Donald Trump has been citing Brexit as the model of how he could win the election despite expections, his surrogates of how there might be a shy Trump vote, like Brexit. So what, if any, lessons can we learn about the US election from recent polling experience in Britain?

In 2015 the British polls got the general election wrong. Every company had Labour and Conservative pretty much neck-and-neck, when in reality the Conservatives won by seven points. In contrast, the opinion polls as a whole were not wrong on Brexit, or at least, they were not all that wrong. Throughout the referendum campaign polls conducted by telephone generally showed Remain ahead, but polls conducted online generally showed a very tight race. Most of the online polls towards the end of the campaign showed Leave ahead, and polls by TNS and Opinium showed Leave ahead in their final eve-of-referendum polls.

That’s the first point that the parallel falls down – Brexit wasn’t a surprise because the polls were wrong. The polls were showing a race that was neck-and-neck. It was a surprise because people hadn’t believed or paid attention to that polling evidence. The media expected Remain would win, took polls showing Remain ahead more seriously and a false narrative built up that the telephone polls were more accurately reflecting the race when in the event, those online polls showing leave ahead were right. This is not the case in the US – the media don’t think Trump will lose because they are downplaying inconvenient polling evidence, they think Trump will lose because of the polling evidence consistently shows that.

In the 2015 general election however the British polls really were wrong, and while some of the polls got Brexit right, some did indeed show solid Leave victories. Do either of those have any relevance for Trump?

The first claim is the case of shy voters. Much as 1948 is the famous examples of polling failure in the US, in this country 1992 was the famous mistake, and was put down to “Shy Tories”. That is, people who intended to vote Conservative, but were unwilling to admit it to pollsters. Shy voters are extremely difficult to diagnose. If people lie to pollsters about how they’ll vote before the election but tell the truth afterwards, then it is impossible to distinguish “shy voters” from people changing their minds (in the case of recent British polls, this does not appear to be the case. In both the 2015 election and the 2016 EU referendum recontact surveys found no significant movement towards the Conservatives or towards Leave). Alternatively, if people are consistent in lying to pollsters about their intentions beforehand and lying about how they voted afterwards, it’s impossible to catch them out.

The one indirect way of diagnosing shy voters is to compare the answers given to surveys using live interviewers, and surveys conducted online (or in the US, using robocalls – something that isn’t regularly done in the UK). If people are reluctant to admit to voting a certain way, they should be less embarrassed when it isn’t an actual human being doing the interviewing. In the UK the inquiry used this approach to rule out “shy Tories” as a cause of the 2015 polling error (online polls did not have a higher level of Tory support than phone polls).

In the US election there does appear to be some prima facie evidence of “Shy Trumpers”* – online polls and robopolls have tended to produce better figures for Donald Trump than polls conducted by a human interviewer. However, when this same difference was evident during the primary season the polls without a live interviewer were not consistently more accurate (and besides, even polls conducted without a human interviewer still have Clinton reliably ahead).

The more interesting issue is sample error. It is wrong to read directly across from Brexit to Trump – while there are superficial similarities, these are different countries, very different sorts of elections, in different party systems and traditions. There will be many different drivers of support. To my mind the interesting similarity though is the demographics – the type of people who vote for Trump and voted for Brexit.

Going back to the British general election of 2015, the inquiry afterwards identified sampling error as the cause of the polling error: the sort of people who were able to be contacted by phone and agreed to take part, and the sort of people who joined online panels were unrepresentative in a way that weights and quotas were not then correcting. While the inquiry didn’t specify how the samples were wrong, my own view (and one that is shared by some other pollsters) is that the root cause was that polling samples were too engaged, too political, too educated. We disproportionately got politically-aware graduates, the sort of people who follow politics in the media and understand what is going on. We don’t get enough of the poorly educated who pay little attention to politics. Since then several British companies have adopted extra weights and quotas by education level and level of interest in politics.

The relevance for Brexit polling is that there was a strong correlation between educational qualification and how people voted. Even within age cohorts, graduates were more likely to vote to Remain, people with few or no educational qualifications were more likely to vote to Leave. People with a low level of interest in politics were also more likely to vote to Leave. These continuing sampling issues may well have contributed to some of those pollsters who did it wrong in June.

