1st January 2018
There continues to be a major step change in the polls since the election. That has consolidated to 17 out of the last 18 YouGov polls providing a leading preference for Remain. BMG also published a recent poll showing a 10% lead for remain, but that is questionable, the lead is about 5% at the moment, and is increasing steadily. This is partly demographic - the number of 18 years olds now on the electoral register and senior citizens who have dropped off the register makes this change somewhat inevitable, but also there is a slow but significant drop in the number of leave voters who are changing their minds. The YouGov summary of trends also shows, for every catagory, a belief in the population that things are much more likely to deteriorate over the Brexit process than to improve.
I have recently worked on the mathematics of bringing the YouGov polls in line with the 3.8% majority figure at the referendum. YouGov do not provide an equivalent figure when they publish so the graphs in this site are all supplied with that adjustment in mind.
The question is how big does the preference for remain have to become before the government considers it against the will of the people to continue with Brexit?
13th October 2017 Commentary
There had been a major step change in the polls since the election. The latest poll published today shows a raw 5% lead of Remain over Leave, and a true 8% lead if the proper weightings are used. At the same time the support for Remain amongst Remain voters is re-establishing itself and support for Leave amongst Leave voters is on a constant decline. That decline is accelerating as I write, and if that continues to do so the next month or so should demonstrate a real wish to dump Brexit and get the government back to running the country instead. The support for Remain in the 'didn't vote' group has increased to 18% over the support for Brexit. If a referendum were undertaken tomorrow, with the current polling figures, Remain would win with a substantially larger majority than Leave won at the referendum in June 2016.
26th June 2017 Commentary
The election has made a significant difference. The latest four YouGov polls now put the preference firmly in the Remain camp, with a majority not matched by YouGov polling since immediately after the referendum. There may be a recognition that the Brexit vote has actually damaged the democracy and economy of the UK already. Inflation is now at 2.9% instead of 0,3%. The pound is as 1.14 with respect to the Euro by comparison with 1.30 on June 23rd 2016, so a loss of 14% which makes imports 14% more expensive. The desire not to throw all things away, even having no deal at all, is not what the people want. Ask the same question - do you think, in hindsight, it was right to leave the EU and the answer is definitely NO. Three polls since the end of May have the answer NO more strongly than any yes poll including the referendum vote. These two do not include Northern Ireland or Gibraltar, so the figures would actually be larger, based on the original referendum vote.
19th May 2017 Commentary
There continues to be a small shift towards Leave. April figures show that particularly. This may be an election effect. The margins are still very narrow. There is a softening on both sides, previous figures of 90%+ for sticking with the decision have become 85%+ for both groups. It would not be right to say that the Remainers have thrown in the towel, although there is evidence to suggest that, despite the storng view amongst them that to leave is wrong, a small percentage of them feel that the train is on the tracks and the politicians in the country will not upend that decision. That may be because it calls into question the democratic process under which they were elected. Still, given the figures, were the UK expats all given a vote that would still overturn any majority for Leave, which is currently less than a million. If the 16-18s were given a vote, or the EU residents in the UK not from Eire, Malta and Cyprus (who already had a vote), that would also point to a Remain win. There are other polls which suggest that the majority of the electors do not want to leave the EU if the deal, if there is a deal, is not in the UK's interests. That implies a second referendum is likely to be popular at the end of the negotiation process.
12th April 2017 Commentary
There was a small shift to favour Leave during December and January, but the trend reversed since the beginning of February into good leads for REMAN of 2%. These figures take the YouGov stats which are for GB only (i.e. not including Northern Ireland and Gibraltar) and apply them to the total voting that happened at the referendum and the didn't votes at the referendum, so the scheme aims to give more of a UK+Gibraltar view. Clearly something happened between 12th February and 21st February to reverse the trend. Some of the reversal will be natural income of 18 year olds and the loss of some of the older voters, but, for example, there were demonstrations in Berlin against Brexit on the 13th February, as Britons abroad were being used as a 'bargaining chip'. This also followed an article in the Guardian about the bargaining chip culture. On the 18th February Tony Blair gave a speech on Brexit suggesting it can be defeated if we 'rise up'. Reviewing the headlines of the newpapers for well argued thinking about Brexit, during those days, however, is depressing. There is an overwhelming bias for Brexit in all but two of the papers reviewed, and that does not represent the balance of thinking in the UK at all. Front pages can be found here.
26th January 2017 Commentary
Sadly YouGov are no longer publishing the 'did not vote' figures, which makes the calculations less secure on the last six polls. The last four polls show a small (~1%) Leave majority though that is without the inclusion of Northern Ireland and all the last four are YouGov polls. The did-not-vote majority for Remain is holding at about 13%. There may be a small move towards an acceptance of what is regarded by some Remainers as inevitable though it would be helpful to determine whether this is just a feature, at the moment YouGov polling, that is it would be good o provide evidence from another company's polling. The previous polls are mostly Remain, including other polling companies affirmation that the YouGov results then seemed right. If there is a move towards Leave it is very small and the last two polls were taken so close together (and presumably with pretty much the same people) that really only one of them should stand.
