The weekend papers have the first two polls with fieldwork conducted after the New Year – BMG in the Independent and Survation for yesterday’s Mail. Voting intention in the two polls is:

Survation: CON 38%(-1), LAB 41%(+1), LDEM 10%(+2), UKIP 4%(nc)
BMG: CON 36%(-1), LAB 36%(-2), LDEM 12%(nc), UKIP 6%(+2)

Survation’s poll was conducted on Thursday and Friday, changes are from their big Channel4 poll at the end of October. BMG was conducted between Tuesday and Friday and changes are from last month. Neither poll shows any real significant movement. As you would probably expect, the bulk of both polls focused on the looming issue of Brexit.

On the Brexit deal itself BMG found that 29% of people think MPs should approve the deal (up 3 points from December), 37% think it should be rejected (down 6 points). Survation found 36% of people wanted MPs to approve the deal (up 5), 40% wanted it rejected (down 6). Both polls show some movement in favour of passing the deal, but still more opposition than support.

BMG asked whether people would support or oppose various alternative Brexit options. By 46% to 28% people would support a second referendum. By 45% to 39% people would support reversing Brexit and just remaining. Further negotiations were supported by 45% to 34%. A “Norway-style deal” was supported by 40% to 36%. Leaving without a deal was opposed by 45% to 35%.

Survation’s poll included questions on how people would vote in various referendum scenarios – in a deal vs no deal referendum, 41% would prefer the deal, 32% no deal. In a referendum between no deal Brexit and remain, people prefer remain by 46% to 41%. A deal vs referendum vote would be neck-and-neck: 40% deal, 40% remain.

Tabs for Survation are here, BMG aren’t up yet.


A brief note about the Survation poll in today’s Mail. A lot of responses to this have really got the wrong end of the stick – the Daily Mail have, quite obviously, written it up with a very pro-deal slant and have not focused upon elements of the poll showing support for no-deal or for a fresh referendum. Nevertheless, the core of the story – that more people said they wanted MPs to vote to support the deal than wanted MPs to reject it – is quite correct.

Firstly, lets us address social media claims that the poll actually showed opposition to the deal and that the Mail has lied about it. This is untrue. What actually happened is that when the Daily Mail front page was published yesterday Survation has not yet put up the full tables, so people looking for the full results on Survation’s website stumbled upon their previous poll for the Daily Mail, which had shown people opposed the deal. Today’s poll is different – and that’s the point of the Mail’s splash – the poll suggests public opinion has changed.

The two polls asked identical questions about support for the deal (so there’s no jiggery-pokery, so changing the wording – it’s a straight comparison).

Survation’s poll conducted on November 15th found that 61% of people had heard about the deal and of those people 27% supported it, 49% opposed it. The full tables for that poll are here (the chart that lots of people were posting on social media this morning was from this poll)

Survation’s new poll conducted on November 27th asked the same questions, and found 72% had now heard about the deal. Of those people 37% supported the deal (up 10), 35% opposed the deal (down 14). The full tables for that poll are here (Wednesday’s Daily Mail story is about this poll)

In the next question Survation asked how people wanted MPs to vote on the deal. 41% said they would like MPs to vote for the deal, 38% would like MPs to vote against the deal.

So far, so good. The poll shows a sharp increase in support for the deal since it was first announced – a fortnight ago the public were opposed by nearly 2-to-1, now it is pretty much neck-and-neck. While this is only a single poll and one shouldn’t read too much into it until there is other polling evidence to back it up, it does appear to be a very clear shift.

However, before one concludes that the public are now leaning in favour of the deal, it’s also worth looking at the other questions in the poll. The poll also repeated questions asking how people would vote in some hypothetical referendums. These suggests that people continue to prefer remaining in the EU to the deal (Remain 46%(+3), Leave with the deal 37%(+3)) and that in a choice between the deal or leaving without one, they’d go for no deal (No deal 41%(+7), deal 35%(+3)).