One thing that Brexit does have in common with Trump is those demographics. Trump’s support is much greater among those without a college degree. I suspect if you asked you’d find it was greater among those people who don’t normally pay much attention to politics. In the UK those are groups who we’ve had difficulty in properly representing in polling samples – if US pollsters have similar issues, then there is a potential source for error. College degree seems to be a relatively standard demographic in US polling, so I assume that is correct already. How much interest people have in politics is more nebulous, less easy to measure or control.

In Britain the root cause of polling mishaps in 2015 (and for some, but not all, companies in 2016) seems to be that the declining pool of people still willing to take part in polls under-represented certain groups, and that those groups were less likely to vote for Labour, more likely to vote for Brexit. If (and it’s a huge if – I am only reporting the British experience, not passing judgement on American polls) the sort of people who American pollsters struggle to reach in these days of declining response rates are more likely to vote for Trump, then they may experience similar problems.

Those thinking that the sort of error that affected British polls could happen in the US are indeed correct… but could happen is not the same as is happening. Saying something is possible is a long way from there being any evidence that is actually is happening. Some of the British polls got Brexit wrong, and Trump is a little bit Brexity, therefore the polls are wrong really doesn’t carry water.


*This has no place in a sensible article about polling methodology, but I feel I should point out to US readers that in British schoolboy slang when I was a kid – and possibly still today – to Trump is to fart. “Shy Trump” sounds like it should refer to surreptitiously breaking wind and denying it.

451 Responses to “What can British polling mishaps tell us about the US election?”

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  1. @colin

    “1 Sovereign State (*) trying to implement the stated will of a majority of its voters , in direct opposition to the will of voters in a devolved part of it.”

    Well actually in two devolved parts of it and in on of which international treaties come into play.



    If May survives this with her health , sanity & job intact she will join the Pantheon of Greats.

  3. Gosh, visualising the Brexiters face as the French agent des douanes going though the serial number one more time, and the end of the queue of the lorries just reach Aberdeen (if then it’s still the UK) …

    As to Anthony’s post – thank you. Is polling one industry, or an industry with national flavours and methodologies?

  4. Colin

    Of course, the government composed almost entirely of English MPs can exercise its own constitutional understanding of sovereignty – if the courts give it leave to do so.

    That there are likely consequences which might follow such a course of action which, unless she is a total fool) May is well aware of.

    As it happens, I don’t think May is a fool, or incompetent or any other pejorative term (other than Tory :-) )

    Like any other competent political leader, she will be making calculations as to what advantages she can maximise from the situation she is in.

    Also, like any political leader, she can over (or under) estimate the strength of her position. However, anyone who has risen to the position of party leader, has demonstrated greater skill in judging such matters than those of us idly posting on social media.

  5. Laszlo

    “and the end of the queue of the lorries just reach Aberdeen (if then it’s still the UK) …”

    Alternatively, EFTA members NI & Scotland might be sending their goods direct to Spain (via RoI) and Rotterdam (via Rosyth).

    That would leave the douaniers free to check the Channel Ferries & Tunnel for escaping rosbifs.

  6. Good post OldNat. I concur. Much as I disagree with May’s politics I do think she is a competent politician.She will need every inch of that competency in the coming months.

  7. “As you mentioned it looks like the Walloons have killed off CETA.”
    @Colin October 24th, 2016 at 7:18 pm

    And it’s looking like the Brexiters are killing off Brexit. Come on guys. It’s you lot that voted to get out of the EU. Pull your fingers out and work out what you want. Next March will be nine months after the vote.

    God, are you going to be this slow with the trade talks too? The valley of the economic tick we are going to suffer is going to be very deep at this rate. Maybe it’s better all round if we just forget the whole thing and continue as we are.

    What’s the phrase? Put up or shut up.


  8. The latest RealClearPolitics polling average puts Clinton 5 points ahead of Trump, 45% to 40%. That isn’t a very convincing position for Hillary to be in in my opinion with two weeks to go, given the type of candidate Trump is.

  9. Issue I keep having with import tariffs is how the Uk would be able to impose them on european goods? Unless the Uk has the same tariffs with all nations, presumably europeans will find a way for their goods to arrive in the Uk from a non-tariff walled nation.

    I thought the government plan was that free unimpeded trade with the world would save the Uk economy.

    The theory of the EU is that it is an island with the same rules for the rest of the world. (as amended by special deals). It seems to me much easier for them to have tariffs against the Uk than for the UK to have tariffs against europe?

