13th October 2018

The trend continuously in favour of remaining in the EU continues.  A third 'people's vote' poll also suggests that the UK wishes to have a 'people's vote' which includes the option to remain in the EU.  The media (even the BBC) seems to be making the assumption that Brixit will happen and ignoring the reality that it is no longer the preference of the UK electorate, population or residents.  It is difficult to see why there is so little engagement with a poll of polls.

Professor John Curtice, the man who is excellent at predicting accurately the results of elections has recently published an excellent quality poll.  Yes, Britain has changed its mind on Brexit.  More and more people are beginning to realise that the economy after Brexit, is likely to shrink, and that will hit the living standards of most people (mostly the less well-off) in the UK.  Plans for a better economy in 50 years time, as a result of leaving, really don't hold too much water, and, on average, every day since the referendum, something like 3,000 Leave voters have changed their minds.  Support for Leave amongst the under 40s has dropped to an all time low of 23%.  Yet, as has been said lots of times, they are the people who will have to live the longest with the economic consequences.

 

He says if there were a people's vote tomorrow, something like 53% would vote to remain in the EU, and 47% leave.  These figures are in line with many other results, not least the last 30 polls from YouGov (see www.no2brexit.com) which put Remain six to eight points in the lead since the election last year.  Given that the referendum was a 3.8% win for Leave, that means that the swing from -3.8 to +6.5 is around 10%.  Yes the UK is changing its mind.

 

Even among Leave voters only half think that the economy (you and me) will be better off after Brexit, in fact twice as many voters (51%) think the economy will do worse after Brexit than think it will do better (25%).

 

 Only 17% of voters think we will get a good deal out of all this whilst 86% of them want to maintain free-trade between the UK and the EU, with a big drop in those wanting major border controls on EU immigration, indeed 69%, now, do not support border checks in Northern Ireland.  And with a shortage of both skilled and unskilled workers, now, more than ever, we do need non-UK EU employees to help maintain our economy and health services.  

 

This is a quality study from the National Centre for Social Research.  I do hope the government reads it and recognises that Britain has changed its mind on Brexit.  That is democracy - the ability to be heard, to vote, to change policy when the majority want it.

11.5% majority for remaining in the EU is three times bigger than the majority for leave in the referendum.  Democracy has to count somewhere, and what the people want is to remain.

4th September 2018

The trend in favour of remaining in the EU continues for the month of August.  A third 'people's vote' poll also suggests that the UK wishes to have a 'people's vote' which includes the option to remain in the EU.  Three things come to mind.

All these polls are of Great Britain.  That is they do not include Northern Ireland, Gibraltar or expats with a vote living abroad.  All three of those consituencies voted to stay in the EU so non-inclusion of them in the polls means that the polls are underestimating the majority for remain. 

Add these together to get about 1,120,000 majority for remain out of about 3 million votes.

A typical GB poll currently has Remain ahead by about 5% or about 1.7 million votes, but add these and it gives an extra 4% on top of that.

Take into account, further, that the polling organisations are using what is called rim-weighting because they want to compare their results across a lot of variables in one table, not just presenting them against what people voted in the referendum.  That means the organisations do not weight their polls according to the ACTUAL voting proportions at the referendum.  Look at the table below and you will see the differences are substantial.  The resulting significant problem is that the numbers who did not vote are underestimated by 10%, but it is amongst this group that there is a 20% majority for staying in the EU.  So this is a further underestimate, of about 2%.  In total, then the underestimate of a normal GB remain/leave poll is now about 6%, so a 5% majority for remaining is actually an 11% majority if all the different elements of the electorate are counted.

11% majority for remaining in the EU is three times bigger than the majority for leave in the referendum.  Democracy has to count somewhere, and what the people want is to remain.


EU referendum Vote (Election Result)

Target percentage used in all YouGov weightings

(51 polls in study are from YouGov)

  Actual UK+Gib referendum votes Actual UK+Gib percentage
Remain  39.3%   16,141,241 34.7%
Leave 42.7%   17,410,742 37.5%
Don't Know / Did Not Vote 18.0%   12,913,178 27.8%

 

3rd August 2018

Some remarkable changes have happend in the last month.  Two polling companies are now saying that the mood of the country has changed to wanting a 'people's vote' when the negotiations have been concluded.  Presumably that means no earlier than the end of October, when negotiations have to finish.  When asked what the preference is, if there is a vote, the preference is to remain in the EU.

