Some Bregrets?

The tables for last night’s YouGov/Times poll are now up here.

The result that has got the most attention is the question on if people think Britain was right or wrong to vote to leave the EU. 43% said right, 45% said wrong. YouGov ask that question most weeks and almost invariably it shows people either think Britain made the right decision, or are evenly split. As a result, a lot of people have got rather excited about today’s figure, when they really shouldn’t.

As regular readers will know, all polls have a margin of error. I try not to fixate upon the specifics because the margin you always seen quoted (plus or minus 3% for a 1000 sample) is based on a pure random sample with no accounting for weighting or design effects. However, it is a good rough guide – polls are not precise, there is some degree of random variation from poll to poll.

So far this year YouGov have asked the right or wrong to Leave question fifteen times. On average the result has been Right 45%, Wrong 43%, a two point lead for “right”. As with all polls, it varies from week to week, so sometimes it has spat out a lead of four points, sometimes it has been neck-and-neck, and how it’s produced one finding with wrong ahead.

Looking at the figure over time I can’t really be confident in any trend. The gap is smaller than in January, but it’s not as if there’s a steady decline there, it looks more like noise:

  • Jan the average was Right 46%, Wrong 42%
  • February the average was Right 45%, Wrong 44%
  • March the average was Right 44%, Wrong 43%
  • April the average was Right 45%, Wrong 43%

My expectation is, as I’ve said before, the people will probably more towards “Bregret” to some degree, simply because Brexit will require some compromises and some people’s high hopes will be disappointed. However, there’s scant sign of it yet and people’s opinions are often much harder to shift than you’d think.

As ever, YouGov will ask the same question next week, and the week after than and so on. If that too shows people think it’s wrong to leave (and other polls start showing the same thing too) then we can start taking about a cross-over in opinion. As things stand, I really wouldn’t get too excited/worried yet.


138 Responses to “Some Bregrets?”

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  1. @RMJ1

    Yes, l know. The point made by Ailsa Henderson (I take it you are referring to my third post) may be relevant, though I do not think there is a strong likelihood that the UK will walk away from a deal as has been threatened. The Bregrets, if any, willwait on the outcomes.

  2. JOSEPH1832,

    “£50bn at least to be promised.”
    For which we will still benefit from participation in these programmes or investments.

    “We promise to help them with defence and security.”
    because it’s mutually beneficial regardless of a trade deal.

    “EU citizens in UK don’t just get to stay and work freely, but can leave for decades, come back, can’t be kicked out if they commit crime, get better rights to bring a spouse into the country as actual citizens.”

    They want there citizens to have the same rights as they have now and will give ours the same. They are willing to lock up our criminals too, and the current rules do allow us to deport EU citizens after prison if they committed a serious offence. As to better rights than “Actuall” Citizens, they would have no problem with us giving our citizens the same right as there’s. If we want to allow someone to bring over their elderly Indian Parents like German one’s we are free too!

    “ECJ to have jurisdiction in UK (does any treaty give a foreign country’s court that power??”

    Only with regards to our relations with the EU, as there will need to be some arbiter and if not the ECJ it we would need to create one. We might want to, but from their perspective, why reinvent the wheel!

    “EU Parliament says they will veto only deal if we dare talk trade to anyone else – and wants us to maintain the common fisheries policy!”

    They want their Parliament to have the same power of Veto on the deal as ours, although May doesn’t seem at all keen on that kind of power resting with Parliament rather than her.

    In addition as we are a member of the EU till we leave they want us to abide by the rules until them and that means only the EU makes trade deals till then.

    Just because they want the CFP to continue doesn’t mean we need too, it’s just what they would prefer. Given the nature of fishing we will probably need some kind of deal with the fishing nations around us, unless we want another Cod War.

    You may not agree or like their objectives but it’s hard to see them as anything other than them wanting a smooth transition that looks after their interests and sorts out the disengagement from the EU before establishing a new relationship.

    Overall your comments kind of confirm my original post; some people see any EU proposal in a negative and adversarial way as if it was a challenge or agressive act.

    Peter.

  3. AW
    Thanks again.

  4. @PeterCairns:

    I am curious. Let us suppose that Scotland gets its referendum and votes for independence.

