This morning there was a substantial YouGov poll on EU renegotiation in the Sun – the full tabs are here. YouGov have done regular tracker polls in the past on how people would vote in a referendum on the EU, which tend to show a slight majority for leaving as things are, but a hefty majority for staying in if David Cameron manages a renegotiation of some sort and recommends a yes vote. It raises the question though of what exactly would past muster as a renegotiation.

On the principle of renegotiation most people think it is desirable – three-quarters of people want to see some renegotiation of Britain’s relationship with the EU, but are split over how extensive it needs to be. 24% think our current relationship is broadly okay as it is, and just needs some reassurances and rule changes. 27% want to see more substantial renegotiation with opt outs or changes to EU powers. 25% think there needs to be massive and fundamental changes for EU membership to be in British interests. Asked what things they’d like to see as part of renegotiation, what powers they’d like to see returned, immigration unsurprisingly came out top (and the related issue of benefit rights for EU migrants came third).

However, whatever they might like to see, in practical terms only 15% think that other EU countries would agree to significant changes. 43% think only minor changes and clarifications are achievable, 24% think other EU countries wouldn’t agree to any changes at all.

So, how would people vote if there was only a modest renegotiation?

  • If David Cameron secures a major renegotiation of Britain’s relationship with the European Union, with substantial changes and opt outs then 52% of people say they would vote to stay in, 23% would still vote to leave.
  • Realistically however, the chances of David Cameron getting massive British opt outs are probably quite remote – more likely if it happens he’ll get some more modest rule changes and guarantees, but no major changes in which areas the EU has powers. In that scenario then the vote would be much closer – 39% say they would vote to stay, 38% would vote to leave.
  • Finally, if David Cameron secured no renegotiation at all and had to come back and hold a referendum on the relationship with the EU as it is now 32% say would vote to stay, 45% would vote to leave.

Of course, these are just snapshots of the present situation, not predictions of what would happen after a referendum campaign… a lot could change in an actual EU membership referendum campaign (remember early AV referendum polls!), but it underlines the importance of the renegotiation and how it ends up being framed in the public debate – a referendum in the wake of what is portrayed as a win that protects British interests would be very different from a referendum in the wake of a perceived failure to get a good deal for Britain.

Meanwhile, tonight’s regular daily YouGov poll for the Sun has topline figures of CON 34%, LAB 38%, LD 10%, UKIP 11%

174 Responses to “EU renegotiations and referendums”

1 2 3 4
  1. @Colin

    “I must say, the inability to filter scan on the basis of coloured background & name is causing a degree of re-adjustment in reading here.”

    And there was me thinking that you were an avid reader of my every post. You disappoint me!

  2. Grey is a bit of a dull background though. I think it would be much more fun if we were all assigned a party at random and had to defend it regardless of our own views.

  3. “I’ll take a punt at Miliband / Alexander in 2015, and Gove in 201?, depending on the Lib/Lab pact’s length of service.”

    I think Mr Alexander will be lucky to keep his seat come 2015…

    I cannot see the LD supporting Lab either…

    I keep saying it will be the 2014 results that will set the tone for 2015…

    I can understand the optimism from some []

  4. Mr Nameless

    Interesting idea, we should be able to do it, the British have a long military history of heroic defence (Rork’s Drift* comes to mind, but could we defend in indefencible?

    *Well done the 2nd Warwickshires!

  5. Absolutely, TOH, re your last point. I made clear that, if I haven’t explained correctly the constancy of Labour’s 38 per cent, my conclusions from my explanation won’t hold up. Other explanations need to be explored, for sure, but your contention is not an explanation. It’s, as you yourself have said, a gut instinct. That is fine for you, but not something anyone else can debate.

    [Snip – every bloody time, this is not a political debating shop, if you want to debate if the government’s policy’s are morally sound or not do it elsewhere – AW]

  6. @Colin, Nick Keene

    What is this “Downward Trend For Labour” that was stopped by Ed’s energy declaration?

    Labour VI has been statistically static around 38 since the middle of the year, long before the Energy debate.

