Another week, another false dawn?

Posted on 3 June 2016 by John Curtice

It is, in truth, becoming an all too familiar story. Both last week and the week before, many a media headline gave the impression that there had been a significant shift in the polls in favour of Remain. In both instances we argued here that a cooler, more systematic look at the polls suggested there was insufficient evidence to support any such conclusion. Now this week, the mood has swung in the opposite direction, with claims that the Leave side has made progress, accompanied by a coincident panic in the financial markets. But do these claims of a shift to Leave have any more evidential weight behind them than the previous headlines of a swing to Remain?

This week’s shift of mood began when ORB’s latest phone poll for The Daily Telegraph appeared on Tuesday. This, the paper claimed, represented a ‘significant poll boost’ for Leave, and demonstrated that the Leave campaign’s ‘focus on immigration is paying off’. Indeed, at 55% for Remain and 45% for Leave (excluding Don’t Knows) the poll’s figures  did represent a considerable swing back to Leave as compared with the same poll the previous week, which credited Remain with 61% and Leave with 39%.

But then it was the previous week’s ORB poll that had helped set off last week’s speculation that there had been a marked shift in favour of Remain. In the event, the rest of the polling released that week failed to confirm that there had been much of a shift, suggesting that ORB’s poll was a bit of an outlier. Thus, it was almost inevitable that this week’s offering from ORB would see a shift back to Leave, reverting back towards the mean figure being obtained by phone polls. Indeed, at Remain 55%, Leave 45%, ORB’s latest figures are exactly in with the average for all phone polls in recent weeks, and are no more than a point adrift from the figures that ORB themselves had reported at the end of April (Remain 54%, Leave 46%).

(By the way, there is some confusion about what ORB’s vote intention figures are. In its reporting of the company’s polls the Daily Telegraph focuses on the share of the vote for the two sides amongst the sub-sample of ORB’s respondents who say they are certain to vote. However, the practice that we follow on this site is to focus on the figures the polling company in question regards as its headline numbers, and ORB have advised that they prefer to focus on the vote intentions for all respondents to their polls. Thus the numbers quoted above, and those reported elsewhere on this site, are for all respondents in ORB’s polls, numbers which tend to be more favourable to Remain than those on which the Telegraph focuses.)

However, the feeling that there had been been a significant swing to Leave really became widespread when later on Tuesday ICM released the results of its latest polling. This proved to be the company’s third attempt to compare the results of internet and phone polling, attempts that previously had replicated the industry-wide finding that phone polls produce more favourable results for Remain than internet polls. However, on this occasion it did not. Instead, both polls produced the same result – Remain 48, Leave 52. This meant that the phone poll of the pair was only the third such poll to put Remain ahead – and that was enough to see the pound being sold quite heavily on the financial markets.

There is certainly no gainsaying that this represented a remarkable finding. After all, ICM’s two previous phone polls had put Remain on 54% and 55%, Leave on 46% and 45%, well in line with the norm for phone polls in general. On its own it certainly represented apparent evidence of a substantial swing to Leave, even if the poll had been conducted over a Bank Holiday weekend when  ascertaining a representative sample of voters is perhaps even more difficult than usual.

But, of course, it was not on its own. There was also the evidence from ICM’s parallel online poll. This did not suggest that there had been a sharp swing to Leave. While its figures of 48% for Remain and 52% for Leave did represent a two point swing to Leave compared with the equivalent poll last week, these numbers were by no means remarkable. ICM came up with exactly the same estimates just a fortnight ago.

Meanwhile, given that ORB’s phone poll, taken at much the same time, was in line with most other recent phone polls, there was also no good reason to jump to the conclusion that the findings of phone polls were now coming into line with those of internet polls.

Then on Wednesday along came an internet poll from YouGov, conducted just after the ORB and ICM polls. Its finding? That nothing had changed at all. It put Remain on 50%, Leave on 50%, exactly in line with the long-term average for internet polls as well as YouGov’s own findings the previous week.