    If the rUK works out its ideal position, and presents everything as redlines, then presents Scotland with its share of the bill for HS2, will you find that reasonable?

    Do you think you would find it friendly if we didn’t give you a free hand to sort out your relationship with the rest of the world as best as possible? You’d expect us to help you get the benefit of any arrangements made as the UK?

    I would rather hope we’d be in the business of working out what sort of relationship we’d like to have given that we’d be different countries. I’d want us to invite suggestions on fair methodologies for dividing the national debt and civil service pension liabilities – and I’d be disgusted if we wanted to kick things off with a dikat.

    I really doubt if you’d want rUK to behave like the EU.

    I’m sure you’d want Sturgeon to put forward a vision of future friendship, and a reminder of what would be lost if we don’t have a friendly agreement. Or would you think talking about what rUK stood to lose would amount to a threat?

  5. @Joseph1832

    I agree with you if Scotland votes for independence we’d expect friendly negotiations with WM. I a pretty sure May would sabre rattle but it would not be in anyone’s interests not to reach a reasonable deal. The independence proposition is always going to rest to some extent on rUK being reasonable post independence.

    I think the EU will make a reasonable deal because it will effect EU badly if the UK economy slumps. And it doesn’t make sense for the EU not to maintain friendly relationship with the UK on issues of security & defence as these need close co-operation. UK could be for example like Switzerland out of the single market, customs union – but seem to manage well & very good relationship with rest of EU.

  6. JOSEPH1832,

    “If the rUK works out its ideal position, and presents everything as redlines, then presents Scotland with its share of the bill for HS2, will you find that reasonable?”

    It’s perfectly reasonable, to lay out your position and then we negotiate. I have no problem with that position as a starting point and don’t see it as threatening.

    As to HS2, it kind of depends on if it’s phase 1 or 2. If it’s the bit to Manchester which doesn’t involve us you’d have a hard sell. If it’s phase 2 that joins to Scotland, we’d be up for paying for our bit and some sort of joint funding of the Midlands to Scotland bit because it works for us both.

    Peter.

  7. Any polls due out tonight?

  8. @Bardin1

    If some of the medium sized beasts of the LibDems get back into Parliament at this GE and Farron hasn’t been seen to have the impact required there may be alternative leaders available who can gain traction.

    I agree with others though that the baiting of Farron over his personal religious beliefs is totally unacceptable.

  9. Does anyone believe HS2 is real?

  10. @PC
    HS2
    Phase 1 will speed all trains between Birmingham and London that use HS2 tracks. That will include those from Scotland on the West Coast Main Line. It won’t be a lot of time saved but it will be some. The Phase where Crewe is connected (?Phase 1b) will give even better time savings to Scotland.

    Come Phase 2 then WCML trains from Scotland will gain access to HS2 lines just north of Manchester and ECML trains at near York. They’ll then blast down both bits of line to London, saving a lot of time.

    Of course if Scotland can make up it’s mind about how they want to connect to HS from either/or Glasgow/Edinburgh then we can get on and plan the rest of the HS route north of Manc and Leeds.

  11. HS2

    Will be out of date before it’s finished. Driverless flying drone cars.. can’t wait! Take you to where ever you want to go while you have a snooze,,, so civilised.

  12. NW Durham has just become close….

  13. NORTHERNRURALMODEOMAN
    Presumably one can use those flying drone cars while drunk?

  14. No polls tonight, it seems.

    There were some polls today, for the French Presidential Election. Both show Macron 21% ahead of Le Pen. One week to go.

  15. STEAMDRIVENANDY,

    It was about a year ago, but the Scottish Government had been pressing Westminster for a decision on the route North of Crewe so that we could plan our end.

    We can’t build our end until we know where to connect it too and that hasn’t been decided yet.

    Personally I am not an HS2 fan but most of Holyrood are sold on it!

    Peter.

  16. @steamdrivenandy

    AI agree that the attack on Farron was base and did the media no credit at all

  17. Northern Rural Mondeo Man,

    “NW Durham has just become close….”

    How so?