    And a brief glance at the recent figures doesn’t seem to suggest anything at all about “returning” to that non-existanct downward trend.

  7. I do wonder whether there’d be a bit of Stockholm Syndrome resulting from that – starting to internalise the party line we’re given even if it’s not what we’d normally believe. Hmm.

  8. “I’ve been going over the EU poll over in my head while walking the dog this morning.”

    Blimey! I hope you don’t do it out loud….

    Owr dad always gives us his full attention and practices keepy-uppy-headers and cricket and stuff with us.

    [Mum won’t let him do it in the house.]

  9. Colin Davis,

    Someone’s been reading some Tony Crosland I see. I’d agree that one has to distinguish ends from means (nationalisation was what he referred to but it applies elsewhere), although you also have to make sure it doesn’t turn into a game of mental gymnastics to try to justify whatever mad policy you want to pursue (see Blair).


    @”So, if the constancy of Labour’s 38 really does indicate a group of people who find neo-liberalism (and the way austerity has been achieved) unpalatable, …”

    …..we should soon see it becoming a little less constant ?


    “Writing exclusively for PoliticsHome’s Central Lobby, Shadow Chief Secretary to the Treasury Chris Leslie says it is the party’s duty to strengthen accountability and transparency in the public sector and pledges to “get maximum value for every pound of taxpayer money”.

    In an interview with the Financial Times, Ed Balls says “no area” of public spending will be exempt from the “zero-based” review. “

  11. Nick Keene
    “I know of several Tory inclined voters in my street who could not be bothered to vote in 2010-and this in a 4 way marginal seat!”

    I expect AW is at this moment adding this and all the ‘gut instinct’ stuff in previous posts to his historical analysis data.

    Meanwhile, may I congratulate OPs on following my lead and dispensing with colour background, very noble of them, and apparently you all decided to do so simultaneously. Was there a UKPR pact that I missed?

  12. Colin Davis

    “You tighten your own belt as you please. But if you impose pain on others, you need to be sure you are saving them greater pain by so doing if you want to pass the ‘ends and means’ test.”

    You have just made the case for the current austerity.
    Well done!


    Your point is well made. There has to be as much austerity if Labour gets in next time. You only have to look at the deficeit and more importantly our overall dept to know that. The pain of austerity would be applied somewhat differently but i suspect that the people who are suffering the most now would continue to do so.

  13. AW

    Point taken, discussion closed as far as I am concerned.

  14. Lee Rigby murder: Michael Adebolajo and Michael Adebowale found guilty.

    Hardly a Surprise with 60 Million Witnesses.
    They think its a holy war maybe we can arrange for them to serve their sentence in an Islamic Country

    Might I suggest.

    Diyarbakir Pirson in Turkey – aptly nicknamed Hell by inmates – is one of the cruellest jails in the world.

    In the past, prisoners have been known to set themselves on fire rather than endure routine torture by sadistic guards


  15. To AW:

    If a poster makes the point (and I quote) ”You cannot help injecting “morally or morality* into your posts. I think it perfectly possible to claim that austerity is moral in the current circumstances.” and if that point isn’t moderated, how can a respondent know that an answer to that approved moderated post is likely to be taken out? Especially (I would add) when the answerer took extreme care not to answer the question from a partisan standpoint.

    Your site, no problem with not joining in, but Is ‘every bloody time’ truly justifiable those circumstances?

  16. Hi, Mr Nameless, no not Tony Crosland. I’m just contending that all political decision-making and all voter choices and (where the respondents are thinking at all) all polling responses are governed by some kind of morality – and that, in the mucky real world much of people’s moral thinking is of the ‘ends and means’ variety. Can’t see why a contention utterly germane to polling choices should be objectionable on a site focused on polling choices, but there you go.

    If it were allowed I’d list the few and very simple criteria required to make an ‘ends and means’ argument function (in my opinion only, let it be said,) but I think I’m being asked to say goodbye.

  17. @Steve

    May I suggest this site isn’t the place to discus Lee Rigby’s murder?

  18. “Nick Keene
    “I know of several Tory inclined voters in my street ”

    Sounds like a bit of a rough area Nick.