    Any one have an explanation?

  10. @WOLF

    “Only 18% of U S citizens have a passport so I guess they don’t do much foreign travel.”

    Erm…..are you serious? Go to London in August (or Paris, Rome or Venice) and you’ll see the streets packed with American tourists.
    18% of 322M people is 58M – that’s quite a lot I’d say!

    Most Americans are not willing to spend the money to engage in intercontinental travel – it’s not exactly cheap to go to Europe for two weeks. The top 20% do have a lot of money and they spend it. Anyway the USA is so huge that there is no real need to go abroad on holiday when your country is the greater part of a continent.

  11. @ANDY JS

    Hmmm….polls are all over the place but it’s clear that Clinton is well ahead. Some have her 10 points ahead – landslide territory:

  12. We seem overdue for Westminster VI polls from Survation, ComRes, and TNS, looking at their usual frequency.

    It would give an interesting add to the mix for comparison if these came out soon.

  13. Tancred

    I hope the 10-point leads are the correct ones. It’s a bit nervewracking that some reputable pollsters are persistently showing Clinton and Trump level or even Trump a couple of points ahead.

    The niggling worry is the ‘off the pollsters’ radars’ type of voters that came out for Brexit in this country – who haven’t voted for 20 years – will they likewise come out in droves in the USA for Trump, for no better reason than to kick the establishment in the team and help the chip on their shoulder that Trump has been massaging? (His deceit is criminal, as his policies would do nothing to help these people.)

  14. @LASZLO

    “I’m so glad that we are back to Brexit.”


    Did it ever stop? Even the Waterloo stuff was about Europe. Peeps been on about leaving the EU ever since we joined. Forty years of leavers moaning. Now it’s the remainers’ turn. Apparently it may be a couple of decades before we see the economic benefits of leaving so that’s a lot to complain about in the meantime.

    And the thread is in part about Brexit and Trump’s claim wrt it. Even peeps abroad want to keep the Brexit flame alive…


    “Apparently it may be a couple of decades before we see the economic benefits of leaving so that’s a lot to complain about in the meantime.”

    Absolutely, “What larks Pip”. My favourite Dicken’s quote seems splendidly appropriate again.

  16. before somebody tells me i think i put in one ‘ too many.

  17. @ToH

    Peeps seem strangely reluctant to wait twenty years before expressing concerns. The Times has the headline “Scotland won’t be driven off a cliff, Sturgeon warns May”

  18. It can’t possibly be that Sturgeon has an ulterior motive that’s nothing to do with the Single Market?

  19. @Neil A

    Could be. Could be Brexiters have ulterior motives too!!

    What about the Aussies then? Another headline in the Times says “Australia rules out talks until Britain has left EU”

    All these nations showing scant regard for Howard’s invocation to abandon consideration of Brexit…


    “Peeps seem strangely reluctant to wait twenty years before expressing concerns. ”

    Yes, I have noticed.

    My 10-20 years is my estimate of how long it will take to conclude whether or not leaving the EU was beneficial or otherwise economically.

    Of course it’s not all about economics. Many will be delighted for example the moment Art.50 is activated and even more delighted after 2 years from then if we have control of our own borders and have left the control of the ECJ over UK affairs.

  21. Carfrew

    “All these nations showing scant regard for Howard’s invocation to abandon consideration of Brexit…!

    When did I say that, I think you are putting words into my mouth. All I have posted is that personally I am finding the endless repetition of the same arguments from both sides a bit of a bore. I am sure a lot of peeps are, but no doubt we will all get drawn back into it.

    As for Sturgeon, she has had her bluff called.

    Got to go now as I have to see my oncologist. I will reply to any comments when I am back.

  22. Danny: “Issue I keep having with import tariffs is how the Uk would be able to impose them on european goods? Unless the Uk has the same tariffs with all nations, presumably europeans will find a way for their goods to arrive in the Uk from a non-tariff walled nation….
    … Any one have an explanation?”

    A good question, as this is one of the many opaque issues around Brexit.

    I think the most likely scenario is that when we leave, no free trade deal with the EU has been agreed. We will then decide to retain our existing tariff regime with the rest of world (i.e. the EU common external tariff) but apply it also to imports from the EU. Likewise, our exports to the EU will be subject to the CET.

