ComRes have a poll in the Independent/Sunday Mirror tonight. The finding that has got the most attention is a question asking who people think would do “a better job at managing the NHS this winter”. 31% of people picked Jeremy Corbyn and Labour, 43% of people picked Theresa May and the Conservatives.

This is a very unusual result. The NHS is, essentially, Labour’s issue of last resort. Whatever happens, however bad things look, the public will almost always say they trust Labour more on the NHS. Over on Ipsos MORI’s website they have data on the question going back to 1978… and you have to go back to 1978 to find the Tories ahead. If you go back to the time of the Brown government when the Conservatives were on a high there were a couple of polls from other companies when the Tories scraped a lead on the NHS, but it is extremely rare. A twelve point Tory lead on the NHS would be unheard of.

The reason for this strange result is probably the wording. YouGov ask “best party on issues” regularly, and still consistently find Labour ahead. Just this month they found 28% trusted Labour most on the NHS compared to 20% for the Tories. The difference with the ComRes question is that they did not ask just which party people trusted on the NHS, the choice was between “Theresa May & the Conservatives” or “Jeremy Corbyn & Labour” to manage the NHS. The introduction of the two leaders into the question probably explains why May & the Conservatives were ahead.

While this probably explains the difference, it should be scant comfort for Labour. If the mention of Jeremy Corbyn in a question is enough to make respondents doubt whether they’d trust Labour with the NHS – normally a banker for them – then imagine what he would do to people pondering whether they would trust Labour on the economy, security or whatever.

The other questions on the NHS were far more typical. While 71% agreed that the NHS provides a high standard of care, by 47% to 36% people did think the Red Cross were right to say the NHS was in crisis. That May/Conservative lead on the NHS should not be taken as an endorsement of their management either: only 12% of people agreed that Jeremy Hunt was doing well as Health secretary and 56% of people agreed with a statement that NHS care is worse than ten years ago.

Another question asked about high pay and is more encouraging for Jeremy Corbyn. A YouGov poll in the week asked about a pretty tough policy on high pay (a maximum earnings limit of £1m a year) and got a negative response: only 31% thought it a good idea, 44% a bad idea. ComRes asked about a much subtler policy (giving tax benefits or government contracts to companies with a maximum ratio of 20 to 1 between top and average salaries) and this got a much better reception, 57% thought they should, 30% thought the government should not interfere.

Opinium also have a new poll out tonight for the Observer – details here. They have topline voting intention figures of CON 38%(nc), LAB 30%(-1), LDEM 7%(+1), UKIP 14%(+1). The eight point lead is lower than most other polls show, but this seems to be a consistent pattern from Opinium – presumably for methodological reasons – rather than a drop since their previous poll.


It’s the eve of the referendum, so we have a flurry of late polls. Later on this evening we will have figures from ComRes and YouGov (Ipsos MORI’s final poll is normally in the Standard, so will probably be out tomorrow morning), already we have final figures from TNS and Opinium.

Opinium have topline figures of REMAIN 44%, LEAVE 45%, Undecided 9%. Leave are ahead by the tiniest of margins, but clearly the two sides are within the margin of error of each other. Full tabs are here.

TNS‘s final referendum poll also has Leave ahead, this time by two points. Topline figures here are REMAIN 41%, LEAVE 43%, Undecided or won’t vote 16%. Note that unlike TNS’s last few polls their headline figures here are NOT weighted for turnout – with their turnout model they would have been Remain 42%, Leave 49%. Full tabs are here.

I will update later once ComRes and YouGov publish. In the meantime both of the non-British Polling Council companies who produced more unorthodox polls last week have produced updated figures – SurveyMonkey have final figures of REMAIN 50%, LEAVE 47%; Qriously (the company sampling via smartphone ads) has final figures of REMAIN 37%, LEAVE 51, Don’t know 12%. Again, make of that what you will.

UPDATE: The ComRes and YouGov eve-of-referendum polls are now also out. Whereas TNS and Opinium both had Leave leads, ComRes and YouGov both show Remain ahead (albeit, by different margins):

ComRes for the Daily Mail have topline figures of REMAIN 54%, LEAVE 46%, a widening of the Remain lead after their last poll showing Remain and Leave within a point of each other. ComRes have reallocated don’t knows based on respondents’ views of the impact of Brexit on the economy, which looks like it boosted Remain by a point or so. Full tabs are here.

