C 50 / S 50
    Remove Hereditary Peers from the House of Lords…….C 99 / S 98
    Require Pub Companies to Offer Rent Only Leases…….C 88 / S 88
    Restrict 3rd party campaigners during elections………C 0 / S 0
    Restrict Scope of Legal Aid………………………C 10 / S 10
    Retention of Business Rates by Local Government……..C 0 / S 12
    Right to strike………………………………..C 100 / S 58
    Same Sex Marriage – for………………………..C 100 / S 100
    Schools – Greater Autonomy…………………………C 3 / S 0
    Sell England’s Public Forests………………………C 0 / S 0
    Smoking ban – In favour………………………….C 97 / S 63
    Stop climate change……………………………..C 73 / S 74
    Stronger Military Covenant………………………C 78 / S 100
    Tax Incentives for Companies Investing in Assets……C 44 / S 35
    Termination of pregnancy – against……………………….C 0
    Terrorism laws – For……………………………..C 8 / S 50
    The UK should not ratify the Lisbon Treaty………………C 100
    Tougher on illegal immigration…………………….C 29 / S 0
    Trade Union Regulation…………………………….C 0 / S 0
    Transexuality – Against legal recognition…………………C 0
    Transparency of Parliament……………………………..C 82
    Trident replacement – In favour…………………..C 25 / S 63
    Tuition fees – Set Upper Limit at £9,000 per Year…….C 0 / S 0
    University education fees – Should be free……………….C 97
    University Tuition Fees – For………………………C 3 / S 0
    Use of UK Military Forces Overseas…………………C 3 / S 50
    Voting age – Reduce to 16………………………..C 67 / S 88
    War – Parliamentary authority not necessary………………C 50
    Welfare benefits ought rise in line with prices…..C 100 / S 100

  19. @THe Other Howard

    It now looks like the UK will NOT ask for membership of the single market or the EEA, but will try to negotiate instead a Canadian-style free trade agreement with the EU outside the single market, which, I suppose, came as a surprise to the EU negotiators.

    The only difficulty I see is that non-membership of the single market will most likely mean an end to passporting for the UK-based financial institutions, which invariably will force the UK economy to rebalance from financial services to other sectors like manufacturing. Although such outcome would not be bad in itself, I am not sure that the UK is capable of doing that rebalancing successfully given its low productivity and the the literal annihilation of its manufacturing base over the past decades.

  20. ^Sorry for the outrageously long post above, a bit of a breach of etiquette I know. I didn’t think it would come out as quite so many screenfuls.

  21. @ Barbazenzero:

    Mmm, Winchester, yes maybe, they have history on their side as you say. I’m sure it would provoke some lively arguments!

    @ Lazlo:

    You can’t please all of the people etc ;-)

  22. Well, the new Headmistress May certainly put the naughty boys in their place at her first weekly session (and last for a while, as they break for the summer recess this week).

    The best bit was when they were talking about Trident, and a Labour backbencher observed that ‘it was good to hear official Labour Party policy being confirmed at the Dispatch Box, even if it was from a Tory Prime Minister’.

    Poor old Corby folded his arms and looked stony faced.

  23. @Lurkingherkin,

    I suspect you jest..

    What you are proposing is sort of a variant of the “reverse Greenland” proposal, with some sort of continuing relationship between the home countries but with only some of them inside the EU.

    I can see some advantages – primarily the retention of passporting for London. But I think you make various assumptions, some of them based on your own prejudices.

    Calling Brexit supporters “English nationalists” is just abuse, frankly. Some of them may be, most of them probably aren’t, but it’s one of those anti-OutGroup bubble memes that does the rounds in certain circles. I think Oldnat’s “British Nationalist” tag is a more accurate description of most Leave voters.

    On this basis, of course they would not be happy with leaving the UK as their affection is primarily for the UK rather than England specifically.

    And as someone born and raised in London, who voted Leave, I think your proposal rather confirms what I’ve said for many years, to general ridicule on this board. That is to say “London isn’t an English city any more”. The truth is you can’t import hundreds of thousands of new residents into a city every year, from the rest of the country and from other countries, and have it retain its character.

    Despite recognizing this, I would feel very affronted if people were allowed to migrate into “my” city and then basically steal it from me. I am pretty sure the Scots would be pretty sore if 200,000 English people moved to Dumfries, and having decided that it now had different priorities and beliefs to the rest of Scotland, decided that it should leave and attach itself to Cumbria.

  24. LASZLO

    In many way’s I agree but I am more socially conservative than many Consrvative’s and I want a smaller state than most conservatives.

  25. @ Neil A

    “Calling Brexit supporters “English nationalists” is just abuse, frankly.”

    I think a substantial number of people who voted Brexit may identify with the ‘English rather than British’ statement, but that is based on anecdotal experience only, really, and I could not say whether they constitute a majority.

    I did not say, or mean to infer that *all* Brexit supporters are English Nationalists, and I apologise if I gave that impression. I also don’t think I suggested anything derogatory about English Nationalists, either, that would mean such an inference was abuse.

    Individual experiences and opinions may differ from regional ones overall, and there’s no solution to Brexit that everyone will be happy with. I’m in an area that swung heaily for Brexit. If England left the UK & EU it would drag me along with it unless I moved.

    We all have our migration crosses to bear. Here in South Thanet, it’s the “DFLs” they complain about – Down From London(ers) :-P

  26. @LurkingGherkin

    The length wouldn’t have been so bad, but you didn’t mention Thorium even once. Mind you, AW never mentions Thorium, I don’t know what kind of board he thinks this is.

  27. DAVID CARROD

    I don’t know if you are aware, but there is a convention here that the Wednesday afternoon proceedings in HoC are not the subject of opinions on this board.