In short, in what has proven to be a relatively thin week for polls  (thanks perhaps in part to the bank holiday), we have had three polls that, properly interpreted, do not give any grounds to believe that a significant change has occurred at all, and just one unusual finding that has yet to be corroborated. Unfortunately, much commentary and speculation on polls is inclined to focus on the poll that is the exception rather than the rule – but it is the rule that is the better guide.

The narrative that there had been a swing to Leave undoubtedly also gained purchase because it followed on from the fact that ONS revealed at the end of last week, just as the ORB and ICM polls went into the field, that net migration in 2015 was just below its all-time record high, with migration to and from the EU being responsible for just under half of that total. That seemed an obvious reason to some commentators, including not least to the Daily Telegraph, why some voters might have switched to leave.

However, there was no evidence in either the ORB poll or in YouGov’s poll, both of which are repeatedly asking voters what they think the consequences of remaining or leaving would be, that voters’ views about the implications of EU membership for immigration had particularly shifted. True, the ORB poll did show that the proportion who believe that Remain was better able to improve Britain’s immigration system had fallen by six points as compared with the previous week, while the proportion who reckoned Leave could better do on that score increased by two. But even so, this simply meant that the balance of opinion on this issue had simply reverted to where it had been a month ago.

More importantly, it was not just on the immigration question that there was an apparent swing to Leave. It was also evident on many another issue, including not least the economy, on which the proportion that Remain were more likely to ‘create a stronger economy’ was also down by six points, while the proportion who thought that Leave were more likely to do so had increased by six points. Rather than indicating that voters had been particularly swayed by the immigration issue, the poll simply suggested that ORB’s sample this week was a little less enamoured of the Remain side’s arguments in general than the previous week’s sample had been.  But then, given that it was a sample that contained fewer Remain voters, this was hardly surprising.

Meanwhile, YouGov failed to find any marked change in attitudes towards the implications of leaving the EU for immigration at all.  At 58% the proportion who said that there would be less immigration if we left, was little different from what it had been in the company’s polls both a week and a month ago. While the publication of the immigration statistics might have affirmed some people’s existing views, there is no reason to believe that it had served to change minds.

So, it seems that, once again, we should conclude that another week has gone by in which little, if anything, has changed. That doubtless makes for a dull day in the newspaper office and an unexciting one in the City trading room. We are though still left with the uncertainty created by the divergence between the phone and the internet polls, and with the inevitably imponderable question as to whether the final three weeks of the campaign will see a movement in one direction or the other as voters finally make up their minds and, in some cases, cast their postal ballots. But then perhaps that is more than enough potential excitement to be going on with.

John Curtice

By John Curtice

John Curtice is Senior Research Fellow at NatCen and at 'UK in a Changing Europe', Professor of Politics at Strathclyde University, and Chief Commentator on the What UK Thinks: EU website.

35 thoughts on “Another week, another false dawn?

  1. At the last election 3.8m voted for UKIP. Assuming they all vote Out they would roughly negate the votes of the 2.4m Lib Dems, 1.4m SNP and 1.1m Greens who are likely to vote In.
    So that leaves the decision down to the 11.3m Tory voters and 9.3m Labour voters.
    Because Tory voters outnumber by 22% it means that for every 10 Tory Outers 12 Labour voters have to vote In just to get an equal split. The more Tories vote Out the requirement for Labour voters to vote In rises 22% more faster.

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    1. We learned from last years election how misleading polls can be but labour voters must be more confused than the rest of us.David Cameron tells labour MPs to get them to vote in .They expect their members to do as they are told
      and be like faithful little labradors.This is very patronising and insulting to the average labour voter who pays membership and some union fees.They are told its to protect workers rights shouldnt they be doing that.Its not
      crediting them with enough intelligence to make the decision for themselves.The P.M stooped to an all time low today trying to bully pensioners and I feel sure this threat could strengthen their resolve to leave and I think as a like
      his previous threats will prove counter productive.Be Brave Vote Leave.Report

  2. .