  18. Scotland Yougov poll:
    SNP 41%
    Con 28%
    Lab 18%
    LD 7%
    Grn 3%
    Ukip 2%.

  19. “The Guardian does a good line in reporting the latest redlines from Brussels. The current score:
    – £50bn at least to be promised.
    – We promise to help them with defence and security, even if they decide to wage a full on trade war.
    – EU citizens in UK – some reports include any who have ever lived here in this – don’t just get to stay and work freely, but can leave for decades, come back, can’t be kicked out if they commit crime, get better rights to bring a spouse into the country then actual citizens.
    – ECJ to have jurisdiction in UK (does any treaty give a foreign country’s court that power??)
    – EU Parliament says they will veto only deal if we dare talk trade to anyone else – and wants us to maintain the common fisheries policy. (The Guardian gave us those, which is the EU’s paper of choice for leaking latest red lines.)”

    All this is just the usual scaremongering. TM will never agree to all or probably any of this. The EU are hoping we back down but accepting all of this is nearly as bad as being in the EU to start with! Once she has a big Majority they will have to decide whether to insist on this and accept no deal (German Car Makers will go ballistic etc) or come to mutually beneficially deal rather than trying to punish us for leaving.

  20. @ GRAHAM

    Is that locals or GE?

  21. @Bill Patrick

    I can’t answer for the commenter, but Labour announced their candidate for the seat today. I can only presume the implication is that she won’t go down well with the electorate?

  22. Whilst Labour have a majority of 10k from the Tories, the incumbent stepping down, combined with a UKIP vote last time of over 7k would be making things potentially interesting anyway.

    The early Wikipedia entries suggest the new candidate for Labour is very much one of Len’s, which I guess the original commenter was implying could play badly in that part of the world?

  23. @COUPER2802
    ” UK could be for example like Switzerland out of the single market, customs union – but seem to manage well & very good relationship with rest of EU.”

    That could be a solution. so like Switzerland we would join EFTA, become part of Schengen, pay money onto the E.U. and allow freedom of movement. Not sure how this would go down with some of the hard line Brexiteers within the country though.

  24. Since I’ve been getting some ads on here involving a “Saboteur’s Guide to the Election” and some other crap from the “New Statesman”, I feel like sending them something entitled “Bregrets only”. Anyhow…

    I get a feeling that, presuming a stable majority that can take a few defections one way or another (I’m guessing at least 360 seats) she’ll be in a position to tell the EU to take a hike on a £50bn “exit fee” and all of the other positions listed there. However, this is basically the opening position in a lawsuit, messy contract negotiation, or third-world market haggling: The EU is going to stake out those positions even if they’re unrealistic, both to “test the waters” on more realistic ones and to ensure a favorable climbdown direction. On the exit fee, for example, they’re probably setting to start out with £50bn expecting £5bn and hoping for £10bn. They’re likely starting out with a “no change” position on immigration hoping to limit restrictions.

  25. Summary of week

    Tories-doing well but drifting down from peaks;
    Labour- JC enthusing hard core and solid plus
    Liberals- no breakthrough due to labour solidity:tempting to say more sinned against than sinning.
    UKIP- meltdown
    Greens-weak due to labour solidity;shoddy dealings in Brighton

    winner: JC

    Looking at the new Scottish YG poll on PB (and smithson who would find liberal gold in a Cess Pit) the liberals are predicted to make 2 gains even as they lose vote share!.”Less votes more seats” is hardly an appealing slogan

  26. AR558 et al.
    “ECJ to have jurisdiction in UK (does any treaty give a foreign country’s court that power??)

    Most treaties give such powers to an external body of some sort, for example our membership of the UN or WTO. if we make any new trade deals with any nation, they will be subject to external authority. May is committed to making such deals. Unless the UK is going to cut off all ties with everyone, it is impossible to escape external control of the UK. All we can do is replace one deal with another.

  27. HAPPY ED BALLS DAY

  28. Regarding the yougov poll,

    There is more support for a law banning Burqas than for leaving the EU.

    12% of the population think that gay sex is a sin. Ok, a fairly low number though still one in nine. However, I notice that the figure for leave voters is double that for remain voters, and reaches 20% for UKIP voters. Similarly, the figure reaches 16% amongst christians and 14% amongst conservatives. Comparing with the 2015 party supporters, this figure has gone up for ukip/Con and down for Lab/lib. I see this is another measure of the polarisation of parties which has taken place and probably still is.