There is also a very low opinion of the government's ability to negotiate a good deal.  In a sense that may be why the country has moved to wanting a second referendum - the politicians are doing a bad job, so the people need to speak.  The government is regarded as self-serving and fearful of internal back-lash politics, fearful of losing power and is determined to ignore, it seems, the will of the people.  The 36 consecutive polls saying that the country thinks it wrong to leave the EU cannot hold so much error that they are wrong.  YouGov themselves put the error rate at +/- 4% with 90% confidence.  That means, given 25 of the polls show a greater than 4% majority for remaining in the EU, the probablilty that they are all wrong is

1/100,000,000,000,000,000,000,000

this is orders-of-magnitude more accurate than the 2016 referendum, which, suffered from not receiving preferences from 12.9 million (the majority of whom wanted to remain), nor from 16-17 year olds (who wanted to remain), nor from expats who were abroad for more than 15 years (mostly wanting to remain), nor from EU citizens in the UK  (who wanted to remain), and the spending on the leave campaign was illegally large, and the 350 million per week for the NHS was a complete lie and the media was strongly biased in favour of leave.  It was the kind of democracy used in dodgy countries in the world when a small group want to take control.

5th June 2018

The biggest ever (since a week after the referendum) majority in favour of remain reported by YouGov yesterday.  Their own figures (40% think it right to Leave, 47% think it right to Remain and the rest don't know) give a 7% majority, but strip out the don't knows, add in the figures for Northern Ireland (YouGov don't poll there) and re-weight the polling according to the whole UK referendum results and that 7% becomes 10.4% majority for Remain across the whole electorate.  The three previous polls showed lower figures, but given polling errors, it is necessary to look at longer term trend and that continues to indicate a 7% majority, at the moment, in favour of remaining.  There is a possibility, also, that the trend is accelerating at the moment. 

14th April 2018

The trend continues, slowly, to about 7% majority, at the moment, in favour of remaining.  One might ask why the polls suggest that while 45% are not in favour of a second referendum, only 38% are (YouGov 9th April Poll).   The key figures that are different from the 'preference' question are the numbers who put don't know and numbers who put not in favour of a second referendum.

Let me explain: YouGov figures 9th April Poll:

 

Want a second referendum Prefer to stay in the EU Commentary

YES

38% 46% More remainers say they don't know about a second referendum

NO

45% 42% Approximately equal, the numbers wanting to leave are about the same, and were in the previous poll

Don't know

17% 12%  

REASON: Remainers tend to be more concerned about the effect of a second referendum.  Will it undermine democracy?  Will it result in riots on the streets?  Is the argument that the people have been asked once, and that is it, a valid one?   Remainers are thinking about that, but Leavers are afraid that a second referendum would not maintain their winning position, so they stick with it.  Democracy is about doing the will of the people, and there should be no fear in that.  A second referendum does not undermine democracy it strengthens it.

The question continues to be 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, what if it reaches 10% or 15%, which it will by Brexit day, surely the will of the people should then be tested in a second referendum?

26th March 2018

Sadly questionnaires are still being delivered with multiple options for remainers and one single options for leavers, which provides the leave media with the opportunity to report leavers as having the greatest majority, for example:

Do you want (a) to leave the EU or (b) if leaving has to happen to work for a soft brexit, or (c) don't leave at all or (d) offer a second referendum.

Such questions will provide leavers with one main option (a) but split the remainers with three options (b), (c) or (d) and the result when presented suggests that leave is therefore the preferred option, whereas remain, according to the preference polls, is definitely the preferred option.

There continues to be a major step change in the polls since the election.  That has consolidated to 26 out of the last 27 YouGov polls providing a leading preference for Remain.  The lead is about 6% at the moment, and is increasing slowly.  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 jumping ship.  Approximately 1% of them every three months.  About 2,000 leave voters change their mind every day, whilst the number of remain voters is constant.  The YouGov summary of trends also shows, for every category, a belief in the population that things are much more likely to deteriorate over the Brexit process than to improve.

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, what if it reaches 15% or 20%, surely the will of the people should then be tested in a second referendum?

10th February 2018

There continues to be a major step change in the polls since the election.  That has consolidated to 21 out of the last 22 YouGov polls providing a leading preference for Remain.  The lead is about 6% 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.

The latest figures but one (end of January) are particularly high.  After adjustment they show a 10% lead for Remain and the lowest LEAVER sticking rate of 82%, i.e 18% of Leavers no longer think it right that the UK should leave the EU.  The gap in the non-voters was also particularly high at 23% majority for Remain, which gives the first double figures lead for Remain. The lastest figures fall back, and that is a good indicator that 10% is too high an estimate, but 6% is about right at the moment.

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, what if it reaches 15% or 20%, surely the will of the people should then be tested in a second referendum?

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.