    In 1940, Britain was warned that if she did not make peace with Nazi Germany, then Germany would invade her.

    In 2016, Britain is being told that if she attempts to reclaim her sovereignty, and remain just a close ‘trading friend’ of the EU – instead of becoming an ever more subservient and dominated internal organ of that anti-democratic tumour – then the EU will vent its rage upon us and work towards our downfall.

    I hope that on June 23rd, the British nation will not forget what was it’s answer to
    Herr Hitler in 1940.

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  3. Most of britain do not see what those see in the town they have moved to
    They hang around drinking lager on the street and any furniture they no longer
    need they just dump in back streets or at the bottom of the street
    All they are doing is reducing they way of lives for every one but themselves
    and as more arrive the problem will spread
    they claim for children back home, so there families are living well
    and we are funding itReport

    1. Ernie I couldnt agree with you more.I work in the community and when this campaign first started I had an open mind.However I believe if we dont leave EU its god help us.Im confused about the recent polls as so far I have net very few people who want to stay in the EU.r
      Believe me I meet a lot of people and many young couples who both work hard and pay a lot of tax cant get a place for their kids in a decent school same applies to hospital appointments.This is a very strong conservative area by the way.
      area but the worrying thing is I have heard someone say they will vote to leave out of contempt for Cameron.Also heard people leaning to ukip.I dont agree with their reasoning however what I agree with is a comment made by a young woman who pointed out as Cameron broke Manifesto pledges the british public are very unforgiving on this
      issue (As the lib debs learned) I am now definetely voting out.

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  4. Wonderful ideals jon but the EU is about a great deal more than a bit of trade. You will see very soon now ! Trade is more or less as you describe, I see it as a useful sideshow to the main events that are yet to come – soon.Report

  5. Remain sometimes talk as if this referendum came out of the blue, and all they have to do is explain how silly the Brexit side are, and all will be well. In fact, the referendum has been coming for years, and I think it’s because of a growing realization that over time the EU is becoming less important to us, but more intrusive.

    Forty years ago, the World was a protectionist place that was very difficult to export to, so access to a free market was a good thing at the time. The share of our trade that was with the common Market rose as high as 60%. But by 2000 it had fallen to 55%, today it is 45%, and PWC project that by 2030 it will have fallen to 37%.

    There are two things driving this. The World today is much less protectionist in general and the World outside the EU, as an export market, is growing much faster than the EU is. We now export more to countries outside the EU than to countries inside, and we run a trade surplus with the World outside the EU.

    That says that the UK is back as a World exporter. Countries outside the EU that don’t have to buy British exports buy them and buy more from us than we buy from them. Just as important, trade with countries outside the EU is growing much faster than trade with the EU. China has been running up the ladder as a UK trading partner, and is now in fourth place. Exports to places like China and India are growing by double digit annual percentages, but exports to Germany actually fell, by 2.7% last year.

    With the referendum running at about 50/50, I would say that 2016 is probably about the last year that we would even be having this debate. Give it another five years, and it will be glaringly obvious that being an EU member at all is an old habit, not an economic necessity. And if the EU start to discriminate against UK goods, that will be a sign of their economic weakness and retreat into protectionism – quite the irony.Report

