Over on the YouGov website I’ve written a long piece looking at how the ground lies ahead of the European referendum campaign – what the breakdown of support and opposition currently is, how people perceive those who support and oppose Europe, how effective the arguments might be and how risky each option is currently seen. Read it here.

Meanwhile ICM put out their weekly tracking data on EU referendum voting intention today, their latest figures are REMAIN 44%, LEAVE 37%.

188 Responses to “Previewing the EU referendum battle”

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  1. Bill

    It is the Inner City areas where any damage to the SNP might occur.

    Who was under any illusion about rural SNPers being socialist?

  2. Hawthorn,

    So Corbyn was not expected to make an impact in rural Britain? That’s a courageous way to try and win.

  3. @Colin

    “The corporate world has to earn credibility & support by its own actions.”

    True, but the problem is that the corporate world is not liable to get its house in order until somebody gives it a meaty crack of the whip. After all if they can get away with this kind of rubbish with no real adverse consequences, then they will continue to do said kind of rubbish.

    Unfortunately I suspect that the present governing parties across the EU are not liable to be ones to do this (Germany because they’re not going to want to knock down one of their key industries; and Britain and France both have special protected areas – finance and agriculture respectively – that they won’t want anyone peering into too closely).

  4. Bill

    Since when did Labour pick loads of rural seats? Even Blair didn’t manage that.


    @”True, but the problem is that the corporate world is not liable to get its house in order until somebody gives it a meaty crack of the whip”

    I agree.

    This is the job of politicians -to produce appropriate laws & regulatory regimes.

  6. @RAF

    The reason only 5% of American cars are diesels is purely down to cost.

    The difference between the American regulations and the European regs is that the American ones treat emissions from petrol and diesel cars exactly the same on the grounds that if NOx gasses are harmful to health they should be restricted regardless of which vehicle they come from. In Europe the emissions requirements for diesels are much more relaxed than for petrol engines.

    It’s to do with how expensive it is to reduce emissions from diesels.




    The 50-state light-duty vehicle limit for emissions of nitrogen oxides is 0.07 grams per mile. In Western Europe, the limit is 0.29. Reducing NOx to nitrogen and oxygen is much harder with a diesel engine because the exhaust is typically cooler and contains less oxygen compared to a gas engine. To meet U.S. regulations, diesel engines are required to use complicated–and expensive–high-pressure fuel injection and after-treatment systems that in some cases inject an aqueous urea solution to handle the NOx. The added expense of course means an even longer payback period for the consumer.

    End Quote

    The long and short of it is that a compliant diesel car would be more expensive than a compliant petrol car in the USA. Which is why people avoid them.

    My guess is that the health professionals asked for restrictions because they were seeing respiratory problems. The legislators started legislating but the car industry then lobbied European govts to relax the requirements for diesels to make them cheaper to manufacture.

  7. “Austrian Interior Minister Johanna Mikl-Leitner said her country, which together with Germany temporarily waived the rule for Syrian refugees three weeks ago, had sent back more than 5,000 migrants to safe EU countries that they had crossed.”

    What ridiculous nonsense this is.

    Zero control of external borders; encourage illegal migrants to head for Germany through small , ill equiped countries causing tensions across the Balkans.
    Then send them back through the tortuous & dangerous route you encourage & facilitated in the first place.

    EU decision making in a crisis.-do the most stupid thing very very slowly.

    I think Tusk is correct in his dire warnings to the EU.

  8. I should have also added that in the USA health costs are picked up by consumers and their insurance companies.

    So you ended up having two private sector lobbies facing off against each other. The insurance companies who want restrictions to these types of gasses as it reduces illness and thus incidence of claims, and the car companies who want to be able to manufacture as cheaply as possible. The insurance lobby was stronger.

    In Europe, health costs are picked up by the taxpayer. Unless there is a strong advocate on the taxpayer side saying “we need to drive down costs by reducing illness in the first place”, you get a “privatise the profits, socialise the costs” outcome. Where the costs of the gasses spewed are met by the taxpayers while the private companies keep the profits accrued from polluting.

    I’m in favour of the NHS, but I hate the culture that says “if you don’t write blank cheques you are evil”. I think govt should use it’s muscle to regulate emissions to reduce illness as much as possible.

  9. New poll

    Ipsos MORI/Evening Standard:

    CON 39 (+2)
    LAB 34 (+3)
    LIB 8 (-2)
    UKIP 7 (-2)
    GRN 4 (-4)
    SNP 5 (=)


    Same story as the rest of the polls, the only firm trend seems to be a Green -> Labour shift.

  10. Sorry, NCP let me down there

    Lib Dems are at 9 not 8. The change is (-1).