The electorate is still very much split 50:50, and there is very little movement one way or the other. Certainly the country is not united behind leaving the EU and were there to be a referendum now with t
It will be interesting to see if the Remainers are buoyed up by the requirement for parliament to vote on the invoking of Article 50.
The YouGov polls seems to ask a series of questions about voting prior to asking the key question about whether you agree with leaving the EU. They act as prompts, so it would be good to have a poll focused on the question only. Note, again, that the differences in headline figures from the polls and those presented here are explained elsewhere, save it to say that some of the time the difference is partially because the ratio of the samples is not proportional to the ratio of the UK electorate.
24th November COMMENTARY
Two YouGov polls since the 11th that I have seen. The second (14th-15th November) has, when all polled (not including NI) 46% for leave and 43% for remain and 11% don't know. It is interesting, looking through all the polls, that there has not yet been a single poll that has indicated that either the country, or the electorate (there is a slight difference) has more than 50% in favour of leaving. The percentage of don't know's has risen but there are 92% of the Leave voters sticking to their guns and still 87% of the Remain voters sticking to their guns, with about 5% changing their minds and 6% not knowing. Unfortunately the last YouGov poll does not include a column for 'did not vote' in the referendum. That makes it difficult to incorporate in the figures so far because the did-not-vote contingent have been a growing majority in favour of Remain.
I will add this to the tables when I have a moment!
The first (13th-14th November) YouGov poll indicated a lethargy amongst the Remain voters, some of whom feel the government should implement Brexit even though they don't approve of it, because of the democratic decision made on 23rd June. However the poll also demonstrates the chaotic thinking that is going at the margins in polling with, for example, 2% of those polled saying they voted to Leave but in a follow-up question indicating that they did not support leaving the EU. (see page 1).
The announcement by the government that it will cost £60 billion to leave, is an indicator that it will cost £1,000 from the wealth, essentially, of each person. If that does create a recessaion and inflation, something like 12% of those who voted Leave would be convinced that Brexit was wrong for Britain. Recession and inflation are likely, according to those wiser than I in economics, so the voting public will become less enthusiastic about Brexit as time goes on.
Assuming that filters through, it will balance opinion further to Remain. However 47% of those who voted Leave indicated that virtually nothing would convince them that Brexit was bad for Britain. That includes inflation, recession, unemployment, less investment, less security, no longer rights to live and work elsewhere, etc., (see page 4). That group demonstrate a lack of reasoned judgement. If the country became a failing state because of Brexit, still supporting Brexit would be unreasonable.
11th November COMMENTARY
The BMG poll (24th October) continues the preference to Remain, and that was reported as such in the Independent newspaper (only as far as I can judge). 14 polls and 12 are for remain since the referendum. 94% of voters are sticking to their guns and fewer, according to BMG, are now don't knows. The contribution to the trend of those who did not vote is clear. Every poll has those who did not vote as preferring Remain, and as time goes on more are becoming sure of their positions. There is a fairly constant, slightly growing 15% majority of Remain over Leave amongst those who did not vote, and that would be reflected in the whole electorate voting about 51% for Remain and 49% for Leave, were it willing to get out and vote.
The Trump win in the United States is classically similar to the Brexit vote. Actually Clinton won the people's vote by more than 200,000, but their electoral college system gave Trump the White House. Virtually all the polls had Clinton in the lead, but the key issue was who will come out and vote? If the polls indicated a Clinton win, the Clinton voters are just marginally less inclined to put themselves out significantly to get the vote out. Again it is a result the country did not want, as a whole, and were there another election today almost certainly the result would be reversed.
22nd October COMMENTARY
The margin remains close, but the figures continue to point to small but growing national preference to remain (though see note on statistics). 13 polls and only two show Brexit as the preference. The latest poll (day 112) suggests that there is little change in the opinions of those who voted to remain and leave (very slightly more of the LEAVERs are sticking to their guns than REMAINERS but the difference is within error margins). The poll in day 82 had figures for the did-not-vote group which suggested they were more evenly split between LEAVE and REMAIN, but it looks as though that was anaomalous as the day 112 poll shows approximately the same ratio in favour of REMAIN amongst the did-not-vote group as in the previous polls.
41% of those who did not vote regard Brexit as a wrong move, only 26% support LEAVE. Note that YouGov does not include Northern Ireland in its polling, and they voted to remain, so all the YouGov polling figures almost certainly under estimate the real majority for remain.
The announcement that Article 50 is likely to be triggered in March 2017 means that by that time there will be approximately 580,000 more 18 year-old voters and a very approximate equivalent number of deaths of older voters. The REMAIN rate was very high in first-voters and very low in older voters, and that demographic change has been modelled by the Financial Times. It demonstrates, that if the same age groups voted in the same proportions as at the referendum, (i.e. without taking non-voters wishes into account) the vote would be reversed simply by age-related changes by 2021, two years into Brexit real. If the 18-24 group turned out in greater proportions than at the referendum, that date would be sooner.