Saturday, June 18, 2016

Simultaneous BMG polls contradict each other on whether Leave or Remain are in the lead - but both polls are out of date anyway

Should the United Kingdom remain a member of the European Union or leave the European Union?

BMG, online :

Remain 45% (-4)
Leave 55% (+4)

BMG, telephone :

Remain 53%
Leave 47%

Both polls were fully conducted prior to the murder of Jo Cox, and indeed the fieldwork started as long ago as the 10th.  So in a sense this is historical data that can only contribute to our understanding of the state of play prior to the tragedy.  The online figures are entirely as expected, with the same sort of swing to Leave detected recently by ICM and YouGov.  More surprising is the decent lead for Remain in the phone poll, but it's hard to draw any conclusions about the trend from that, because there are no baseline figures to work from - this is BMG's first phone poll of the campaign.

The big question is whether BMG followed the same practice as ICM did with their own recent simultaneous online and phone polls, by using exactly the same methodology (apart from data collection method, obviously) for both polls.  If they did, this is a direct contradiction of ICM's finding (that was successfully replicated after a fortnight had passed) that the divergence between phone and online polls has closed.

Even so, BMG are not one of the big names in political telephone polling, so although reputation is no guarantee of accuracy, I would be inclined to give more weight to the ICM and Ipsos-Mori phone polls - conducted at roughly the same time - putting Leave ahead.

We still await the first credible poll to be conducted since the murder.  USA Today are reporting "poll data" from yesterday (ie. the 17th) supposedly showing a swing towards Leave, but from the limited information available, it doesn't sound like a proper representative poll to me.


  1. Glasgow Working Class 2June 18, 2016 at 4:40 AM

    My wrist hurts after pulling the head off it all night whilst thinking about the FM not wearing knickers in her Nat Si uniform

  2. There is an article on the BMG site explaining why they are giving more prominence to the phone poll result and how they obtained it.

    Jist of it is that Remain supporters are less likely to answer the first phone call. A Remain lead of 1% after one call became 5% after the second call, before settling at a 4% lead.

    This meant that the poll took longer (and was presumably more expensive). It also means that once they had settled upon their sample, they stuck with it and tried to contact that person up to 8 times. Other companies would just call somebody else until they got an answer.

    Obviously any poll is subject to error, but it looks like they put a lot of effort into making this one as rigorous as possible.

    1. I read the BMG article, and it seemed to me they made a number of strong statements that they couldn't really support. It read like they were angling for maximum bragging rights in case they just happened to get it right. Being as open as ICM were a few weeks ago and admitting that they just don't know wouldn't have done the trick.

  3. The grave robbing behaviour of the Remain cheerleaders in the MSM is probably doing more harm than good to their clause. England now appears to be, in terms of public political awareness, where Scotland was in the year or so before the referendum in 2014. The public are waking up and getting involved and they don't like the level of contempt being displayed towards them by the Guardian class. I'm sure Jo Cox was an admirable person, but in all honesty, how many people outside her constituency had heard of her before she was murdered? Yet, we have the ridiculous "Princess Diana's funeral" spectacle of a media establishment treating her like Mother Teresa and trying to make out that anyone voting "leave" is personally responsible for her death. People aren't the fools that journalists atavistically assume them to be. They don't like being herded in this manner and they won't tolerate it. If the press had kept their mouths shut, Jo Cox's death might have been a turning point, but now...?

    1. "trying to make out that anyone voting "leave" is personally responsible for her death"

      Nigel Farage, last month:

      "I think it's legitimate to say that if people feel they've lost control completely - and we have lost control of our borders completely, as members of the European Union - and if people feel voting doesn't change anything, then violence is the next step."

      That is a senior elected politician justifying violence.

    2. That sounds very similar to something John F Kennedy said fifty years ago, James. "Those who make peaceful revolution impossible will make violent revolution inevitable". I have followed the Scottish independence movement closely (I am not British myself and have no dog in this fight) and it has occured to me in the past that if the will of the Scottish people was indefinitely frustrated by an unresponsive British state, Scotland could end up going down the same road as Ireland. What's true of Scotland in regard to Westminster is equally true of the rest of the UK in regard to Brussels (indeed, it's true of just about every part of the EU now). Is it not possible that Farage's statement was simply a warning of danger, not an incitement?