  11. The funny thing is that there is plenty of areas for improvement for people who live out of towns, a bit issue for Labour is its birth from industrialisation and its continued focus purely on industrialisation.

    The SNP have been quietly doing this since pre-2007, I’d argue the council tax freeze is the first instance of this – where national taxes (i.e. income) is basically being used to subsidise local taxes. Then they’ve continued on with the likes of land reform.

    Cornwall – poorest British region – all gone Yellow to Blue – that’s the path to downing street or substantial influence. With the Tory majority so slim its simply a case that if it fell to a minority it would be unlikely to rule in coalition.

  12. @AU

    “Careful, Colin, keep on in this vein and before you know it you’ll be coming out to bat for Comrade Corbyn ;)”


    Well, you never know, going by previous, he might be angling to blame the state for it after all!!…

  13. Omni
    Those figures also suggest a 3% rise in Don’t Knows as we have +5 and -8. I suppose there will be rounding effects but unless Plaid or another small party has had a surge it does look as though DKs have gone up.

    Also, a very low figure for UKIP. Has there been a 2% shift from UKIP to Tory?

  14. @Colin

    “But I think the accusation leveled in that Guardian article is more to do with the colliding priorities of the electoral cycle , and the “right thing to do”.”


    But Col., that is my point: that is what we need our politicians to be able to do: sort out these colliding priorities.

    Instead of for example, focusing on one priority, CO2, to the detriment of another, NOx.

  15. @Candy

    “I’m in favour of the NHS, but I hate the culture that says “if you don’t write blank cheques you are evil”. I think govt should use it’s muscle to regulate emissions to reduce illness as much as possible.”

    I don’t think there’s many people who argue that we should just write blank cheques for the NHS. The argument in that region has always been that the NHS is having to cope with a severe load and that its ability to cope is not going to magically get better by reducing its budget, pissing about the with the organization structure and generally reducing its ability to manage.

    A significant part of that argument has always been that better government regulation and targeting on health and improving it would significantly reduce the load on the NHS, thus freeing up services and making things run better. In the case of diesel, though, this is not likely to happen as this government, and the previous one, invested heavily in the idea that diesel was better for the environment, and so a brilliant way of reducing our carbon footprint and keeping to the agreed CO2 limits in the Kyoto protocols.

    It is a classic case of a public bad; the government should do something about it, but they won’t because to do something about it will be to risk people screaming that they’re being ‘anti-business’ and ‘damaging profits’, combined with their general hands off, private sector knows best, approach to things.


    “You know when I said that a Corbyn-led Labour party might pose problems for the SNP? Well, at least in rural areas, I can already say that I was wrong.”


    Commendably wise move Bill, retract before the Indy peeps pounce on you forrit!!…

  17. @pete b

    UKIP’s lowest VI since December 2012 from MORI

    If you look at

    You can see it’s way lower than what the other polls are giving UKIP, and seems odd given immigration is a hot topic. Perhaps its a methodology difference between MORI and the others.

  18. Ipsos-MORI summary of attitudes to Cameron/Corbyn here –


    More than half (54%) of Britons say Jeremy Corbyn is ‘more honest than most politicians’ compared to three in ten (30%) who say the same for David Cameron. However only 32% think he’s a capable leader compared to 62% saying this for David Cameron. When asked if either ‘has sound judgment’ 32% say Mr Corbyn possesses this while 46% say Mr Cameron does. Less of the public however believe that Jeremy Corbyn is ‘out of touch with ordinary people’ when compared to David Cameron (39% versus 64%), but he falls far behind David Cameron when being seen as ‘patriotic’ (37% compared to 76%).

    Mr Corbyn’s Labour party leads the Conservatives as concerned about people in real need (61% versus 32%). Forty-three per cent also say Labour is the party that ‘looks after the interests of people like me’ compared to 37% who say the same of the Conservatives. More Britons however see the Conservatives as a party fit to govern (56% compared to 35%) as well as being a party with a ‘good team of leaders’ (49% compared to 27%). Worryingly for Labour three in four (75%) see the party as being divided compared to 38% who say the same for the Conservatives.

    When asked to compare the party leaders with their parties, 37% of Britons say they like Mr Corbyn while four in ten (40%) say they like the Labour party. Jeremy Corbyn is liked slightly more than Ed Miliband was in March 2015 (30% liked Miliband then, compared to 37% who like Corbyn now). David Cameron fares slightly better than Jeremy Corbyn with 44% of Britons saying they like him. His party shares similar ratings to Labour with four in ten (41%) saying they like the Conservative party.