YouGov for the Times have topline figures of REMAIN 51%, LEAVE 49% – so considerably closer. The YouGov poll now includes a turnout weight (though it made no difference at all to the topline) and a squeeze question, which also bumped Remain up by a point. Full tables are here. On YouGov’s website they’ve also updated the multilevel regression and post-stratification (MRP) model of referendum voting using all their data, which they first posted earlier in the week, that is now also pointing towards a small lead for Remain.

Note that all four of the polls here include Northern Ireland. Most general election polls don’t, and so polls during the EU campaign have varied on whether they do or do not include NI – all these four do.

UPDATE2: Two more polls published on the day itself. Note that these polls were conducted before polls opened, they are only published today. It’s illegal to publish polls conducted on the day until polls close, but perfectly fine to publish polls conducted before polls opened.

Ipsos MORI‘s final poll has topline figures of REMAIN 52%, LEAVE 48%, putting Remain back ahead after a leave lead in MORI’s penultimate poll. MORI have slightly changed their turnout filter for their final poll, basing it on how likely people say they are to vote and how important they say the result is to them. Full tabs are here.

Finally, and a little surprisingly, Populus have produced a final call poll. Populus’s Andrew Cooper has been working with the StrongerIn campaign so the company haven’t been putting out regular polls during the campaign, but they have produced final topline figures of REMAIN 55%, LEAVE 45%. Unexpectedly given the topline results the poll was conducted online (completely messing up that “phone & YouGov saying in, other online saying out” pattern). Populus haven’t released tables yet, so I’ve no details of the weightings or adjustments used.


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Two more polls today, two more significant swings towards Leave:

  • TNS’s latest poll, conducted online, has topline figures of REMAIN 40%(-1), LEAVE 47%(+4), Undecided or Wouldn’t Vote 13%(-3). The changes since their previous poll in mid-May probably understate the move towards Leave a little as TNS have made some adjustments to their methodology (asking about postal votes and if people are registered and weighting by attitudes towards immigration). Under the old methodology the poll would have shown a ten point lead for leave. Tabs are here.
  • A new ComRes telephone poll for the Sun has topline figures of REMAIN 46%(-6), LEAVE 45%(+4), Don’t know 9%(+2). Again, we see the same strong movement towards Leave that we’ve seen in other polls since the end of May.

The recent shift in favour of Leave is now undeniable, but the polls are still inconsistent in terms of whether that shift has left Leave with a clear lead, or the race neck-and-neck. Opinium and ComRes now have the race neck-and-neck; YouGov, ICM and TNS have Leave in the lead (and ORB have both, depending on if you look at their figures for all voters, or likely voters).

The result now depends on whether there is a shift back towards the status quo over the final week (or indeed, on the day itself). If you think back to the Scottish referendum there was a movement towards YES in the month before, and then Scottish voters swung back towards NO over the last fortnight. That movement towards the status quo on the final straight is a common pattern in referendums across the globe: as it gets close to polling day some voters recoil from the perceived risks of whatever unknown they are voting upon. Time will tell if we see a similar pattern over the next week and a bit.


ComRes had a new EU telephone poll in this morning’s Daily Mail. Topline figures are REMAIN 52%(-1), LEAVE 41%(+3), Don’t know 7%(-2). Tabs are here.

Note that this poll is now adjusted for likelihood to vote, using ComRes’s turnout model based on socio-economic factors, like age and class (the changes are adjusted to reflect this). Note that adjusting turnout based on ComRes’s model has marginally increased support for Remain (before the adjustment the figures would have been 51 and 41).

There’s a broad assumption that differental turnout is more likely to favour Leave in the EU referendum campaign, largely based on the fact that polls normally show Leave voters claiming they are more likely to be 10/10 certain to vote, and that Leave voters are older. I’m not so sure. Self-reported likelihood is a blunt tool (people who say they are 10/10 certain to vote are not really much more likely than 8/10 or 9/10 people), and the age skew that should favour Leave in terms of turnout (older people are more likely to vote, and more Leave) will to some degree be cancelled out by the social class and educational skews that favour Remain (middle class people and graduates are more likely to vote, and more Remain).

On the subject of education, YouGov also had an interesting article up today. Like Populus and ICM they have carried out parallel telephone and online surveys, but unlike other such tests which have found a big gulf between phone and online results YouGov found results that were very similar to each other: both phone and online polls found a small lead for Leave.