    Any attempt to institute a whole new tariff regime to coincide with Brexit would in my view be just too complicated and time-consuming to be at all do-able.

    The UK could then negotiate free trade deals with the EU and other blocs/countries at its leisure, with the advantage that RoW trade would not be directly affected by tariff changes (though there would be knock-on effects from the new EU/UK tariff walls).

    The alternative favoured by some Brexiters of announcing an end to all import duties on Day 1 of Brexit is in my view totally impractical as it would mean us being swamped by imports, a further collapse of the pound (and I mean a real collapse – to well under dollar parity). Even if complete free trade is the aim, it needs to be introduced on a planned, reciprocal basis that will take a long time to negotiate. So you need an interim tariff regime, which might as well be what we’ve got, but extended to EU/UK trade.

    I have consciously avoided commenting in this post on the economic effects of applying the CET to EU/UK trade to keep it neutral!

  23. @ Neil A

    Lots of words/phrases like ‘soon’ and ‘almost instantly’ in the small print (i.e. the artlcle) with almost nothing definite. Seems like the Torygraph is trying to sex up the story a bit.

    @Tancred 3.01 a.m.

    The US is not ‘the greater part of the continent’. Including Alaska it is c. 9.4m km2 (and that includes Hawaii, of course). Canada is c. 10m km2 and Mexico c.2m km2. Leaving aside the smaller countries such as Honduras and Nicaragua, this means that the US is around 43% of the North American continent.
    Population is another matter, of course.

    @ various

    Yesterday evening’s discussion regarding tarriffs and their effects singularly failed to mention any effect coming from the 15% drop in the value of the pound sterling. Surely this needs to be factored in if any discussion is address reality!

    And I heartilly agree with Al Urqa (12.45 a.m.): the Brexiteers have been looking forward to leaving for decades. Why no forward planning regarding that possibility? Did the Brexiteers not believe it possible to convince the English that the French and all those otherr nasty foreigners were out to get them?

  24. Oldnat: (I know it was last night …
    “However, anyone who has risen to the position of party leader, has demonstrated greater skill in judging such matters than those of us idly posting on social media.”
    To be strictly correct, those who have risen to the position of party leader need only to have shown greater skill than those they are in competition with, or even just had the luck to be in the right place at the right time to take advantage of their mistakes.
    You don’t convince me that all party leaders at the moment, or indeed over the last 10 years, are skilful politicians.

  25. Why should the Brexiters have had a plan for when we left? The Government called the referendum, and therefore should have had a sensible plan for both outcomes – the greater work obviously needing to be put into planning for Brexit, rather than the more minor task of planning a few minor reforms if we stayed in the EU.
    Sadly, it seems they flunked that responsibility rather badly.

    I didn’t vote for Brexit as it happens, I eventually came down for Remain – but just because someone votes for a particular party at an election, just because they might even be a party member of that party, doesn’t suddenly make those individual voters / members ‘the government’ whose job it suddenly becomes to make national policy.

    People need some realism regarding what even leading campaigners for Brexit could have had by way of a tangible plan, and what resources on earth they think that these people could have drawn on to come up with this detailed plan over about just one year (for some of them, they only decided Brexit was the best option about 3-4 months before the referendum in any case). My ‘one year’ is based on the time from the 2015 GE, from which point the referendum became a reality.

    Whereas the government had the whole civil service at their disposal – why on earth did they wait until AFTER the referendum to put them to work on a contingency plan, which by that time had actually become the new reality.

    I liked Cameron a lot overall, but this lack of presenting two coherent options for people to choose from, in a responsible way (even if he wanted to come down firmly on one side himself, which was fair enough), really bugged me about his campaign. Contingency for Brexit was just put in the ‘too hard, don’t know what it will look like, don’t care, just make sure we win’ etc. column.

    Forget competence, this was barely ethical.

  26. I think the mantra that Brexiteers don’t know what they want is a bit hollow. They are simultaneously being accused of not having a detailed plan, and being naive that negotiations can be entered into before the UK leaves the EU.

    What’s the point of having detailed plans that noone will discuss with you anyway? Even if there would have been any point in the first place, as it’s not up to the UK how the final outcome looks, we are merely party to it.

    For me, the only thing that needs to be made clear is which is the reddest red line, immigration control or Single Market membership. And so far the PM has as clear as she probably can be that immigration control trumps everything.