  6. Been here,done it before in Scotland. It is astonishing -or is that depressing-that we are hearing all the same very high level,headline grabbing claims with scant detail.Also similar is the polling scenario.Just days before the vote, YES were showing a 5% or so lead in the polls .A few days later we all know what happened -they lost by over 10%. I will be surprised if the same doesn’t happen here.’Don’t knows’ in the main,will opt for the status quo.As far as Scotland goes,we clearly made the right call.I just pray that we don’t end up in Neverendum on the EU.If you live in Scotland,one is bad enough.Two? I am leaving the continent completely. There is nothing worse than Neverendum. It’s exhausting..(great site Professor,thank you!)
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  7. The biggest problem facing most voters , especially the ‘don’t knows’ is discovering any facts on which to hang their hats. It seems both sides will spout meaningless rhetoric and conjure up fantasies of what negative scenarios will happen should they lose the referendum, in truth how can we trust any of them? David Cameron assured us that if he didn’t get his reforms agreed by the EU he would vote to leave. Did he say this in the knowledge of all of the negative outcomes he is now predicting a vote to leave will rain down upon us, world war 3, financial collapse, industrial ruin and everyone being so much poorer? If so how can he be believed about anything? I pick Cameron as theoretically he should have more inside knowledge of the true situation than anyone, it’s just a shame we, the voters don’t get to know that information and yet we have to decide on how to vote. Me? I am old enough to have voted FOR the common market and seeing how that has now evolved into a political club for the boys that is anti-democratic I intend to vote LEAVE unless I actually hear anything factual that makes me believe the juggernaut that is the EU is prepared to alter course. As for Mr Cameron’s new deal it does not even begin to get us back to anywhere near to what we actually voted for all those years ago.Report

    1. What a lot of the remain camp have forgotten, or maybe do not know because of their age, is that when we originally joined it was called the EEC (European Economic Community) which was purely related to trade between the various countries. This suited our needs at that time and certainly helped to increase trade and improve our exports. We also had to make certain concessions like allowing the fishing boats into “our” waters. Now the situation is so much different and the EU has moved on from those days and now issues rules and regulations, many of which we dislike but have no control of. The remain camp say that we have the power of the veto but thee fact is that on the 70+ occasions we have used it we have been overruled! Cameron has said that we enjoy a “special relationship” within the EU but this is clearly untrue because it is a case of “you will take the medicine and it will do you good!”
      Cameron’s attitude has been absolutely disgraceful. 6 months ago he proudly pronounced that we had nothing to fear from leaving and that unless he could secure substantial reforms he would recommend we leave. We all know of course what happened to that. He firstly watered down his demands and even before he sat at the table to negotiate he said that irrespective of the result he would still be recommending we stay! Can you imaging if say UNISON entered negotiations with their employer with the same approach, their members would be calling for their heads!
      This “Special relationship” issue has been clearly blown out of the water in the last few days when his so called “Friends” have been issuing their respective threats is we dare to leave. Of course they want us to stay sine we contribute 12% of the budget and for the likes of Germany and other major contributors they would have to find the missing billions to keep this corrupt organisation to continue. As other correspondents have said is that we now take less goods from the EU countries but we are still a major buyer which puts us in a position of strength when it comes to negotiating trading terms. If Germany say puts an extra 10% on our exports what is to stop us putting an extra 20% on their exports to us which would help put many thousands of German car workers on the dole! Unfortunately Cameron and his cronies have not shown any sort of courage to stand up to their so called “Friends” and in effect are undermining the strength and resolve of the British worker. As the 5th richest nation in the world we have nothing to fear from leaving, and return to the days when we were able to trade with the rest of the world without the shackles currently being imposed upon us by the EU.
      Immigration is of course the major issue and the link between that and the economics is tantamount to the discussion. Unless we can impose a system as the leave camp has been proposing then we find we are spending too many resources trying to house, find schooling and health care for millions of immigrants coming to the UK for purely economic reasons. Whatever the figure we send to the EU every week we can certainly spend it better on ourselves than dropping it into the hole called the EU. When we have worked so hard to build up our resources why should we be welcoming all and sundry to come and join us. Many of the immigrants are coming from countries whose average hourly rate is only £1 per hour. No wonder they see the UK as a place to make some money! Un fortunately they are taking the jobs away from our workers, especially the youngsters and you can well see the unemployment rate escalating in the years to come.
      We must vote leave!
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      1. The 1975 Benn v Jenkins Panorama debate & the 1975 Oxford Union debate were shown over the weekend on BBC Parliament channel. Anyone who watched either will have seen the EEC was not “purely related to trade”.Report

        1. I’ve read the documents provided to the public before the ’75 Referendum, the thin “Leave” docs and the thick “Remain” and “British government says stay” docs – I read them when I was a kid, and they were full of assurances that things which did come to pass would not, and were especially strong in stating that Britain would remain a sovereign state and that “Our way of life will not change”. And our relations with the Commonwealth would not be affected.