  19. cmj

    “May I suggest this site isn’t the place to discus Lee Rigby’s murder?”

    Or [pet irritation of mine] passing on breaking news to people who are quite obviously connected to the internet and can access it themselves very easily.

    Its rather like me posting:

    “Today is Thursday.”

  20. @Steve

    6 hours per day of UK Politics, followed by 6 hours per day Songs of Praise. Occasional breaks for fitness, with re-runs of Lizzy or Mr Motivator (GMTV for those that don’t remember).

    That sounds like a pretty torturous sentence to me.

  21. @Pups

    Be sure to tell your Dad not to practise keepy ups with the cricket ball. Well, not without a webcam. Those headers will be entertaining.

  22. RosieandDaisie

    But suitable location for Pets at Home!

    This was a highly political murder and will without a doubt be discussed by Politicians of all parties.

    Having been nearly murdered twice by terrorists on both occasions having had colleagues and friends who weren’t so fortunate I think I will decline to take lectures on this one!

  23. Rosieand Daisie

    If that’s rough you want to come to my patch, unbelievably rough!

    Sun shining brightly today have you taken the dogs for a walk yet?

  24. toh

    First walk earlier.

    Field like a boggy morass with rain – or Boggy Maurice as we used to pretend the centre forward was called in the old days of sodden footy pitches.

    Second walk now – down to the river.

  25. howard

    Don’t knock “Gut instinct” too hard, it is often derived from indepth knowledge (not that i am suggesting i have that as regards politics). Take bird identification for example something I do know a lot about.
    Your under the Amazonian forest canopy, a bird flits by, you just see the outline, no colours. Gut instinct tells you immediately that its Screaming Piha. You tell the others in the group and a second later the bird calls and is then seen and is confirmed.

    You take my point. Its why I have said in the past that gut instinct is often so useful in a fast moving business environment when its based on an in depth knowledge of that business. The answer to an urgent problem comes without consciously thinking.

    I am sure much less applicable to politics which is why I could well be wrong in my forecast for 2015 but we shall see.

  26. Rosieanddaisie

    Agreed about this morning, very wet and tree down in the road from last nights wind. Nice walk though, kept to pavements most of the time.

  27. Today’s retail sales figures were far from inspiring. Tends to support what Alec has been saying re-actual outcomes falling well short of survey data.

  28. Alright, I give in. As chat is allowed here, I am going out to cut off this year’s Yuletide tree. It is off a mini one that I planted (it had roots still on it) about two decades ago . By the time I planted it, it had more remains of tinsel than any foliage but it prospered and put out shoots that curved round and went upwards. Since they reached about 4 feet high, I have been coppicing it (one “tree” per year) and so – how about that for renewable policy in action?

    In fairness, it would damage an apparently essential part of our economy, so better to throw things away, I suppose – we need that economic ‘growth’, not real growth.

  29. GRAHAM
    @”Today’s retail sales figures were far from inspiring. ”

    Month vs a year ago:-
    All Retail
    Value +2.7%
    Volume +2.0%

    Food Stores
    Value +2.9%
    Volume +0.2%

    Fuel Stores
    Value -4.0%
    Volume- 1.1%

    Non Food Stores
    Value +2.7%
    Volume +2.6%

    On Line
    Value +13.7%
    Volume +14.0%


    I would describe these trends as very encouraging :-

    Flat food volumes costing proportionately more because of cost inflation-we waste too much food.& are cutting back.

    Lower fuel volumes , with price falling proportionately more-less car journeys & cheaper fuel.

    Non food/fuel volumes ex stores growing well with prices stable-on-line growing like crazy ( saving car journey’s & fuel consumption)

    I think these stats ( in respect of some 5% of total GDP) indicates canny shoppers , saving money , looking for value & spending where they find it.

