Welcome to our website. If you want to see what people think of the issues that are being debated in the referendum on the UK’s membership of the European Union, you are in the right place. Equally, if you want to make sense of the latest polls on how people might vote in the referendum – or maybe would like to learn a bit more about why people are inclined to vote one way or the other – again, this is the site for you.
There are two main parts to the site. The first comprises a lot of data. We are bringing together what we think is all of the significant polling and survey data on the subject collected in Britain during the last five years. In cases where these questions were also asked on polls or surveys conducted before 2010, the details of the earlier readings are given too. Polls conducted separately in one of the four component parts of the UK are also included.
The outcome of the referendum will, of course, eventually be determined by voters in the UK. But in the meantime the UK government is hoping to ‘renegotiate’ Britain’s terms of membership, and that is an issue that concerns the rest of the EU too. What other countries will be willing to offer will depend in part on what their voters are willing to accept. So we are also collating and providing the results from some of the major EU-wide surveys conducted since 2004, together with polling results for its larger member states.
However, the centerpiece of this section of the site is our EU Referendum Poll of Polls – a running average of the latest six polls on how people propose to vote in the referendum. This is our quickest guide to the latest evidence on which way the vote is likely to go.
All of the data can be displayed in graphical form as well as viewed as a table. There are also facilities for downloading the charts and the underlying data. So that you can decide for yourself how reliable and robust a poll finding is, we provide details of how each poll was conducted, full details of the exact wording of each question, and, wherever possible, a link back to the original source of the data.
The second main part of the site contains commentary and analysis – in which this blog is the first entry! Here you will find blogs –by myself and by occasional guest contributors – on the latest polling and on attitudes towards some of the key issues in the campaign. There is also an opportunity for you to post (politely please!) your reactions and responses to what is said. Meanwhile, for those who would like more information and a slightly longer read, we will also be posting occasional analysis papers that discuss at rather greater length some of the key patterns and trends in attitudes towards the European Union.
Finally, just to be clear, we are not trying to persuade you to vote one way or another. Much like a similar website we ran during the Scottish independence referendum, What Scotland Thinks, we simply want to make it relatively straightforward for you to see what your fellow citizens think about the referendum and, perhaps, to gain some insight into why. Explore and enjoy!
By John Curtice
John Curtice is Senior Research Fellow at NatCen, Professor of Politics at Strathclyde University, and Chief Commentator on the What UK Thinks: EU website.