This leaves us in a bit of a quandary. People narrowly approve of the deal and think MPs should approve it… but they also prefer both of the two obvious alternatives to the deal. For the record, the poll also finds people in favour of a new referendum on the deal by 48% to 34%. It is hard to resist the conclusion that the public are as unclear as the political classes about their preferred way forward.


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There have been a flurry of polls following the announcement of the draft Brexit deal – all have tended to show a negative reaction. The most thorough were full length polls from YouGov for the Times and Survation for the Mail.

YouGov’s full length poll found that, based on what they had seen or heard about the deal, 15% of people supported it, 51% were opposed, 33% said don’t know (their snap poll earlier in the day had figures of 19% support, 42% opposed). Presenting people with a brief summary of what the deal actually entails makes little difference – by 50% to 19% people think it is a bad deal for Britain, by 45% to 28% people think it does not respect the result of the referendum. In Survation’s poll 61% said they had heard some details of the deal, and of those people who had heard at least something about the deal, 27% said they supported it, 49% were opposed.

YouGov asked people what should happen next – only 16% of people thought Britain should accept the deal as it is, 11% would prefer to reopen negotiations and seek a better deal, 19% to leave without a deal, 8% to have a referendum on the deal and 28% to just remain in the EU after all. In practice, of course, some of these options may not realistically be on the table. If people were forced to choose between the deal or leaving without one, 60% would choose the deal, 40% no deal. On the other hand, if the choice was between the deal and having a fresh referendum, people would prefer a new referendum by 56% to 44%.

Survation’s poll included some similar choices (though unlike the YouGov ones, they didn’t force a choice, people were able to say don’t know). If there was as referendum between the deal or remaining, people said they would prefer remain by 43% to 34%. If there was a referendum between the deal or no deal, people would prefer no deal by 34% to 32%… but with 34% don’t knows, who were largely remainers (and, if push comes to shove, I suspect may prefer a deal over no deal).

Turning to May’s own future, YouGov found that 33% of people think she should stay, 47% think she should resign. The figures in the Survation poll were very similar – 33% thought she should stay, 50% that she should go. Naturally there was more support among Tory voters, but even many Tory supporters think May should go (43% in the YouGov poll, 30% in the Survation poll).

There is, however, little optimism that a change of leader would produce a better outcome. In YouGov’s poll only 27% of people thought that a different Tory Prime Minister would be able to get a better deal (and only 19% thought that a Labour government under Jeremy Corbyn would get a better deal). They were a little more optimistic in the Survation poll, where 38% thought getting rid of May would increase the chances of a good deal.

In short, people don’t like the deal, but there is relatively optimism about the opportunities for anything better. If forced to choose, people would accept the deal rather than leave with no deal, but they’d also rather have a fresh referendum than accept this one. Whether public opinion really matters at this point is a different matter – this is one of those issues where Parliamentary arithmetic (and the internal politics of the Tory party) will be the actual deciding factors… they may be influenced by public opinion but, outside there being another referendum, public opinion is not going to be decisive.


A quick update on three new voting intention polls in the last day:

Survation for the Daily Mail have topline figures of CON 38%(+1), LAB 37%(-4), LDEM 10%(+4), UKIP 4%(+3). Fieldwork was done wholly on Friday, after the news of Boris Johnson’s seperation from his wife had broken and changes are from their poll earlier this week which had shown a four point Labour lead. The changes are from their poll at the start of the week that showed a four point Labour lead – obviously given the closeness of fieldwork those changes are more likely to be noise than a sudden surge in Lib Dem support within a matter of days! Full details are here.

BMG for the Independent have topline figures of CON 37%(nc), LAB 38%(-1), LDEM 11%(+1), UKIP 7%(+2). Fieldwork was Tuesday to Friday and the (insignificant) changes are from last month. Full tabs are here.

