Like the Survation poll in the Mail on Sunday, YouGov in the Sunday Times show Remain ahead again following the pro-Leave polls a week ago. Topline figures are REMAIN 44%, LEAVE 43%, with fieldwork conducted on Thursday and Friday (full tabs are here). Almost inevitably people are going to look at these polls and assume that the murder of Jo Cox on Thursday has caused the move back towards remain.

My own view is that Jo Cox’s death probably isn’t the cause of the reverse. YouGov also conducted a poll on Wednesday-Thursday for ITV, and that already showed Leave’s lead falling (and indeed, a third of the fieldwork for this poll was conducted before Jo Cox’s death was announced). Looking at the rest of the questions, there is also a marked shift in people’s views on how they think leaving the EU would impact their finances – 33% of people now think that they would be worse off outside the EU, compared to 23% a fortnight ago.

The historic trend in referendums is for people to move towards the status quo. In Scotland a couple of years ago a couple of polls a fortnight out were neck-and-neck, but moved back to a clear NO lead by the final polls (and there was a further swing on the day itself). In the EU referendum polls have consistently shown that people think leave is the riskier choice and that people think it will damage the economy. While it was never inevitable, this has always suggested that late movement towards Remain was quite likely. If people are increasingly worried about Brexit’s impact on their own personal finances, then even more so.

Of course, we will never know for sure. The reality is that we can see changes in headline voting intention in polls, but we can never be certain what causes them: all we can do is look at what events happened at the same time and at what changes there have been in other questions in the poll that might have driven a shift. What we do know is that, whatever the reason, we’ve got four new polls tonight – some before Jo Cox’s death, some after – with three of them showing a shift back towards Remain.


Opinium’s weekly poll for the Observer has topline figures of REMAIN 44%(nc), LEAVE 44%(+2), so split right down the middle. The fieldwork was conducted between Tuesday and Friday, but the majority was before the murder of Jo Cox. Full tabs are here.

This isn’t Opinium’s final poll of the campaign – they’ve got one more to come on Wednesday. Still to come tonight there is also a YouGov poll for the Sunday Times. There’s also a ComRes online poll for the Indy and Sunday People, but it doesn’t include EU voting intention (it’s online, and ComRes only do EU voting intention on their phone polls).

UPDATE: There is also new Survation poll in the Mail on Sunday. In this case the fieldwork was conducted on Friday and Saturday, so took place wholly after the death of Jo Cox. Topline figures, with changes since Survation’s midweek poll, are REMAIN 45%(+3), LEAVE 42%(-3) – so Remain are back in the lead after dropping behind in the week. Interesting, but it is as yet only one poll…

UPDATE2: There is a new YouGov poll (one of two tonight) for ITV. Topline figures are REMAIN 42%(+3), LEAVE 44%(-2). Like Survation the poll shows a swing back towards Remain, but unlike Survation this poll was conducted on Wednesday and Thursday, wholly before the attack on Jo Cox, suggesting that there may have been a swing back towards Remain anyway. There is a second YouGov poll out later tonight for the Sunday Times, with fieldwork conducted on Thursday and Friday…


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BMG were supposed to put out their final EU poll yesterday, but it was put back for a day because of the murder of Jo Cox and eventually emerged this morning. BMG carried out parallel telephone and online polls, and unlike ICM who no longer find any difference at at in their dual-mode experiments, BMG continue to find a big gulf:

  • In their online poll BMG found topline figures of REMAIN 41%, LEAVE 51%, Don’t know 9%. Like other recent polls this reflected a big shift towards leave, with remain down by 2 points, Leave up by 6 points
  • In their telephone poll BMG found a small lead for Remain – REMAIN 46%, LEAVE 43%, Don’t know 11%

BMG also reallocated don’t knows based upon how they answered other EU questions in their phone survey, this produced final topline figures of Remain 53%, Leave 47%. Note that the fieldwork for the poll was conducted between the 10th-15th June, so wholly before the death of Jo Cox. Full details of the polls are here.

Secondly today we have a poll from Surveymonkey. Many readers will recognise Surveymonkey as a software platform for conducting surveys – the poll was conducted by randomly picking some of the people taking other Surveymonkey surveys and then directing them an EU survey – so very different from panel-based online surveys. Surveymonkey did the same at the general election with somewhat mixed results: their poll had the Conservatives six points ahead of Labour, so in that sense was far more accurate than other polls… but the reason was because they significantly underestimated both Conservative and Labour support, so actually had a larger average error than some other polls. Anyway, on the EU referendum they found topline figures of REMAIN 48%, LEAVE 48%, No answer 4%. Make of that what you will – full details are here. Fieldwork was between the 8th and 15th June, so again, before Jo Cox’s murder.

Third is a poll from a company called qriously, whom I have never previously heard of. As far as I can tell the poll was conducted by embedding survey questions in adverts on smartphone apps. The data is weighted by age, gender, region, past vote and education so is making an effort to produce representative results – the question is to what degree, if at all, the sampling method is capable of producing a representative sample, which we cannot really tell. Their poll between the 13th and 16th June found topline figures of REMAIN 40%, LEAVE 52%, Don’t know 9% – so more favourable towards Leave than any other polling. They also released figures for people interviewed on Friday morning after Jo Cox’s murder, which were REMAIN 32%, LEAVE 52%, Don’t know 16% – a significant movement from Remain to don’t know. I would treat these Friday figures with a lot of caution, it’s a method that is unproven in political polling, the shift from remain to don’t know doesn’t make much intuitive sense as a reaction to the murder, and most importantly, the fieldwork was only conducted on a weekday morning, which may itself skew the make up of the sample. I would strongly suggest waiting to see what other polls conducted after the murder show. Details of the polling are here.

Tonight we should get new figures from at least YouGov in the Sunday Times and Opinium in the Observer, possibly others.


Ipsos MORI’s telephone poll for the Standard is out and now also shows Leave ahead. Topline figures are LEAVE 53%, REMAIN 47% among likely voters. On paper this is a huge shift – MORI’s previous poll had an eighteen point lead for Remain among all voters (which was the headline figure reported), and would have had a fourteen point Remain lead among likely voters. Part of the difference is methodology change, MORI are now accounting for turnout and have started weighting by education (Ben Page suggests this boosted Leave by three points) but even accounting for that it is still another poll showing a hefty movement towards Leave.

Since the beginning of June all of the polls released have shown the horserace somewhere between a tight race and a clear Leave lead. The last polls to show clear Remain leads were ORB and Survation back at the end of May – ORB now have the race neck-and-neck, Survation have a poll out later today which I’d expect to echo other companies in showing a shift towards Leave.


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.