A quick note on two EU referendum polls from the end of last week. One was by Survation, conducted for the Leave.EU campaign – tables are here. Topline figures there were Remain 47%, Leave 53%. This is interesting mostly because it shows a lead for Leave when the overwhelming majority of polling shows Remain with a narrow lead (the last poll to put leave ahead was YouGov in September). All the polls so far using the referendum question are here.

The other data was from the British Election Study face-to-face survey. This is not new data by any means, the fieldwork was conducted between May and September (mostly in May, June and July). It found referendum voting intentions of Remain 61%, Leave 39%. On the face of it this looks interesting – as discussed last week the face-to-face BES sample avoided some of the problems of the pre-election polls and got the recalled Conservative lead over the Labour party about right. Is this potentially a sign that the mainsteam polling on the EU referendum could also be getting it wrong, and be understating the Remain lead? I would be very cautious before drawing any such conclusions, not least because of the timing of the fieldwork – polls now may be showing only small leads for Remain, but back in May to July when most of the BES fieldwork was done there were some bigger leads, especially from MORI and ComRes telephone polls, which had Remain at 63%, 65% and 75% in polls at the time.

Things remain very quiet on the polling front, but we do at least have the weekly ICM tracker of EU referendum voting intention. Latest figures are REMAIN 46%, LEAVE 38%. 46% is the highest ICM have recorded for Remain in their weekly tracker, though it’s still well within the normal margin of error. For now the picture from ICM’s regular polling remains one of a small but stable lead for Remain, rather than any movement in either direction.

Full tabs are here.


The referendum on EU membership will naturally cover the whole of the United Kingdom, but the vast majority of polling covers only Great Britain. This is because Northern Irish politics are so radically different from the rest of the UK. I suppose in some cases one could make a similar case for much more polling in the post-devolution age as Scottish politics diverges more and more from English politics, but we are where we are – the default position is still for polls to cover Great Britain but not Northern Ireland. When we get closer to the referendum I expect we’ll see some start to include Northern Ireland, but for the time being many questions will just be being asked on the back of regular Omnibus surveys covering just Great Britain.

The Belfast Telegraph today have a new poll from Lucidtalk asking specifically about EU voting intention in Northern Ireland. Current Northern Ireland voting intentions are REMAIN 56%, LEAVE 28%. Unionist voters are more than two-to-one against EU membership (REMAIN 21%, LEAVE 54%), Nationalist voters are overwhelmingly pro-EU (REMAIN 91%, LEAVE 8%).

Northern Ireland is only 3% of the UK population so is unlikely to have a decisive effect in the EU referendum unless it’s extremely close – even if Northern Ireland does vote two-to-one in favour of EU membership, that would increase the REMAIN lead in the UK as a whole by about one percentage point. Still, worth remembering when looking at GB polls that the UK position will be ever so marginally more pro-EU once Northern Ireland is included.

We have two new voting intention polls today. First is a telephone poll from ComRes for the Daily Mail – topline figures are CON 38%(-1), LAB 33%(+3), LDEM 8%(-1), UKIP 10%(-2), GRN 3%(-1). Since introducing their new turnout model based on socio-economic factors ComRes have tended to show the biggest leads for the Conservative party, typically around twelve points, so while this poll is pretty similar to the sort of Conservative leads that MORI, ICM, YouGov and Opinium have recorded over the last month, compared to previous ComRes polls it represents a narrowing of the Conservative lead. Full tabs are here.

The second new poll is from BMG research, a company that conducted a couple of voting intention polls just before the general election for the May2015 website, but hasn’t released any voting intention figures since then. Their topline figures are CON 37%, LAB 31%, LDEM 6%, UKIP 15%, GRN 5%. BMG have also adopted a methodology including socio-economic factors – specifically, people who don’t give a firm voting intention but who say they are leaning towards voting for a party (a “squeeze question”) or who do say how they voted last time are included in the final figures, but weighted according to age, with younger people being weighted harshly downwards. Full tabs are here.

BMG also asked voting intention in the European refrendum, with headline figures of Remain 52%, Leave 48%. ICM also released their regular EU referedum tracker earlier in the week, which had toplines of Remain 54%, Leave 46%. A third EU referendum poll from YouGov found it 50%-50% – though note that poll did not use the actual referendum question (YouGov conduct a monthly poll across all seven European countries they have panels in, asking the same questions to all seven countries and including a generic question on whether people would like their own country to remain in the EU – this is that question, rather than a specific British EU referendum poll, where YouGov do use the referendum question).

ICM’s latest weekly tracker on the EU referendum has voting intentions of REMAIN 44%(-1), LEAVE 38%(+2). The gap has narrowed since last week, but doesn’t reflect any real trend: looking at ICM’s EU polls since the referendum wording was changed they’ve been very steady, REMAIN at 42%-45%, LEAVE at 36%-40%. These week’s figures are pretty much in the middle of that range. Tabs are here.

I’ve collected up the polling on the referendum so far here.