    In general, people think that UKIP and CON have clear policies on Brexit, whereas Lab and Lib do not. This is true of remain voters as well as leave, though the libs did manage 40/40 clear/unclear from remainers. I see this as a total failure to get across a message that they are pro remain (assuming they are). Obviously this is deliberate, they seem to be saying the nation has decided to leave so they will press on with Brexit, but then see how things pan out. I don’t think the polling goes far enough to determine whether this unclarity is a net vote winner or loser, but given there are two camps, leave and remain, Leave seems to have clear parties supporting their view whereas Remain does not. Unsurprising if remainers are not happy with lab or even lib stance and leave parties are doing well.

    Considering remain/leave are neck and neck, the more remain parties seem to be doing a poor job of rounding up that vote and have failed to capture a good 10% of remainers out there. Can they do better?

    The poll shows a drop in leave support, which Anthony argues is well within errors so may be just noise. Similarly, a slight rise in labour and drop in conservative support. Yes, but changes are driven by events and the event of having an actual election to vote in will crystalise voters intentions. Changes now different to longer term trend are to be expected.

    While the normal effect is that protest voters against the government come home for a real election, can we expect protest voters against labour/Corbyn to be coming home for the real election? Similarly, while some remainers had expressed a view that they accepted the result of the referendum, this is a new vote on the same issues.

  29. NeilJ

    “Not sure how this would go down with some of the hard line Brexiteers within the country though.”

    Totally unacceptable IMO

  30. Running the basic Scottish Yougov poll numbers suggests 2 LD and 7 Tory gains leaving the SNP with 47 seats. We all know there will be local overriding considerations but will this increase or decrease any potential gains?

  31. SNP will lose some seats but that will probably be offset by gains on the part of the LibDems, I expect.

  32. @bantams

    I expect Angus Roberston and Pete Wishart to be fairly safe so that would push up the SNP tally. The other interesting point about this poll if confirmed by others that that there is no sign of a further Tory bounce following May’s u turn on the GE.

  33. @ Hireton

    I assume one or two other SNP seats will be vulnerable as well, maybe less well known MP’s?

  34. GDP figures in line with expectations – ie low and falling.

    There are amber lights coming on all over the economy – corporation tax take, pay settlements, inflation, regional, non-London labour markets, sector bodies.

    Those people paying attention to this stuff are not currently talking much about it in public because it’s not clear what’s causing it and how long it will last, but mostly because suggesting all is not economically well is a fast track to getting influential members of the Government setting the political dogs on you.

    Fortunately, the way the pound has moved has been beneficial to manufacturing.

  35. From Britain elects

    Scottish independence voting intention:

    Yes: 45% (+1)
    No: 55% (-1)

    (via YouGov / 24 – 27 Apr)
    Chgs. w/ Mar 2017

    Scottish Westminster voting intention:

    SNP: 41% (-6)
    CON: 28% (+1)
    LAB: 18% (+3)
    LDEM: 7% (+3)

    (via YouGov / 24-27 Apr)
    Chgs. w/ Nov 2016

    interesting to see Scottish Labour up – could be interpreted as SNP Brexiters shifting to Labour (as most would not want to shift to the Tories), or simply that Corbyn is more in line with Scottish sentiment than that of most of England

  36. Interesting to see whether the U.K. economy slowing to 0.3% growth in the last quarter will feedback into polling results.

  37. @NeilJ

    No, I don’t expect it to.

    It’ll have an effect if it continues and worsens, but the election will be over.

    The Treasury will have seen this coming as a lot of other people did. You can draw your own conclusions from that.

  38. @bantams

    Yes I expect someone like my MP in W Aberdeenshire to be more vulnerable but it is also interesting that there are signs in the poll of the Unionist vote “re splitting” with modest increases for Labour and the LDs. If that happens that is good news for the SNP. In W Aberdeenshire for example the Tories came second after the LD vote collapsed but if the LD vote increases this time that may just knock the Tories.