    In his first ratings as leader one in three (33%) say that they are satisfied with Jeremy Corbyn doing his job compared to 36% who are dissatisfied, while three in ten (31%) are yet to make up their mind. This compares with Ed Miliband’s first ratings as Labour leader in October 2010 of 41% satisfied and 22% dissatisfied. Forty-two per cent say they are satisfied with David Cameron doing his job as Prime Minister while 52% are dissatisfied.

  19. Ipsos-MORI VI (England only)

    Con 49% : Lab 34% : LD 10% : UKIP 8% : Green 5%


    “The trouble with Public Transport is that in winter it more or less guarantees getting a cold as people have no sense of hygiene these days”


    Come on Howie, you’re a scientist by training, you know there’s liable to be a solution if you look hard enough.

    Like, one obvious solution is to only use public transport on the days when you already have whatever cold is going round…

    (…Or, have a headteacher as a partner, who will inevitably pass on to you whatever ailment is currently going round the school…)

  21. Bill Patrick

    If the Scottish sample (all 81 of them!) in this poll represented Scots VI accurately (aye, right), then SNP would gain Edin South & O&S, while losing Berwickshire etc to the Tories.

  22. @Col

    “Sticking with the car industry, to quote an excellent article in today’s Times :-” Capitalism has its faults, but anything is better than putting the mindset that gave us the Trabant , in charge of car production-or even regulation”


    Hmm, not sure about this argument… Still I have just bought a copy of Today’s Times and shall let you know how good the article is in due course.

    (It’s not Finklestein is it? Please let it not be Finklestein…)

  23. We should be wary with that Lib Dem figure: it will be partly swelled by their conference which took place during the sample period.

  24. Oldnat,

    Promises, promises. Still, we’re only a seat change away from “There are fewer Labour MPs in Scotland than Tory MPs”, which is surely more shocking than any comparison with pandas.

  25. Readers may be interested in this, from a regular email bulletin I recieve –

    “Nobody who has attended one of our transport energy workshops will be in the least surprised at the revelations about VW rigging vehicle emission tests. In fact they will be expecting to hear that all manufacturers are at it.

    As our instructor XXX XXXXX explains, the gap between official and real-life CO2 emission figures has been growing as manufacturers get more adept at training engine management systems to recognise that the vehicle is being put through a test cycle, so that it can adjust performance accordingly. It is pandemic, to the extent that the government has an official correction factor that it updates each year to keep up with the cheating. That adjustment figure is one of the things you learn on the course, and without it you cannot accurately evaluate your car emissions from mileage data alone. “

  26. “It is pandemic, to the extent that the government has an official correction factor that it updates each year to keep up with the cheating.”


    The we need a correction factor to keep up with the government cheating too.

    Then prolly when they learn to game the correction factor, correction factors for the correction factors…

  27. Old Nat

    From looking at the table I make the England VI:

    C: 42% L: 35% LD: 9% Grn: 5% UKIP: 8% BNP: 1%

    One interesting breakdown is between mortgagee and renter:

    Mortgagee: C: 42%, L: 32%
    Renter: C: 28%, L: 42%

    Not surprising, but it does go to show how important housing inflation and low interest rates are for the Conservative support. I suggest they might be in for a nasty shock before 2020.

  28. Hawthorn

    Con should be 42% (I can’t read my own writing!) However, while Lab are on 35% in Table 1 (All respondents), they are 34% in Table 2 (after LTV etc).

    Thanks for the correction.

  29. Actual MORI figures[1] from the topline are:

    Con 39% (+2)

    Lab 35% (+4)

    Lib Dem 9% (-1)

    UKIP 7% (-2)

    SNP/PC 5% (-1)

    Green 4% (-4)

    UKIP 7% (-2)

    Other 1% (+1)

    Fieldwork 19-23 Sep. Changes from 18-20 Jul (MORI often don’t poll in August)

    Labour’s figures are their joint best with any pollster since the election. The Green figure for July has always looked like an outlier (it was 6% in June) but they tend to ‘overpoll’ in phone polls.

    Contrariwise, phone pollsters such as MORI always produce the lowest figures for UKIP and in MORI’s case it will be made worse by the lack of political weighting. They do still seem to be hit by lack of coverage though, despite the high, if confused focus on immigration topics.

    MORI’s charts, which are always interesting, are now available:


    [1] These are with MORI’s revised turnout filter, though, as previously their ‘all VI’ figures aren’t much different – Lab up a point Lib Dem down one. One of the changes since the election is that Lib Dem supporters have moved from being one of the groups less certain about their vote into one of the more definite.