  30. I’ve just donned my political anorak, a nice shade of red with claret and blue trimmings, and delved back to the December 2012 opinion polls so that I could compare them to the same period this year. Considering there are likely to be few if any further polls this year, I thought it might be a good time to make the comparison. In December 2012 there were 27 polls conducted in December, compared to 23 in the same month this year but, bearing in mind both periods contain very similar balances across the various pollsters, I think we can safely say that we’re comparing apples with apples here. The comparisons, with the percentages rounded up or down to the nearest whole number, are as follows: –

    December 2012 (27 polls): Lab 42 Con 31 LD 10 UKIP 10: Ave Lab lead of 11%

    December 2013 (23 polls): Lab 39 Con 33 LD 10 UKIP 11: Ave Lab lead of 6%

    Of course, there has been some ups and downs for all four parties in the intervening 12 months, but it’s interesting nonetheless to see what’s happened, if much at all, to the state of public opinion after a year that contained some heavy politicking and a welter of significant economic developments. What are we to make of it all?

    My first, overriding, thought is how little has changed in terms of the state of the parties. Labour have dropped three points, the Tories have gained two and the Lib Dems and UKIP are more or less as they were. The Tory upward twitch and Labour’s dip has seen the lead reduce by 5 points but I’d have expected much bigger shifts in opinion in the light of the amount of political water that has travelled under the bridge over the corresponding 12 months. No Tory surge nor Labour collapse. Some glacial drift in a vaguely Tory direction, but those legendary tectonic political plates seem more or less where they were a year ago. UKIP and Lib Dem static and the Tories and Labour bobbing around inside pretty tight envelopes. Labour yet to crash and burn, the Tories still ticking over on the runway with no take off in sight.

    Other general observations? Rumours of the likely death of UKIP seem a little premature and their obituary writers need to hold on to their pens a while longer. I expect them to get a real shot in the arm in May as well. The Lib Dems, looking on the bright side, appear to have applied a tight tourniquet on the 2010 inflicted wound and have stopped the bleeding, but a transfusion seems elusive and unlikely.

    Will the two main boxers, Labour and the Tories, continue to box each other to a standstill in 2014, or will one of them start to inflict more telling blows than the other? The Tories have thrown some pretty big haymakers already in 2013, on the economy, welfare, Europe and Miliband’s electability, but the puny one in the red corner, whilst hugging the ropes a little more these days, is hanging on in there and ducking and diving skilfully. He may need to land more blows though between now and May 2015. He may be no Mike Tyson but does it matter if he’s in the same ring as Audley Harrison!

  31. CB11 3.02 pm

    Such use of hyperbole! Wow!

    On EU referendum I think if the question was ‘should Britain stay in the EU?’ then the answer will be No. If the question was ‘should Britain leave the EU?’ the answer will be No. That would happen even if the two questions were asked one after the other. The reason (I was once told by Matthew Parris) is that referendums will always result in a No the first time around. In that event, all the government needs to do is reverse the question the second time around and Bob’s your uncle.

    The poll displayed how confused voters are. I don’t think the results displayed any knowledge of the issues likely to be given house-room by the other EU states.

  32. CB11

    @”the puny one in the red corner, whilst hugging the ropes a little more these days, is hanging on in there and ducking and diving skilfully. He may need to land more blows though between now and May 2015. He may be no Mike Tyson but does it matter if he’s in the same ring as Audley Harrison!”…you don’t anticipate a KO punch from the puny one & are relying on a points victory.

    I don’t follow boxing much-but doesn’t that put his fate in the hands of the judges-who may not award points for “ducking & diving”.

    And Audley may not be a Tyson, but being bigger than the puny one , might still land that KO.

    I think where all these sort of prognostications & historic stats fall down is that they are in advance of the GE Campaign-where any fule * kno that anything can happen.

    * and Borgen addicts.

  33. On a pure extrapolation I make that neck and neck as near as dammit come May 2015.
    Methinks the reds on here are a tad over-confident (the blues are too, that’s life!)
    Those of us who live in Con marginals need to wake up, smell the coffee, and get out on the street!

  34. @GuyMonde

    “Methinks the reds on here are…..”

    There are no reds any longer; Mr Wells has erased us into the dustbin of history!!

    I’m a grey man now, but not in a John Major-ish sort of way, I hope!