    3. But of course Kennedy was talking about places and situations (Latin American dictatorships) where it was impossible to effect change democratically.

      Farage has stood in several free and fair elections. His party stood in a free and fair election last year, in which they won 1 MP out of 650.

      Thanks to their allies in the Conservative Party, they now have a free and fair referendum on whether to achieve their political objective. Yet even though their democratic wishes are being facilitated, Farage still thinks that violence may be justified. That is disgusting.

  4. Why would usa a today be polling on this? Is us a today big in the u.k.?

    1. No. I don't think they commissioned the "poll", they just picked it up.

    2. @James Kelly, I know you are not keen on the USA Today cited poll.

      The firm is a UK firm and I found a link to some of the data;

      The poling sample was large almost 3,000 so the Margin of Error should be LESS than 2%. They indicate weighting based on population and prior voting.

      The BIG question is if the events last Thursday changed things? Or actually has Leave lost support going from Thursday into Friday?

      I believe that this poll does provide the first major clue as to voting pattern and if changed.

      Now let me say something very controversial, people that inhabit political blogs are NOT normal/regular people. People that read and write comments in political blogs are VERY NOT normal/regulat people.
      We can read too deeply into things at times.....

      The Qriously survey does seem to indicate that support for Leave remained UNCHANGED from Thursday to Friday amongst those surveyed who knew what happened.

      What I do not think can be concluded is that support for Remain actually tanked between Thursday to Friday. The data indicates that but that needs exploration.

      Being a dual side of the pond political junkie and having heard what the "suspect" called his name in court today, I think most voters (average folk) are going to simply say it was another tragic murder by a clear nut case. Concrete Remain activist will blame it on Farage and Concrete Leave activists will have a conspiracy theory, but they are BOTH already baked into all the polls.

      I think some on remain may have thought it was a changing event for the referendum and I think some on leave were biting their nails. I think they are both wrong and that appears to be supported by the first clue which we have been given.

      George Stewart

    3. The sample size is fine, but there again, a sample size of 10,000 would be useless if it wasn't respresentative/properly weighted. That's where my doubts lie.

    4. Anthony Wells has picked up on this qriously poll as well. He seems to be doubtful about whether they can obtain a genuinely representative sample, given that the data is collected from smartphone apps.

  5. @James Kelly;

    The one thing I prefer about political polling in the USA is that Margin of Error is usually stated and often explained to the public to put it in perspective. Here in the UK, which I hate to say is that people look at polls as if they were in a betting shop, its pitiful.

    That said, the phone poll for BMG has a calculated Margin of Error at 3% (actually 3.1%) so in theory the phone poll is saying that remain could be between 50% and 56% and Leave between 50% and 44%.

    The online poll has a margin of error at 2.5% (actually 2.6%) because of the larger sample size, so Remain is between 42.5% and 47.%% and Leave is between 52.5% and 57.5%.

    What does that tell us?

    1.) Based on the final BMG online poll, it is a slim to none possibility of Remain winning.

    2.) Based on the final BMG telephone poll, Remain may win and Leave may win.

    Here is where it gets interesting because as they say in court, there are truth and lies on both sides.

    Justification CAN be made to combine the two surveys because of questions, firm etc etc....

    The combined poll yields Leave at 51% and Remain at 49% with only a 2.05% Margin of Error.

    Finally having said all of that....and as you say there is no baseline with the telephone poll so it tells you a lot less, the online poll DOES reveal some valuable date.

    It can be said with a high degree of confidence that Leave has had significant momentum between May and June. That is an important clue.

    George Stewart

  6. Glasgow Working Class 2June 18, 2016 at 1:52 PM

    James, that impersonator that made the first comment could be a sexual predator. You should report it tae the bizzies.

  7. I see that a UK wide Survation poll has movement to Remain in their latest offering.

    1. Glasgow Working Class 2June 18, 2016 at 10:10 PM

      Polls should be banned. Politicians and political parties should present their policies and manifesto to the public. I suspect the polling lot are politicised and earning money!

  8. What is the latest polls for Scotland?

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