  30. I thought Farron’s speech yesterday at the Lib Dem conference was quite a decent one and while it’s fashionable to mock their current plight, and reasonably pleasurable to do so too in a sense, it doesn’t mean that Lib Dem politicians don’t occasionally have important contributions to make to our politics. Farron has always been one of the more interesting Lib Dems to me and may well be someone who would be foolish to underestimate. His most impressive passage in the speech was on the current refugee crisis which was genuinely heartfelt and, in my view, entirely right in terms of its critique of Cameron’s position. It was a critique yet unmade by any Labour politician I’ve heard and again exposes the chronic lack of articulate and persuasive communicators in Labour’s ranks.

    Farron argued that Cameron’s response to the crisis has been essentially “careful calibration of what it will take to manage the story, the minimum effort for the maximum headlines”. In other words, it was almost totally devoid of any humanitarian motivation, merely issue management that served political objectives. He went on to say that Cameron was “stuck in media management mode, following not leading” and his eventual proposals wouldn’t help a single one of the hundreds of thousands of refugees currently being buffeted from pillar to post in mainland Europe.

    Now, some will disagree with this, although it chimes with my sense of what Cameron’s doing, but it also highlights the power of words and the importance of communication. Farron in a short piece of oratory, and in relatively few words too, has got to the heart of what has been so wrong in our Government’s response to this refugee crisis. Some would argue that he has correctly highlighted the difference between real leadership and expedient crisis management too.

    Labour nowhere on this issue for me again.

  31. Oops that Lab figure should be 34% (+3) (it’s still their joint best). The vagaries of rounding mean that this month’s total to 99 while July’s were 101

  32. @Crossbat11

    I heard Farron in the House of Commons after Kennedy’s death. I was pre-disposed to dislike him because he had been sneering about the SNP on QT. But his speech was really heartfelt and believable, I came away with a much fonder opinion of him.

  33. Bill, Hawthorn, Fraser and anybody else interested.
    Regarding Corbyn/Labours approach to rural areas there has been some talk about this from Corbyn himself.

  34. Carfrew

    My comment about colds and Public Transport was a little tongue in cheek because in a sense I am a special case. As a cancer sufferer it is important that i keep my immune system in as good a state as possible. Over the last four years I have had only one cold in 2013. I achieve this by avoiding Public Transport, doing our shopping early in the morning when the super market is empty, and washing my hands thoroughly after human contact. My children also know not to call on us if they have a cold.

  35. One of the interesting things in the MORI summary of the poll (as quoted by OldNat above) is that it doesn’t point to the most striking thing about the leadership ratings, which is that Corbyn (-3) is actually polling ‘better’ than Cameron (-10). In reality, as ever, it’s too soon to tell.

    MORI do emphasise that he is polling ‘worse’ than Miliband did in the equivalent poll, but this is not really the same, as Miliband’s victory was a surprise to everyone except UKPR fans. While the idea of a Corbyn leadership has been under constant attack (including from his own Party) for months now – including near-universally in the media.

    It’s telling that even the pollsters are promoting up on the standard media narrative. No doubt they want their words to be quoted in the Standard, but I suspect it’s mostly that even they are influenced by the groupthink.

  36. @roger mexico

    I think you’re painting a slightly distorted picture. Corbyn is doing worse in MORI’s leader satisfaction ratings than any Labour since they started asking. Even worse than Foot.


    Also if you look at the leader comparison in detail it’s clear that Corbyn is way behind Cameron on key leadership attributes. Look at “capable leader”, “good in a crisis” and “has sound judgement”.

    Corbyn leads on some like “more honest than most politicians”, but really, these leadership figures are absolutely dire for Corbyn. That’s not groupthink it’s what the poll says.

    Cameron is even (slightly) ahead on “understands the problems facing Britain” !

  37. COLIN
    “European decision making in crisis”

    Francesca Mogherini, the EU Commissioner for External Affairs has pointed in a statement two days ago to the need for politicians and governments to recognise the status and rights of economic migrants. The Commission,in its May 2015 Communication to Parliament about the Agenda Programme makes no distinction between political refugees and economic migrants in setting out its plans for support for the resettlement of migrants in EU member states and for related measures in countries of transit and countries of origin.

    It is crucial that this inclusion of economic migrants in the Agenda Programme and all actions to alleviate illicit migration and to legitimise migration to Europe is recognised, including in the recognition of “right to stay” to those not otherwise disqualified.

    I frankly don’t see how “sending back” migrants who are screened out under these emergency measures in the differing circumstances and intepretation of their right to stay can possibly work. The situation is already a logistical nightmare, in which the lack of clarity and confusion over rights will ensure increasing conflict.

  38. @roger mexico

    By the way, the net ratings you quoted hide an important detail


    There’s a *much* higher ‘don’t know’ for Corbyn than there is for Cameron. People have a firmer idea about Cameron as you’d expect, they’re less clear about Corbyn overall but on the important leadership attributes they’re very negative about Corbyn

    Also, new post

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