          Etc.

          By the 90’s, with a European Parliament, and a looming single currency, this was laughable.

          So there is substance to the “myth” – this is not a figment of the sceptic’s imagination.Report

        2. Who saw that, 1% of the population ? We trusted our government and voted as they recommended. They lied to us than and they are doing the same now, by asking us to sign a blank contract, with no specified cost, time limit or get out clauseReport

  8. Remain is running essentially a negative campaign, and I think that is for two reasons. First it is difficult to make a positive case for the EU, and second, I think they are finding confronting reality too difficult.

    If you forget the EU for a moment, and just ask the question of what’s best for the UK economy, or where does future growth come from, three things stand out. The EU used to take 60% of our trade and today it is 45%. In fact, it has fallen from 55% to 45% just since the beginning of the century. Price Waterhouse Cooper projects that by 2030 the EU will take only 37% of our exports.

    Is there a “pendulum” here that will swing back? Probably not, because the demographics of Europe are pretty bad and getting worse. An economy can’t escape the effect of the total number of skilled working age people, and while that is more or less OK in the Anglosphere, in the euro area the total number of people in employment is just about what it was in 2008. So the EU isn’t going to become a healthy growth area for UK trade. We will grow faster than Europe, so will the US, Canada and Australia, and so certainly will India and China.

    Almost unnoticed, quite a few changes have taken place outside the UK-EU relationship.. China has vaulted from tenth to fourth most important UK trading partner, behind Germany, the US and France. Our trade with China is already more important than our trade with Italy. And our exports to China grew by 25% in the past year, compared to a drop of 2.7% in our exports to Germany.

    And you can say the same about other developing markets, such as India and Brazil. Brazil is going through a rough patch today, but it does not have Europe’s demographic problem, and when the Brazilians solve their Governmental problems, they will be a growing market once more.

    I find it questionable why we allow the EU to negotiate trade deals on our behalf, when the EU itself is a less and less significant trade market for us. Trading with the EU is fine, but letting the EU control our trade with the rest of the World seems quite odd.

    If you take a twenty-five year view, EU membership just isn’t going to be a primary factor in UK growth. We will still export to the rest of the EU, but all the trends suggest that the EU will be a smaller and smaller trade partner. I find it just a bit frustrating that so many people talk about the EU as if it is the be-all and end-all of UK trade, when they are wasting the time and effort they could be putting into the longer term picture.
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  9. The referendum is rigged:
    1. There is a blackout of negative news from Europe which could sway voters away from the Remain camp.
    2. The majority of politicians and the establishment of lawyers, accountants and other hangers-on are firmly behind the Remain camp.
    3. David Cameron is living in La La Land if he thinks he can get immigration down to “tens of thousands”.
    4. Polling Cards have been sent out to EU residents who will obviously vote to Remain in Europe.
    5. The French authorities are doing absolutely nothing about the illegal immigrants lining the French coast waiting on an opportunity to get to the UK. Etc,. etcReport

    1. David, I think the flow of migramts from France ‘helps’ the Leave narrative more than Remain. So, I’m sure Remain leaders would love the French to sort it out.

      About your point about ‘no bad news from Europe’, again, I don’t agree this is the case. We only seem.to hear bad news from EU. The Polish economy us doing quite well, Ireland has 6% growth – far more than UK, and certainly NI.