    Of course half of the public, most MPs and a good chunk of her own party don’t agree. But being opposed it not the same thing as being unclear.

    If the EU position is that they simply will not entertain any sort of trade deal or trading arrangement with a UK that has immigration controls, then perhaps it is they who need to be clear. If that’s really true then there’s nothing to negotiate between the UK and the EU, just a straight choice for the UK between something akin to EEA membership, WTO Hard Brexit or cancelling Brexit altogether.

    I don’t actually believe that is the true situation. But that is the EU’s more or less stated position. There’s no way to find out what the truth is until A50 is triggered.

    What is very clear to me is that the EU, even before we’ve left, is treating us as an opponent not a friend. They are pressuring third parties like Australia not to give us any succour because they want us to feel cornered.

    That for is enough demonstration that our interests do not feature in EU thinking at that therefore pooling our sovereignty with the EU is a mistake. I find myself increasingly feeling the way about the EU that hardcore ScotNats feel about the “English” government in Westminster.

    To be honest whereas the Brexit vote was a pretty fine line for me, balancing the range of economically damaging outcomes against the range of possible benefits. I now find myself completely in favour of leaving.

    I wouldn’t however object to a transitional relationship, either EEA membership or something more unique, to provide breathing space to work out trading relationships. That’s not a matter of principle though, just a practical response to the deliberately difficult arrangements for a country leaving the EU, aggravated by the completely political efforts by the EU leadership to make the already difficult process even rougher.

    But honestly, given a choice between WTO rules (and 10% drop in GDP if that’s what it is) and continued membership, I’d take the WTO any day of the week now.

  27. Lots of typos in there. I think senile dysphasia is creeping in. I hope it makes sense though.

  28. People lie – full stop. And they certainly lie to pollsters. Politicians lie as we will see with Boris Johnson (again) today over Heathrow. The trouble is that we are so used to ‘not telling the whole truth’ that we are happy to tell a ‘lie’ when we tell people what we think they want to hear. Sad really.

  29. Neil A: “If the EU position is that they simply will not entertain any sort of trade deal or trading arrangement with a UK that has immigration controls, then perhaps it is they who need to be clear.”

    You are again erecting windmills and then tilting at them.

    There has never been the slightest suggestion from any EU institution that their negotiating position is what you postulate.

    We have been through this before but you see unable or unwilling to engage with what is really a very straightforward situation.

    It is this: in order to be a part of the Single Market, you have to accept the four principles on which it’s based, one of which is free movement of people.

    That has always been the case, and to interpret the EU sticking by this well-established, basic principle as hostility to the UK is to show evidence of a need to feel victimised.

    All of that has been crystal clear for many years, and for us to expect the EU to abandon one of its core principles to allow us to retain the benefits of membership after leaving is like a husband who sues for divorce and is outraged on learning that post-divorce he will no longer enjoy conjugal rights and free laundry.

    Nor is there any suggestion that a future free trade deal would depend on free movement. Do any of the EU’s existing FTAs depend on free movement? Does CETA, or TTIP? Of course not.

    It’s we who want to leave. It’s we who say “Brexit means Brexit.” It’s we for whom an end to free movement is paramount. Of course, faced with that, the EU27 will say, “OK, if that’s what you want, so be it.” To interpret that as evidence of hostility and grounds to accept a “10% drop in GDP if that’s what it is” is just…. strange.

  30. @BT

    I see your point about the Civil Service not having a plan ready; after all, dujring a General Election Whitehall is expected to prepare for more than one possible outcome. But the Civil Service needs a party manifesto to work from, whereas the Brexit people have failed to come to a common mind amongst themselves regarding what they wanted. It’s as though the SNP, although still the largest party at Holyrood, became a minority even with Green support, and was kicked out by the Tories, Labour and LibDems, who only at that point started to discuss what they might like to do now they were in government! If you’re going to kick out the status quo it might be useful to know what you and your allies are going to do afterwards.

    @Neil A

    I disagree. Any evidence for saying that Australia is being intimidated by the EU into holding back? Seems very unlikely to me.

    And why would someone who had declared that he did not want to be a member of the family be allowed to have a major say in what was to happen after he left? On what logic can any complaint be made that talks about the future are no longer incuding him?

