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.


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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.


Final polls…

TNS and ComRes have released final London polls yesterday, YouGov have released final Scottish and Welsh polls. Here’s a quick run down…

  • TNS in London have Sadiq Khan ahead of Zac Goldsmith in the first round by 45% to 33% (Caroline Pidgeon is third on 7%, followed by Peter Whittle on 5%). Once second preferences are reallocated Khan would win by 57% to 43%. (tabs)
  • ComRes in London have Khan ahead by a similar margin – he leads by 45% to 36% in the first round, with Caroline Pidgeon and Sian Berry both on 6%. Once second preferences are included Khan wins by 56% to 44%. (tabs)
  • YouGov in Wales have final figures of constituency: CON 21%, LAB 33%, LD 8%, Plaid 19%, UKIP 16%; regional CON 20%, LAB 31%, LD 6%, Plaid 20%, UKIP 16%. (tabs).
  • YouGov in Scotland have final figures of constituency CON 19%, LAB 22%, LDEM 7%, SNP 48%; regional CON 20%, LAB 19%, LD 6%, SNP 41%, GRN 9% (tabs).

UPDATE: And finally, YouGov’s final call London poll for the standard:

  • First round: KHAN 43%, GOLDSMITH 32%, WHITTLE 7%, BERRY 7%, PIDGEON 6%; Second round: KHAN 57%, GOLDSMITH 43% (tabs)

A quick update on polls in the weekend papers. The Independent on Sunday is no more, but the Sunday edition of the Indy’s website seems to be continuing with their monthly ComRes online poll (shared with the Sunday Mirror). Topline voting intention figures are CON 35%(-3), LAB 30%(+1), LDEM 8%(+1), UKIP 16%(nc), GRN 4%(nc).

ComRes still have the Conservatives ahead in the polls, but their online polls are consistently the most favourable for the Tories – the Tory lead here (and the contrast with other companies polls) are solely down to likelihood to vote weighting; before running the answers through ComRes’s turnout model Labour were ahead. The trend is exactly the same as in other polls, a deteriorating Conservative position. It’s a five point Tory lead this month, but a month ago it was nine points, a month before that fourteen points. Full tabs are here.

There was also a new Scottish poll by Panelbase, carried out for the Sunday Times. Holyrood constituency VI is SNP 51%, LAB 19%, CON 18%, LDEM 5%; regional VI is SNP 47%, CON 19%, LAB 18%, LDEM 4%, GRN 8%. Panelbase have Labour and the Conservatives essentially neck-and-neck in Scotland (and given the distribution of the vote and the impact of the regional vote, it may well produce more Tory MSPs than Labour ones) – this is something that YouGov Scottish polls have also shown, but Scottish polling from other companies has tended to show Labour in a clear second place.