Finally YouGov‘s weekly poll for the Times had headline figures of CON 39%(nc), LAB 35%(-2), LDDEM 11%(+1), UKIP 5%(nc). Fieldwork was on Monday and Tuesday, and changes are from last week. Full tables are here.

All three polls obviously show Labour and Conservative relatively close. Worth noting is that all three have the Liberal Democrats sneaking up into double figures, something that does seem to be part of a wider trend of the Liberal Democrats very gradually starting to recover support.


Voting intention polls over the last fortnight have been showing the same pattern that we’ve become used to over the last four month: Conservative and Labour very close to each other in support, with the Tories averaging a very small lead.

Survation/GMB (20th June) – CON 41, LAB 38, LDEM 7
ICM/Guardian (24th June) – CON 41, LAB 40, LDEM 9
YouGov/Times (26th June) – CON 42, LAB 37, LDEM 9
Ipsos MORI (27th June) – CON 41, LAB 38, LDEM 9
YouGov/Times (4th July) – CON 41, LAB 40, LDEM 9
AVERAGE – CON 41, LAB 39, LDEM 9

There’s a fresh Survation poll in today’s Mail on Sunday, with fieldwork conducted wholly on Saturday, after the Chequers summit. Topline figures there are CON 38%(-3), LAB 40%(+2), LDEM 10%(+3). While Survation typically show Labour in a better polling position than other companies do, this is still the first Survation poll to show Labour ahead since March. On the other hand, it is well within the normal margin of error (Survation’s polls over the last four months have averaged at CON 41, LAB 40). I will leave it with my normal caveats about reading too much into polls after events – they have the same sample variation as any other poll, so don’t assume that any change is a result of the event, rather than just noise. Wait and see if other polls show a similar pattern of change.

In the meantime, is there anything polling can tell us about how the Brexit deal will impact public attitudes? Our starting point, as is so often the case, should be to recall how little attention most people pay towards the intricacies of the Brexit negoatiations. Most people are not glued to the ins- and outs- of it, don’t know or care about the specifics of court juristrictions and trade regulations. The Brexit deal will, in all likelihood, be judged upon broad brush preceptions. Do people think it is a good deal for Britain? Do people think it is a genuine Brexit?

On those two measures, the Survation poll gave people a brief summary of the deal and asked people if they approved – 33% did, 22% did not, 35% neither approved nor disapproved and 10% did not know. Balance of opinion amongst remainers and leavers was positive, though it went down better among Remainers (for Leave the break was 30% approve, 25% disapprove; for Remain the break was 39% approve, 25% disapprove). The response was less positive when they asked if it was faithful to the referendum result – 29% thought it was, 38% thought it was not, 34% said don’t know. Overall, 26% said it was the right deal, 42% that it was the wrong deal, 32% didn’t know.

That’s clearly a mixed response – the balance of public opinion approves of it, but doesn’t think it respects the result and doesn’t think it’s the right deal. And on all those measures an awful lot of people said don’t know. I expect that’s largely because people have been asked about something they weren’t paying much attention to and didn’t have much of an opinion on it yet (it cannot be easy to get a sample within a space of a few hours at the best of times. When England are playing a World Cup Quarter final at the same point…).

The question is how they will make that decision. For obvious reasons most people will not have spent their Saturday poring over the government press release from the Chequers summit, nor will they read the White Paper this week! It will depend how the papers react to it, how the broadcast media report it, how politicians people recognise like the party leaders, Boris Johnson, Nigel Farage and so on react to it.

The wise thing to do now is to wait and see if there is any lasting movement in the polls, or whether (in public opinion terms) this is just another one of those arguments about the fine details of Brexit that the public seem to be largely tuning out of.

(Note that – despite what it appears to show on my sidebar to the right – UKIP were NOT on zero percent in the latest Survation poll. The poll didn’t ask people who said they’ve vote “other” which other party they would vote for, so it’s impossible to tell UKIP support from the poll.)