    Personally I think the harder the Brexit the better: it’s what the majority wanted, after all! You can’t vote for something and then complain when it happens! (Not that you voted for it, but I’m sure you know what I mean).

    And I have no ‘hidden motive’ in saying any of this. People were told what to expect. Let’s see Fox and Davies and the others deliver!

  31. I think a lot of the confusion over Brexit is because people see it as a unilateral endeavour, a bit like a polar expedition, where what you meet is uncertain but not negotiable and all you can do is prepare and plan as well as possible.

    This is behind the idea the government needs a clear strategy for Brexit. The message is that if you aren’t prepared, you risk failing.

    In reality, Brexit is a negotiation involving (at least) two parties. What Britain wants – however reasonable or unreasonable – is not what it gets. It depends also on what Europe wants.

    That’s hard to judge at present because European leaders clearly want Britain to reverse the Brexit vote, so they aren’t willing to talk pragmatically at present. For example, how pragmatic is it to warn Britain against going for a hard Brexit? It is Europe as much as Britain that will determine whether there is a hard Brexit, as it will determine what it is prepared to offer to stop that happening.

    That means what matters is not having a clear strategy, but a clear idea of where your interests lie and what price tag you should put on each item. For example, if Britain is offered a deal based around a customs union, and another deal based around limited access to the single market in return for continuing contributions to the EU budget, the negotiators need to know whether the advantages of the latter outweigh the costs.

    The trouble is that these are not things that can easily be debated in public. Clearly access to the single market has some value, as compared to a customs union. At present, however, we don’t know what price will be offered for either. We therefore can’t have a strategy on which is better.

    All the government can really do is prepare for a hard Brexit (as that is the one option that is always within its control) and decide the parameters on which it will genuinely take a stand (for example, it won’t accept complete free movement as currently understood). Everything else must wait for the negotiations proper.

    If this sounds like chaos, that’s because it is. There are so many interdependent factors it is very hard to see what deal will eventually be struck, only the parameters within which a deal is possible.

  32. And, of course, Somerjohn’s post (above) is much more coherent and well-argued than mine. And much more gentle in approach. But he’s saying the same thing.

  33. NEIL A

    I think Neil A is interpreting the gruff talk from European leaders as an indication of their likely negotiating position. I don’t think that’s the case.

    However, I also wouldn’t take seriously any arguments based on ‘core principles’ or the wording of treaties either. Politicians in democracies tend to be pragmatists rather than principled. Everything has a price, and if the price is right, they will find a way round even core principles.

  34. NEIL A

    Your 10.26. post sums up the situation very well. I am sure that a lot of people like you will have hardened their position. Personally my red lines have always been ability to control of borders and UK law no longer subject to the ECJ. It seems to me that they are cornerstones of sovereignty.


    Sensible comments.

  36. An interesting betting slip.

    Trump to win US election
    Clinton to win election but forced to leave office in the first 12 months due to impeachment or ill health

    Just to hedge it a little.

  37. Given what Anthony as said about the similarities between the Trump and Brexit supporters i wonder just how unpopular Tariffs would be with the public and particularly Brexit supporters.

    If UKIP were to suggest that we go for the WTO option it might be popular

    Assuming that the 15-20% drop in Sterling has increased the gap between the value of our exports v imports to the EU to more than £8bn, then a Tariff on EU imports could be worth about £200m a week for the NHS.

    Given the prominence of immigration as an issue and that the cost of providing services for EU migrants was often cited then a Tax on EU imports to ay for it might be quite popular with leave supporters.

    After all who would people rather have paying for schools and doctors for EU nationals living in Britain: UK workers and consumers with increases in Income Tax or VAT, or EU exporters wanting to sell us goods from the Countries the EU nations using our serves come from.

    A kind of dilemma for May and the free traders in the Cabinet if it turns out that like Trumpeteers, Brexiteers don’t want free trade agreements either and would rather “Make Britain Great Again” and “Put Britain First!”.

    Cutting immigration and jobs for British workers seems popular with Leave supporters so Protectionism is likely to have a good number of supporters too.

    If sovereignty is about setting our own laws and controlling our own borders then why not set tariffs that help to offset austerity.

    I am not in favour of Leaving the EU let alone protectionism but given that people here seem so set on using the CIvitas report to prove that the EU will want a deal, I just thought that I’d raise the prospect that a lot of Leave voters might decide they don’t want one, particularly if it was pitched as an import tax to pay for the NHS.