This result wasn’t just the weighting (even before weighting the raw sample was a lot more “leave” than the raw samples from other phone polls) suggesting it is something to do with the sampling. Obviously we can’t tell for certain what the reason is – the most obvious difference is that the YouGov poll was conducted over the period of a fortnight, so was slower than most telephone polls and there was more opportunity to ring back people who were unavailable on the first call – but there could be other differences to do with quotas or the proportion of mobile calls (the YouGov poll was about a third mobile, two-thirds landline. My understanding is most phone polls are about 50/50 now, though MORI is about 20/80).

Looking at the actual demographics of the sample YouGov highlight the difference between their landline sample and the samples for the Populus paper looking at phone/online differences – specifically on education. In the Populus telephone samples between 44-46% of people had degrees, whereas the actual figure in the Census and Annual Population Survey is around 30%. The YouGov phone sample had a lower proportion of people with degrees to begin with, and weighted it to the national figure.

There is a clear correlation between education and attitudes to the EU referendum (in the YouGov polls there was a Leave lead of about 30 points among people who left school at 16 and a Remain lead of 33 points among those who were in educated beyond the age of twenty. This is partially to do with age, but it remains true even within people of the same age) so samples are too educated or not educated enough it could easily make a difference. As it is we’ve only got education data for the Populus polling – we don’t know if there’s the same skew in other phone polls, or how much of a difference it would make if corrected, but different levels of education within achieved samples is a further hypothesis that could explain that ongoing difference between phone and telephone samples for the EU referendum.


ICM have again conducted two parallel polls for the Guardian, one online, one by telephone (tabs). The pattern is the same as last month, on Westminster voting intention the two ICM polls show the same two point lead, although the ICM online poll has a higher level of UKIP support:

ICM Online – CON 34%, LAB 32%, LDEM 7%, UKIP 17%, GRN 4%
ICM Phone – CON 36%, LAB 34%, LDEM 7%, UKIP 13%, GRN 4%

For the EU referendum ICM have the typical phone vs online contrast. They have a eight point lead for Remain by phone, a four point lead for leave online… a twelve point gap (the average gap between online and telephone polls since the start of April is about 10 points, so ICM is a little larger, but nothing to write home about).

ICM Online – Remain 43%, Leave 47%, Don’t know 10%
ICM Phone – Remain 47%, Leave 39%, Don’t know 14%

Martin Boon’s own take over on the ICM website is, as usual, both honest and somewhat bemused: “The narrative that phone polls are more likely to be right ignores some fundamental flaws in phone methods. Labour supporters are continually oversampled by phone, and that may matter more than those same phone polls missing out on supposedly pro-Remain types, who are disproportionately less likely to turn out to vote. Similarly, what’s lurking under online covers could be equally nasty, and we should not ignore that the fact the UKIP voters are again, as they have long since been, higher in online polls than phone (or indeed at recent elections).”

Incidentally, it’s probably worth flagging up that there are house effects beyond just the phone/online difference. There are differences between different online pollsters too. This is ICM’s sixth online poll in a row to show Leave ahead, and they are clearly showing a small Leave lead. In contrast the majority of online polls conducted by YouGov and TNS over the last six weeks have had Remain very narrowly ahead, it’s not a big gap, but it’s starting to look consistent. When it actually comes to learning lessons from the EU referendum, these smaller differences may end up being the more valuable: without much fuss, pollsters are taking quite different approaches to correcting their methods after last year and the referendum may teach us something useful about what corrections are (or are not) working for online; what corrections are (or are not) working for telephone.

Methodological concerns aside, what does ICM tell us about the state of public opinion? Well both their phone and online polls have the gap between Tory and Labour narrowing, down from five point leads a month ago. In the referendum race the four point leave lead in the online poll is ICM’s largest this year… but that trend isn’t echoed in the phone poll. We shall see if other EU polling this week shows any coherent trend.

There was also a new ComRes online poll at the weekend for the Indy and Sunday Mirror. This had topline figures of CON 36%(+1), LAB 30%(nc), LDEM 8%(nc), UKIP 17%(+1), GRN 4%(nc). On the face of it this is a stronger poll for the Tories, but this is largely methodological – ComRes’s online polls tend to produce the most positive results for the Tories of any company because of their demographic based turnout model. Full tabs are here.