      There’s a lot of stories abput the rise of the radical right in France, Austria etc. And that’s only right. But I was struck by the lack of coverage to the ultimate winner in.the Austrian.presidential vote, the Green candidate, compared, I guess, had thr OFP leader won. Tbat is, the radical right, immigration etc. As a journalist friend of mine told me ‘fascism is always fashionable for news’.

      As far as I can aee, we only ever get bad news about the EU, probably because ‘news’ tends, by swdinition, to be mostly ‘bad’ news.Report

    2. A blackout on news? The papers are full of the strikes in France. Polling cards sent to EU residents? Not true, you have to write to get them sent. Then again anyone abroad for more than 15 years can’t vote and many residents in Spain are for Brexit. And there are only about 1.5 millions Brits resident in the EU, seven times fewer than British residents who can’t be arsed to register to vote in their own country. Not true that France is doing nothing about illegal immigrants in Calais. The French have taken over customs procedures for potential immigrants at Calais on request of the British government. After Brexit, the immigrants may well be on the English side of the channel. Report

  10. If phone polls and internet polls differ so greatly and consistently (safe the one exception ICM poll last week), then the +/-3% forecast error must be wrong. As usual the bigger error is in the underlying model – in this case the sampling assumptions. There is a parallel in the economic forecasts from the BOE, IMF etc. They consistently get these things wrong because they are using the wrong models. Econometric models can only estimate continuous effects not when there are regime changes. Hence they fail to foresee the benefits of the supply side revolution, or the collapse of the financial bubble.Report

  11. “the third such poll to put Remain ahead” = to put Leave ahead

    “could better do on that score ” = could do better on that score

    “on many another issue” = on many other issues

    “the proportion that Remain were more likely” = the proportion who thought that Remain were more likely
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  12. Since things are still very close, I guess we will now see a change of tactics by the Remain camp. Their job is not just to convince people that Remain is the correct answer, but also that it is important to vote. So far, they have not generated a convincing lead so they will have to add an addition to the message. For example, making their predictions of the consequences of Brexit winning even more extreme.

    But this is a two-edged sword. If they talk about the EU taking some sort of revenge on the UK, that could make the EU look less attractive even if more feared. And if they increase what they predict is the financial cost of leaving, they risk being challenged to justify their numbers in detail, which means exposing their assumptions, which may not all be very convincing.

    So we could still end up with a very close result, which is bad for Remain. A win for Brexit is a loss for Remain, and a very close win for Remain just stokes up the argument for another referendum, with the EU being blamed in the meantime for anything negative – yet another euro area recession, an increase in EU taxation, a renewed Greek crisis, continued or increased immigration, the rejection of any of Cameron’s concessions by EU courts, and so on.Report

    1. Personally I would have thought Remain should put more emphasis on “if you vote Leave, you have no idea what you are voting for or who will implement it. If whoever ends up negotiating goes for EEF membership then forget migration control, wave goodbye to the rebate, say hello to more regulation that we can’t oppose; if they go for leaving the single market they wave goodbye to inward investment, the financial industry and the motor industry. If you don’t know what you will get from Leave but it may well not be what you hoped, then vote Remain”. I know this will cut little ice with comitted Leavers for whom this is a Braveheart moment, but I think it might have more impact on floating voters ie focus more on the total uncertainty in Leave rather than the pure downside itself.Report