  39. @hireton

    That poll shows the SNP vote going to Labour / Liberals while Tory vote is steady. That, I would think, means that the Tories are more likely to win seats like Aberdeenshire W. Of course there may be tactical voting going on.

  40. @S Thomas:
    Yes, but to be fair the LibDems arguably got unlucky a la the Bloc in Quebec a few years back: The election represented such a seismic shift that tactical voting was a pointless exercise. In both cases a party spiked by around 30% between elections (20% to 50% for the SNP, 12% to 42% for the NDP), the “main” opposition took somewhere roughly around a 15% hit (42% to 24% for Labour; 38% to 23% for the Bloc). In cases like that, everything goes to heck and parties go from third or fourth to first. I’d note that, in addition, Labour undershot their polling while the SNP overshot theirs…and finally, the LibDems being tied up with the Coalition probably meant that tactical voting which might have helped them didn’t materialize.

  41. C HRIS RILEY

    “The Treasury will have seen this coming as a lot of other people did.”

    Both Alec and I have been forecasting that their will be a slow down this year and we both looked askance at the OBR and then the IM F forecasts of GDP growth of 2.0% for 2017. Personally I expect 1.7-1.8 GDP growth this year. Rising costs and high personal debt were bound to have an effect.

    The recent partial recovery in the value of the £ will help on balance I expect and I am nowhere as negative about things as you seem by your post but of course time will tell.

    Like you I think this will have little effect on the polls.

  42. Not again

    ………………there will be ……………..

    Sorry.

  43. If Labour can creep up to the circa 22% polled in Scotland inlast year’s Holyrood election and the SNP fall back to circa 38%, some of the massive losses suffered in 2015 might begin to seem reversible.

  44. Chris Riley
    The Treasury will have seen this coming as a lot of other people did. You can draw your own conclusions from that.

    Indeed. I wasn’t convinced that the possibility of bye-elections resulting from prosecutions over election expenses explained the timing of this GE. It’s noticeable that the Tories are taking advantage of their commanding polling lead to ditch some expensive promises and are being as vague as possible about future economic policy as well as Brexit.

    (Can they really spend the next 6 weeks intoning ‘strong and stable leadership’ at every opportunity and refusing to make any commitments on Brexit or anything else?)

  45. @Sorbus
    (Can they really spend the next 6 weeks intoning ‘strong and stable leadership’ at every opportunity and refusing to make any commitments on Brexit or anything else?)

    I suspect they will certainly try, only obstacle maybe Boris, if he is let off the leash again and goes on a frolic of his own.

  46. @wolf

    Nationally that may be the overall picture but it’s whether the Unionist tactical voting of 2015 unwind in constituencies like W Aberdeenshire which will be important.

  47. @ Hireton

    I had similar thoughts about this poll potentially showing that the VI of some of the unionist vote is very fluid.

    Reliable sampling in such a situation is challenging, getting a representative sample of a small sub-set of voters whose behaviour is very likely to be influenced by local factors is virtually impossible.

    The apparent move back to Lab from Con could be nothing more than sample variation – on the other hand it might be real. Time will tell.

  48. Sorbus

    (Can they really spend the next 6 weeks intoning ‘strong and stable leadership’ at every opportunity and refusing to make any commitments on Brexit or anything else?)

    To me it’s starting to look like the Tories are following Mohammed Ali’s “rope a dope” tactics with Labour issuing new policies on a daily basis, they look willing to see if Labour blow themselves out then attack closer to the election.

    It’ll be interesting to see how much changes after the manifestos are published and the cards the Tories are holding close to their chests are finally revealed.

  49. ExileinYorks

    Don’t understand movement from Con to Lab.

    Con up 1 and Lab up 3??

  50. JOHNCT10

    Very good post – I think you have outlined the Tory approach pretty well. I don’t think they will drop the ‘strong and stable’ completely, but it will be touted from time to time (just to remind us all) and gradually they will gradually filter in their own policies (and attack Labour’s) watching all the time how quickly Labour blow themselves out which will determine how much work they really have to do. We are already seeing that to some extent in miniature with Labour seemingly setting off in the morning and the Conservatives entering the fray later in the day – although this may be the way the media presents it

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