Tomorrow’s Times has a YouGov poll on the EU, conducted after the announcement of the draft renegotiation proposals. Topline referendum voting intentions are REMAIN 36%(-2), LEAVE 45%(+3), DK/WNV 19%. While the changes since YouGov’s last poll a week ago aren’t huge, since summer YouGov’s referendum polls have tended to show the race neck-and-neck, so today’s nine point lead for leave is a significant departure, and the largest YouGov have shown since 2014. The Times’s story is here and the YouGov tabs are here.

Asked about the details of the draft renegotiation (the emergency brake, child benefit changes, the “red card” and so on) most people were broadly supportive. However, these things are more than just the sum of their parts, and overall the draft agreement is seen as a bad deal for Britain by 46%, with 22% saying it’s a good deal. A majority of respondents said they thought the deal did not go far enough (17% thought it was about right, 4% too far) and 50% thought the deal represented little or no real change. In short, the public’s reaction seems to be “nice as far as it goes…but not nearly enough”.

The poll was conducted on Wednesday and Thursday so in the context of some very negative press coverage. To some degree this may be a short term reaction based upon that, and we may see things revert back to the neck-and-neck position as the impact fades. Indeed, when people were asked in the poll how they would vote if Cameron managed to secure the draft deal at the EU meeting in February the LEAVE lead dropped back to three points, far more typical for YouGov’s polling. We shall see.

(On other matters, the Daily Express have tragically got their front page headline as the latest results from an open-access voodoo-poll on their own website. I really can’t be bothered to rehearse my usual rant, so here’s one I prepared earlier)


A quick update on some polling figures from the last few days.

ComRes released a new telephone poll for the Daily Mail on Friday. Topline voting intention figures were CON 37%, LAB 32%, LDEM 6%, UKIP 12%, GRN 4% (tabs are here.) On the EU referendum ComRes had voting intentions of REMAIN 54%, LEAVE 36%, DK 10%.

YouGov also released new figures on voting intention and the EU referendum on their website. Their lastest topline VI figures are CON 39%, LAB 30%, LDEM 6%, UKIP 17%, GRN 3% (tabs are here). On the EU referendum they have Leave slightly ahead – REMAIN 38%, LEAVE 42%, DK/WNV 20%.

Finally Ipsos MORI also released EU referendum figures (part of the monthly Political Monitor survey I wrote about earlier in the week). Their latest figures are REMAIN 50%, LEAVE 38%, DK 12%.

There continues to be a big contrast between EU referendum figures in polls conducted by telephone, and conducted online. The telephone polls from ComRes and Ipsos MORI both have very solid leads for remain, the online polls from ICM, YouGov, Survation and others all tend to have the race very close. In one sense the contrast seems to be in line with the contrast we saw in pre-election polls – while there was little consistent difference between online and telephone polls in terms of the position of Labour and the Conservatives (particularly in the final polls), there was a great big gulf in terms of the levels of UKIP support they recorded – in the early part of 2015 there was a spread of about ten points between those (telephone) pollsters showing the lowest levels of UKIP support and those (online) pollsters showing the highest levels of UKIP support. It doesn’t seem particularly surprising that this online/telephone gap in terms of UKIP support also translates into an online/telephone gap in terms of support for leaving the EU. In terms of which is the better predictor it doesn’t give us much in the way of clues though – the 13% UKIP ended up getting was bang in the middle of that range.

The other interesting thing about the telephone/online contrast in EU referendum polling is the don’t knows. Telephone polls are producing polls that have far fewer people saying they don’t know how they’ll vote (you can see it clearly in the polls in this post – the two telephone polls have don’t knows of 10% and 12%, the online poll has 20% don’t knows, the last couple of weekly ICM online polls have had don’t knows of 17-18%). This could have something to do with the respective levels of people who are interested in politics and the EU that the different sampling approaches are picking up, or perhaps something to do with people’s willingness to give their EU voting intention to a human interviewer. The surprising thing is that this is not a typical difference – in polls on how people would vote in a general election the difference is, if anything, in the other direction – telephone polls find more don’t knows and refusals than online polls do. Why it’s the other way round on the EU referendum is an (intriguing) mystery.


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Survation had a new poll of Scottish voting intentions in the Holyrood election this week. As usual in the present Scottish political scene they show a towering SNP lead, with Labour second and the Conservatives in third. Constituency voting intentions are SNP 52%, LAB 21%, CON 16%, LDEM 7%; Regional list intentions are SNP 42%, LAB 20%, CON 16%, GRN 9%, LDEM 8%, UKIP 5%. Tabs are here.

Meanwhile the weekly ICM EU referendum tracker has started up again after the Christmas break. Their final poll of 2015 had been an unusual 50-50 split but the latest poll has reverted to the norm – REMAIN 44%, LEAVE 38% (the equivalent, after don’t knows are excluded) of REMAIN 54%, LEAVE 46%. Full tabs are here.


Yesterday there were two EU referendum polls showing the race essentially neck-and-neck. Today there are two more EU referendum polls, but both of these have REMAIN with a solid looking twenty-plus point lead. ComRes for OpenEurope have topline EU voting intention figures of REMAIN 56%, LEAVE 35% (tabs are here). Ipsos MORI for the Standard have topline figures of REMAIN 58%, LEAVE 32% (full tabs are here)

Note that MORI asked the referendum question as a split-sample. Half the sample were asked how they would vote in a referendum, stay in or get out (MORI’s long term tracker question), the other half were asked the actual referendum question. The stay in or get out question had a split of 53%-36%, the actual referendum question question produced a bigger lead for staying in 58%-32%. Wherever possible, I am using questions that use the actual referendum wording, so those are the figures that have gone in my EU referendum tracking data here.

The difference between EU referendum voting intentions appears to be a gap between online polling and telephone polling. It’s always difficult to be certain of course – there are many differences between different companies’ approaches and there haven’t been that many telephone polls – but the phone polls from ComRes and MORI are averaging around REMAIN 55%, LEAVE 35%, DON’T KNOW 10%, the online polls from ICM, YouGov, ComRes and Survation are averaging around REMAIN 43%, LEAVE 40%, DON’T KNOW 18%. The telephone polls have “remain” substantially higher and, intriguingly, “don’t know” substantially lower. As ever, it’s difficult to be confident what the reasons are – it could be a difference in sampling (if for some reason online or telephone samples reach respondents who are substantially more or less pro-European) or it could be an interviewer effect (if people are less willing to tell a human interviewer they would vote to leave or they haven’t yet decided).

Meanwhile the monthly MORI voting intention figures were CON 38%, LAB 31%, LDEM 9%, UKIP 9%.


A quick update on EU referendum polling. The regular weekly ICM poll today has topline figures of REMAIN 42%, LEAVE 41%. This is closer than ICM have been showing of late – typically they’ve had REMAIN with a lead of around six points – but as ever, it’s nothing that could not be explained by normal sample variation. Wait to see if their poll next week backs it up (tabs are here).

The second poll is by Survation for the Europe of Freedom and Direct Democracy group (i.e. UKIP’s group in the European Parliament). While this is newly released, the fieldwork was actually conducted a fortnight ago (30th Nov – 3rd Dec). Topline figures there are REMAIN 40%, LEAVE 42%. After their previous poll showed Remain ahead, Survation are back to showing Leave in the lead. (Full tabs are here).