  35. On the evidence, maybe I’m not ‘persona non grata’ after all, so in utterly NON-partisan response to TOH (above,) I would point out that I have NOT made the case for austerity economics or for any other policy in the post I made. I merely pointed out that, if a case is to be made for a policy (ANY policy affecting others adversely, for heaven’s sake) it will probably have to be an ‘ends and means’ case – whereas actually making that case is another matter entirely.

    For the record, utterly without reference to ANY policy whatsoever, certain basic things need to be established to make an ‘ends and means’ case – bearing in mind that ends can never justify means that are normally unacceptable, but they can forgive them. The most important criteria, I would suggest, are (1) that failure to achieve the ends really is less acceptable – morally – than attempting the means, (2) that the means really will achieve the ends, to the best of your knowledge, and (3) that no alternative, more acceptable route to achieving the ends is available.

    You can, of course, disagree with those criteria, TOH. But if you do, you will need your own criteria with which to replace them. You can assert whatever morality satisfies you and which you are confident in proposing to others. But you will need to ;propose it if you are to convince them. You can apply those criteria to individual cases as best you can and argue over how well or badly you or I or anyone else has done it – but we have to stop at that point on this site, which is fair enough.

    [In an attempt to guide, he doesn’t need to do anything of those things, because this is NOT a site for debating or discussing each others views of policies, whether you characterise them as moral or political or whatever. Please stop pushing the conversation ways that would inevitably go outside the comments policy – AW]

  36. I haven’t looked back at the monthly averages I did, CBat, but I seem to remember that, over the entire life of the parliament – as opposed to December to December – 38 worked out as the Labour floor for the parliament.

    December to December suggests the minor Labour fall that you point to, but over the entire life of the parliament, I don’t think there’s even been a fall. (As I said though, that’s from memory.)

  37. Good Afternoon and Happy Crimbo Holidays until January 7th.

    Tony Crosland went to Westminster School I think; the same place where Polly Toynbee sent her son, I tink.

    On polling, I think the fall in Labour’s lead since December 2012 will continue, with a dead heat looming in 2015 in the popular vote.

  38. Crossbat11,

    Well, there could be some reds posing as greys, a la Militant…

  39. No, accepted. He doesn’t ‘need’ to do any of those things unless he wishes to enter into an argument that’s not allowed here. My last paragraph was unnecessary.

  40. Chrislane,

    Tony Crosland went to Highgate School – not without its notable alumni, like Zak Starkey (son of Ringo) and John Venn, creator of the eponymous diagram, but less prestigious than the school that educated, among others:

    Christopher Wren
    John Locke
    A.A. Milne
    Tony Benn
    Nigel Lawson
    Andrew Lloyd Webber
    Shane MacGowan
    Nick Clegg
    Ruth Kelly
    Marcel and Louis Theroux
    …and Helena Bonham Carter.

    And people go on about Eton!

  41. @ Mr. Nameless,

    Chris Huhne as well, I believe.

    The Tony Benn + Nick Clegg combination has a pleasing symmetry to it, from a Labour VI standpoint. The man who drove out the SDP and the man who brought them home…

  42. @ Colins,

    Colin Davis: “So, if the constancy of Labour’s 38 really does indicate a group of people who find neo-liberalism (and the way austerity has been achieved) unpalatable…”

    Colin Not Davis: “…we should soon see it becoming a little less constant?”

    I shouldn’t think so. In England everywhere apart from Brighton Pavilion, Labour is the least austerian choice that is seriously on offer. Some of the 38% may be protest voters, but I suspect most want a change of government (and people are less inclined to protest the Opposition anyway), so they have nowhere else to go. In Wales they can go to Plaid Cymru, but the strength of the Labour brand in South Wales is such that poor Plaid don’t get a look in even with a more leftwing agenda.

    The only place where people have a party running to the left of Labour that they’re seriously willing to consider is Scotland… where they have deserted Scottish Labour for the SNP in droves.

  43. The most famous “old boy” from my school is Nick Leeson….

  44. steve

    wasn’t a lecture – just pointing out I don’t come here to read the news ‘cos I have already read it.