    Interesting thoughts Peter, you could be correct for at least some of those who voted Brexit.

  39. The other Howard,
    “Of course it’s not all about economics.”
    Except that people’sreferendum votes correlate almost perfectly with their view on the economic outcome of Brexit. How do you explain that away?

  40. DANNY


    Don’t forget you can explain almost anything by the clever use of statistics.

  41. Danny

    Are you really suggesting that cutting immigration/control of borders was not the main reason for many pro Brexit voters?

  42. Neil A
    “Lots of typos in there. I think senile dysphasia is creeping in. I hope it makes sense though.
    October 25th, 2016 at 10:28 am”

    It made perfect sense to me and I basically agree with what you wrote. All this nonsense about the four freedoms. There is no logical reason why free movement of people has to be there to support free trade. You can perfectly have the latter without the former.

    It’s a EU made rule. Rules are there to be circumvented when they are inconvenient, and they are not set in stone, as the EU has capably demonstrated on many occasions. An exercise in lateral thinking is what is required, not the surrender and give up, it can’t be done people here and I think Mrs May and team are lateral thinkers. It is my view that our exit and the trade deal talks will be bound up in one. That view was also put forward by Nick Watts on Newsnight last evening.

  43. Robert Newark

    Yes its an EU made rule, insisted upon by Margret thatcher

  44. @carfew

    The EU’s claim that it is illegal to negotiate treaties to take effect after Brexit is somewhat dubious. It is all about the Common Commercial Policy, look at the EU treaty and try to work out how post-Brexit agreements can be affected.

    Also, there is hypocrisy. The EU was very upset that the UK could vote on matters of EU law taking effect post-Brexit. You can understand why-it is no more our business post-Brexit than our post-Brexit trade has anything to do with the EU. But we plainly have the legal right to vote.

    Maybe we could all be sensible.

  45. What do people think about the chances of Richmond Park turning back to the LDs? It used to be a Lib Dem seat and Zac Goldsmith was an unique candidate with a large personal vote.

    Richmond was heavily remain so it seems on paper that they might have a chance of engaging that vote.

    Of course, if Zac Goldsmith does a David Davis and stands in the by-election he’ll win comfortably but against a traditional candidate I have a feeling the LDs might have a shot at turning back the clock.

    I wonder how a “STOP BREXIT” candidate might do here.

    Polling Please!

  46. JOSEPH1832

    I agree with you, but are you really expecting bureaucrats like Juncker and Trusk to be sensible?

  47. ALAN

    If Goldsmith stands again as an anti Heathrow he is likely to be reelected.. If he drops out as an MP I would think the LD’s would win if they campaign against Heathrow as a party, if not then the Tories would likely retain it especially if the new candidate was anti-Heathrow. All IMO of course.

  48. Robert Newark,

    “There is no logical reason why free movement of people has to be there to support free trade.”

    Eh I think you’ll find their is.

    In an open market with free trade, capital can move without restriction, any bank in any country can operate and land in any other.

    If you are providing services you can provide them from any country to any other.

    If you are buying goods as raw materials to use or to trade on you can buy and sell them without restriction in any country and from any country.

    If you need labour or a job or want to provide labour or a job you can employ any person from any country to wok in any country and any person can go and work in any country.

    If a country has a surplus of labour and high social costs and another has a shortage and wage inflation, workers needing jobs simply move to where the work is needed.

    There is nothing but logic and economics underlining the four freedoms it is the UK’s unwillingess to accept them that is illogical.

    Why exactly can’t we accept the free movement of Labour when the rest of Europe can? What makes us different?

    Tory voters didn’t have a problem with free movement when Norman Tebbit was telling people to get on their bikes. Nor with “Auf Wiedersehen Pet” when they had jobs but we didn’t.

    You may not like free Movement but their is nothing illogical about it in a single market it makes perfect sense and I’d be interested as to why the rest of the EU should move on it because we have an issue with it.


  49. @PetercairnsSNP

    “After all who would people rather have paying for schools and doctors for EU nationals living in Britain: UK workers and consumers with increases in Income Tax or VAT, or EU exporters wanting to sell us goods from the Countries the EU nations using our serves come from.”

    It will be the importers and UK consumers who will pay all or part of the tariff.

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