    Although not specifically to be found in the Comments Policy, it was requested by our Host-and has been universally observed.

  28. “The best bit was when they were talking about Trident, and a Labour backbencher observed that ‘it was good to hear official Labour Party policy being confirmed at the Dispatch Box, even if it was from a Tory Prime Minister’.
    Poor old Corby folded his arms and looked stony faced.”

    ———-

    Well yeah, he prolly didn’t imagine he’d be going up against Miliband…

  29. CARFREW
    If you think Kitchener’s camps in South Africa has any connection with Vichy rounding up Jews to send to German death camps, or the the master races providing their own solution to the Jewish “problem”, then you are a bigger fool than I thought.

  30. NeilA

    ” I think Oldnat’s “British Nationalist” tag is a more accurate description of most Leave voters.”

    I agree OLDNAT accepts that there is a significant minority of voters in all Remain areas, who voted leave including Scotland & Northern Ireland.

  31. @Lurkinggherkin,

    I think I can say hand on heart that I’ve never, ever heard anyone say “I’m English, not British”. Oldnat would probably say that’s because the English are too dumb to know the difference but there you are.

    If you didn’t intend it to be pejorative then so be it.

    Just imagine how full up London would be if half the people born there hadn’t already left for somewhere that was less crowded and more English, such as Kent…. Population growth is one interconnected problem, I think.

  32. Oh, was that about the Questions thing? Apols, Didn’t realise. I had a 100% record on not talking about too…

  33. DAVID CARROD

    Verboten topic here.

  34. @Roly

    No need to be so rude, or to put words into my mouth. I just pointed out who invented the concentration camp… Good to see you’ve been researching it!!…

  35. COLIN

    My fault I think but having put up with weeks of people suggesting fudged Brexit it was so refreshing to hear it killed stone dead today that I could not resist posting.

    My apologies to you and AW.

  36. @ Carfrew

    I am sorry for neglecting to include Corby & Smith’s positions on Thorium in my list, an unforgiveable oversight.

  37. Hawthon

    Apologies to you also.

  38. @Roly

    Admittedly the camps weren’t as developed when we invented them, but would you dispute their unpleasantness, or that we led the way for what followed?

  39. @LurkingGherkin

    That’s ok, easily done. But don’t let it happen again…

  40. Good afternoon all from a very hot central London.

    Predicting referendums is quite a challenge because as we know millions of voters voted against official party lines during the EU vote but in fairness the polls weren’t a million miles off.

    The problem I see is when we have the likes of Betfair twittering constantly telling us who are the more likely victors and when the actual result came in they were way off the mark. I don’t know if all that twittering can move public opinion when the MSM pick up on it but the fact that remain were constantly between 60 & 70% chance of winning may have motivated more leave supports to actually go out and vote.

    Poll alert…

    Britain Elects [email protected] 35m35 minutes ago
    Westminster voting intention:
    CON: 40% (+10)
    LAB: 29% (-4)
    UKIP: 12% (-8)
    LDEM: 9% (+3)
    GRN: 3% (-)
    (via YouGov / 17-18/07)
    Chgs. from April

  41. @AC

    Surely your Tory change figure is too high?

    I don’t remember them being on 30% for many years.

  42. Chris,

    I am with you completely on the social media argument… Pure coincidence. Other social media analyses (along with individual posters (hat-eaters!) on here based on talking to people down the pub or posters in fields) were predicting big wins for Leave, as I recall, by margins of 20% or more. As it was the result was close, as most of the final polls predicted.

    Since we know that retired people voted Leave in high proportions and are much less likely to be engaged with social media than young people, I think we can say with some certainty that the Sense-EU study badly underestimated the Remain tendency amongst people (many not British, as Chris says) who are active on social media…

  43. While it is safer to talk about that game played with a small hard ball and some stick, I think that long list by @ Lurkinggherkin is quite important if the LSE research has any basis (well they have data, but it is not necessarily the point) about the membership and supporters.

    Considering their profiling, the list could be simplified to about 12 entries, although I doubt if it was to be used in the campaign (although the FT’s article on Smith wasn’t that positive yesterday, and used some of these).

  44. BARBAZENZERO
    LURKINGGHERKIN
    Great post re dUK, but wouldn’t reverting to the old capital, Winchester, be more apposite for England?
    ________

    I’ in favour of Winchester ..I live 3 miles east of Winchester and it’s also my constituency..When do we start proceedings for moving power from Westminster to Winchester’s magnificent Guildhall?

  45. CARFREW
    Researching it ? How typically bloody arrogant, do you think because I am a Tory I don’t know basic British history.
    Yes, I would dispute we have the slightest connection with what occurred in 1940’s Europe. Since you fancy yourself as an African expert, you should know that the Germans have finally admitted they committed genocide on tribes in German East Africa at about the same time as the Boar War. Bit of early practice, whilst we were trying to teach the Dutchmen killing blacks was wrong.

  46. TOH

    No need to apologise to me Howard.

    I was just pointing it out to a recent arrival.

    Just caught the end of Steve Richards’ Radio 4 Series The Corbyn Story. Need to catch up on Iplayer-absolutely fascinating & staggering too.

  47. @AC

    My apologies to you and BritainElects.

    It seems there was a YG poll in April with the Tories on 30.

  48. @Roly

    You can focus on what others did all afternoon if you like, but it does not absolve us of what we did. Prolly preferable to wind your neck in a tad, sing the National Anthem and dream of future glories!!

  49. NAIL A

    I just posted what B Elects had on twitter but it is correct according to UKPR’s poll tracker up at the top right..

    26 Apr Tory 30 Lab33 Lib6 UKIP 20 Lab +3

1 2 3 4 18