      1. If the Great British public vote to leave the EU, what will happen to the UK economy the day after? The answer is, absolutely nothing will change. The UK will still be here and Europe will still be there. Many business deals are subject to contract and the UK being outside the EU can not affect those contracts. The trade deals that the EU has negotiated on behalf of all member states will still be in force and that includes for the UK. A prominent legal expert has just confirmed as much. The only difference is, the UK will be free to re-negotiate those arrangements if both parties so desire. That only leaves our trading relations with the EU that could be a problem. For as long as I can remember, the UK has had a severe imbalance of trade with the rest of the World, including the EU. In other words we import far more than we export.I would like to hear the conversation between Mrs Merkel and the directors of say Mercedes Benz, when they are told that the UK is going to be penalised for leaving the EU, and as presumably the UK would retaliate, their cars are going to be considerably more expensive in the UK. The British people who can afford such cars, would now switch to Lexus, so perhaps Mercedes would open a new factory in the UK, from where they can supply the UK and the UK’s overseas market outside of the EU. This could be the case with many EU businesses and mean more factories,for the UK, more jobs and more exports. Imagine if the UK could negotiate great trade deals with China and India! The EU companies who are hamstrung by EU regulations would be lining up to open new factories. The fact is, the EU needs the UK far more than the UK needs them and they are not going to rock the boat and make things even worse for themselves. The EU in general has high unemployment, particularly high youth unemployment, the economy as a whole is at best stagnating if not in recession and even Germany now is suffering. France is a basket case, Italy not much better and all the Southern European countries are being propped up by the ECB. Do you really think they can afford to be petulant with the UK? Do you really think European business people are going to allow their governments to bankrupt them? If the EU was in a strong position at the moment, that would be a different story, but as it is, they are the ones who will suffer far more than the UK if they get rough. This is a once in a century opportunity for the UK to really get the best of all Worlds.Report

      2. You are getting yourself pretty confused here. You are suggesting that this is what the remain platform ought to be, when exactly this kind of slightly hysterical scaremongering is what the remain platform has *been* all along.

        What you are proposing as if it’s a new idea, is what we have been getting 24/7 for at least the past two years. Every member of the elites has taken their turn at trotting out what you seem to imagine are new thoughts. How could you miss that?

        And what is the result of two solid years of fear-mongering? 50/50. And it was 60/40 for remain not so long ago. Now does that really sugget to you that a bit more of what has been a failing policy is the best strategy for remain?

        Oh, and by the way, is there perhaps a polite way to talk to people you wish to convert, or is talking down to them the best idea? Is mocking their “Braveheart moment” the ideal approach when you want to change someone’s mind.

        To me it reads as if feeling superior to people with whom you disagree mey be more important than addressing the issues. And of course that has been another constant in the remain campaign. Thne broadcasting of contempt for Leave voters, but no effective arguments to convince them.Report

        1. Jon,

          Stop kidding yourself. Both sides are running essentially negative campaigns and there is an elite on both sides that will tell you anything to get you to vote the way they want and who simply cannot be trusted.Report

      3. I do so scorn the idea that Remain is the status quo and Leave an unknown. I have yet to see one single Remainer risk admitting the huge amount the EU will change if we stay, That is the real unknown.

        We do remember the Common Market, which worked quite well but that bears little resemblance to the EU (via the EEC) that we now have. Leave, others will follow, then start again if we must.Report

    2. I’m expecting 60:40 to Remain, by the way on the basis of the telephone polls and that most don’t knows choose Remain. If you look at the polls on this site through that lens it has been pretty consistent for months. You can get odds better than 5 to 1 for over 60% remain. Worth a flutter.Report

    3. Jon, you of course state the obvious. A close result, as the polls seem to indicate will give the loser a baseball bat to beat the other with depending on the negative outcomes, which seem just as possible which ever way the vote goes. The difference between the ramifications of the two options are of course quite obvious. A close vote for Brexit and a possible following catastrophe means no going back and live with it .Conversely, a close vote for Remain means that the issue can be tested again further down the line after we see how that pans out. It is not difficult to see which is the safest course of action.Report

      1. Quite so. After 43 years of EU membership, we of course have no idea what the EU like or what direction it is taking.

        How many more years of membership would you suggest is necessary for us to catch on? 25? 50?Report

  13. How can the ORB say remainers are more likely to vote? The people I have spoken to on both sides of the discussion are either wavering or are resolutely for Brexit.Report

  14. I find the evidence via ORB figures that ‘Remain’ voters are more likely to turn out actually to vote than ‘Leave’ voters somewhat counterintuitive.Report

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