    Debate is another thing: I do wish people were able to point out the hugely disproportionate number of deaths that various religions inflict on their own countrymen, women and children when we have to listen to how dreadful outside forces are.

  45. @CB11

    (Sorry if someone else has mentioned this, as I’m replying as I read each post)

    “December 2012 (27 polls): Lab 42 Con 31 LD 10 UKIP 10: Ave Lab lead of 11%

    December 2013 (23 polls): Lab 39 Con 33 LD 10 UKIP 11: Ave Lab lead of 6%”

    “UKIP and Lib Dem static and the Tories and Labour bobbing around inside pretty tight envelopes.”

    Here’s another way of looking at it. Double digit lead almost halved.Conservatives nowhere near electable (polling figures wise). Labour sliding or not?

    UKIP now the 3rd party in the UK, while the Lib Dems have not advanced (or not regained any of their 2010 VI.

    Ok, so it’s a little more sensational, but if polls are representative, on the face of things, half a million people have changed their VI this year. Not bad, considering we’re not into campaign time as yet. All we need is the two big parties level pegging, and the two little parties doing likewise (with Lab and SNP doing something similar in Scotland), and we’ll have a fun (lots of mud and nastiness) election. :))

  46. I’ve come to this quite late having been frantically busy all day, so apologies if this has already been said.

    There seems to be a huge elephant trap for the Tories here. UKIP and Tory supporters are saying that nothing less than a root and branch re-structuring of the aims and purpose of the EU will do for them. But we know that this will never happen. There is not a cat in hell’s chance of the EU agreeing to most of the detailed points that the Tory & UKIP supporters see as “major aims” or “utmost importance issues”.

    So, assuming Cameron wins in 15 goes into these negotiations and secures some moderate gains (as he surely would). His own supporters, and the supporters he has lost to UKIP will not support that position.

    Seems to me there is no good post-15 outcome for the Tories. Lose the GE and they will be into a leadership fight with Europe central to their introspection. Win in 15 and face the Right being split apart in the arguments after the negotiations.

  47. Someone last thread suggested Ed bring Caroline Lucas into government. This would be a bad idea tactically for a few reasons:

    1) It legitimises the Greens as a party of government, which is like Miliband giving away his own voters to another party.

    2) Lucas isn’t exactly quiet about her agenda – it’s easy enough for a Labour government to nick her ideas and claim them as their own (and she can hardly complain much about that).

    3) If she gets herself arrested again, that’s egg on Ed’s face that doesn’t need to be there.

    4) Some of the Green Party is surprisingly hardcore – Lucas and Bennett* are the party’s acceptable face, but activists like Derek Wall are still present and have some rather “out there” positions.

    *And our very own Alec, of course!

  48. Re: The EU.

    Why is it that Britain’s been fighting tooth and nail for opt-outs, concessions and free money from the EU since the 1970s?

    What is it about this country that makes us act so, well, diva-ish towards the other countries? It doesn’t seem like any of the others make quite nearly the same amount of fuss.

  49. COLIN,

    I was referring to the monthly Retail Sales data released today which showed growth of 0.3%. Whilst a positive figure , the point was also made that over a 3month period there has effectively been no change. This does not obviously square very well with some of the survey evidence being hailed a few weeks back. Certainly there has been growth year on year – but it appears to have slowed down a fair bit since late summer.

  50. GRAHAM

    @”Certainly there has been growth year on year – but it appears to have slowed down a fair bit since late summer.”

    Let’s see :-

    YoY growth in Volume sales-current month vs same month last year.

    All Retail
    July +2.6%
    Aug +1.7%
    Sept +2.1%
    Oct +1.8%
    Nov + 2.0%

    All Retail excl Auto Fuel
    July +2.8%
    Aug +2.0%
    Sept +2.7%
    Oct +2.3%
    Nov + 2.3%


    That seems fairly steady to me , with no signs of tailing off.

    …and no signs of rampant growth in domestic spending, which certain contributors here seem exercised about.

1 2 3 4