Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Tumultuous TNS poll tilts towards Leave

Should the United Kingdom remain a member of the European Union or leave the European Union?  (TNS, online)

Remain 40% (-1)
Leave 47% (+4)

The fieldwork for TNS polls is often well out of date by the time of publication, but in this case it concluded yesterday - although it ran for about a week, so it still has older data than the most recent polls from other firms.

In a probably needless attempt to cover themselves, TNS have issued a statement identifying several different reasons why the apparent Leave surge and overall Leave lead may be misleading.  Most obviously, they point out the danger that normal sampling variation could give the illusory appearance of a swing towards one side or another - but in reality, we have several polls from different firms conducted at roughly the same time, and all but one of them have shown some kind of movement towards Leave, so it's unlikely that's happening by random chance.  TNS also note that their turnout model (which boosts the Leave lead) is based on past voting patterns at general elections, and it's possible that different types of people may be more likely to drag themselves to the polling station in an EU referendum.  That's true, but I do think it's slightly odd that they've used young people as an example.  Intuitively, it doesn't seem likely to me that young people will be any more enthused about an EU referendum than about a general election.  Affluent and highly-educated voters are much more likely candidates to save Remain's bacon - but their tendency to vote in greater numbers is presumably already factored into the turnout model.

This is a very rare example of a poll where Leave have a slight lead among the Scottish subsample (44% to 43%).  If that was the actual result, it would of course scupper any strategy for an early repeat of the independence referendum.  But the finding should be taken with a pinch of salt - Scottish subsamples are very small, not correctly weighted, and therefore potentially wildly unreliable.

17 comments:

  1. Will the English bottle it in the last week?

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    1. I'm in London today and people I regarded as sensible, educated pro EU people have told me they've been swayed to vote leave in the last week. They say leave is more "passionate" and that's swung it for them. Astonishing and worrying

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    2. I'm in London today and people I regarded as sensible, educated pro EU people have told me they've been swayed to vote leave in the last week. They say leave is more "passionate" and that's swung it for them. Astonishing and worrying

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  2. Iain I believe not unless lizzie intervenes, correct me if i'm wrong wasn't it us Jocks that choked it!

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  3. Will Nicola end up on the loosing side of two referendums in two years?

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    1. She's not going to lose the vote in Scotland, which I suspect is what she cares most about. In the immortal words of Nick Berry -

      "Every loser wins
      Once the dream begins
      In time we'll see
      Fate holds the key..."

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    2. Well, that depends on what her private, strategic opinion is on when the best timing for another indyref is.

      Also, I think we all know that not many in Scotland really care about the result. Scotland's voting 'in'. England are voting however they feel, and there's bugger all we can do about it.

      If Scotland holds England in the EU against its wishes, they might hear the laughter all the way down in London.

      If England drags Scotland out of the EU against its wishes, well, bye bye Westminster rule.

      If England agrees with Scotland and votes 'in' then we can get on with getting on.

      Either way, most people aren't too fussed, as there isn't a way that Scotland can lose this one, which is a nice change of pace.

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    3. Unless the Scots don't vote. A 20% turnout is no mandate at all.

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    4. I think the idea Scotland can't lose out of this referendum is a bit naïve. If Brexit ends up with the EU collapsing into a populist mess then we'll certainly lose out from it. Even if we become independent and the rest of the UK goes into an economic malaise that will affect us.

      I do feel at times that we treat these issues like a bit of a game - as if nothing that happens will fundamentally damage the economy/people's lives, it's all about winning or sticking it to whichever cretin on the other side we happen to think is an idiot. But what happens here could easily spiral into a mess very quickly and we're tied to both the UK and the EU whether we like it or not.

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  4. Referendum polling is a black art IMHO. They have no idea how to construct a meaningful weighted sample.

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  5. I cannot understand why so many of you smugly assume that there is something superior and progressive in subjugating ourselves to a dictatorial, elitist organization, which has caused so many difficulties for us. You might be surprised how many people have turned against it.

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    1. Yeah, 45% at the last count.

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    2. I agree. Why would England with a queen and lords and a state run news/ media operation get to run Scotland? They can't even run their own country!

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    3. Glasgow Working ClassJune 14, 2016 at 7:45 PM

      Your a twisted fooker. The Uk has a Queen and Eck supports her. The UK has a H Of L and Eck does not support it. The UK has the BBC and Eck wants to control the Scottish HQ.

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    4. When I'm finished with your old lady, GWC, her minge looks like a bulldog eating porridge.

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    5. Glasgow Working Class 2June 14, 2016 at 10:27 PM

      So you are a grave digger and necrophiliac. Well do enjoy nat si bhoy enjoy the crack.

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    6. O.k then, a dead bulldog eating stale porridge.

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