Sunday, February 21, 2016

Implausible Welsh figures put a slight question mark on first post-agreement EU referendum poll

The first EU referendum poll conducted since the Brussels deal was finalised on Friday night has already been released, and strangely it's not all that helpful.  It's a Survation telephone poll, and as Survation haven't previously conducted any telephone polls during the campaign, it's impossible to reach any firm conclusions about whether Remain or Leave have made any progress as a result of the agreement, or whether the effect has been neutral.  We're also not really any closer to solving the mystery of the sudden and unexpected divergence between the telephone findings of Ipsos-Mori and ComRes.  The most that can be said is that if the 'house effect' of telephone polling by Survation is roughly the same as that of telephone polling by Ipsos-Mori and ComRes, and if the agreement on Friday has had little impact on public opinion (two very big ifs), then the new poll might lend some weight to my theory that Ipsos-Mori and ComRes diverged mainly because of very extreme sampling variation, and that if they had repeated the exercise immediately afterwards they would probably both have produced results somewhere in between the two extremes.

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

Remain 47.6%
Leave 33.2%

With Don't Knows excluded, that's a 59-41 lead for Remain, which is roughly similar to the advantage the Better Together campaign enjoyed among the three No-friendly pollsters with a few weeks to go until the independence referendum. The important difference with 2014, of course, is that the Leave campaign already have a small outright lead in the polls that tend to be most favourable for them (ie. online polls).

The oddest feature of the Survation datasets is that Wales, not Scotland, is the region of the UK with the biggest Remain lead. That doesn't tally up with the polling evidence we've already seen that suggests public opinion on the EU in Wales is roughly the same as in England. OK, freakish subsamples can even themselves out within a poll, but the fact that the raw Welsh sample has had to be sharply upweighted from 34 to 63 isn't ideal. It's not impossible that the sampling issues in Wales may have led to the overall Remain lead being slightly overstated.

If the rumours that Boris Johnson will declare for Leave today are true, Survation's figures will soon look out of date anyway, and we'll start looking ahead to the first post-Boris poll. I know that very few people who read this blog rate the guy, but if he actually fronts the campaign and represents it in high-profile TV debates, I think that could make a huge difference and potentially swing the balance. Apart from charisma, he brings a bit of optimism and sunshine to the table - the six Tory cabinet ministers who came out for Leave yesterday look like such a dreary bunch in comparison.

* * *


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


Remain 46.7% (-0.8)
Leave 39.2% (-0.7)


Remain 41.4% (-0.6)
Leave 41.9% (-0.5)


Remain 52.0% (-1.0)
Leave 36.4% (-0.9)

(The Poll of Polls takes account of all polls that were conducted at least partly within the last month. The online average is based on nine polls - four from ICM, two from YouGov, one from BMG, one from ORB and one from TNS. The telephone average is based on five polls - two from ComRes, two from Ipsos-Mori and one from Survation.)


  1. I can concur with you James, when I looked at the polling subsets the Welsh ones seemed a bit out of step with the previous polling done in Wales.

  2. Nicola Sturgeon says that she knows people who were passionate NO voters at the referendum who intend to vote for the UK to remain in the EU. I would say that that is a perfectly normal situation.
    She may be interested to know that there are people who were passionate YES voters who intend to vote for leave in this referendum, that is also a perfectly normal situation. It's called democracy Nicola

    1. I personally find it odd that a supporter of Scottish independence would be enthusiastic about voting in a very British/English Nationalist EU referendum. The June vote is not about Scotland, it's all about Britain.

      I'm voting because I have to. I didn't want to be voting in a British/English nationalist referendum, but here we are.

      Because of this I will be voting 'Remain' which is as near to not voting as I can do. Status quo. 'I want nothing to do with your British Nationalism Nigel et al.' etc

      All the main Scottish parties want Scotland to Remain in the EU while it is part of the UK. It is only really English right-wing parties that want the opposite and I'll not be giving them my vote.

      In an independent Scotland I could be persuaded of the Norway model, outside the EU but EFTA/EEA. However, until then I'll vote Scottish not British/English Nationalist so 'Remain' in June.

    2. @SS: I don't really buy this kind of "who cares, nothing to do with us" line. If we want to use the referendum as a vote on independence then the best thing to do is to back remain by a big margin.

      The argument here is that Scotland is different and is being taken out of the EU against its will. That argument only has any impact if the vote is strongly in favour of the EU in Scotland in the first place. If it isn't then it actually weakens the independence case - anything that closely parallels the result in England will be taken as proof that Scotland isn't that different politically after all.

      We should be viewing this as just as important a political event as the election in May if not the 2014 referendum.

    3. Oh I agree. Maybe my point was missed. The British/English nationalists are forcing their referendum on Scotland. If people in Scotland vote 'Leave' they are voting English nationalist / supporting Scotland being in the UK.

      A 'Leave' vote in June is not a vote for Scotland out of the EU. It's all about Britain. Vote leave and you might as well stick up a union jack in the garden while whistling land of hope and glory.

      If you want an iScotland out of the EU, get independence from the UK first, then vote for parties which support Scotland leaving the EU.

  3. Glasgow Working ClassFebruary 21, 2016 at 12:09 PM

    So the wee gobshoite Sturgeon who mouths a lot and does sweet FA for the poor is taking the fight to the English. So more shouting and talking down to the punters. She like Salmond will not debate face to face with Galloway. He would wipe the floor with her.

    1. I imagine Sturgeon is hoping there's an SNP / ajockalypse now effect which drives voters in England towards 'Leave' :-)

      Anyway, you are anti-EU right. Why do you hate the French and not want to help the poor in e.g. Spain?

    2. I imagine the indefatigable George would have to wipe the floor wherever he goes,considering the perambulating piece of garbage leaves an unpleasant slimy,snail-like trail in his wake all the time

    3. Glasgow Working Class 2February 21, 2016 at 8:39 PM

      Hey Skier it is the responsibility of the Spanish elected government to help their people. The Nat sis promised to eradicate food banks and top up so called welfare cuts. They had no intention of doing this. They are liars and will just use the old blame the Tories crap.

    4. Glasgow Working Class 2February 21, 2016 at 8:46 PM

      Anon, The gorgeous one destroyed the Nat sis in the referendum. Wee Kim Jung Eck refused to debate with him. And I lstened to Sturgeon today pretending she was for the EU and workers right. The EU is helping starve the Greek workers.

  4. What the leave campaign are proposing isn't 'real' independence for Britain. They want the UK to e.g. have free trade deals with commonwealth countries. That will mean other countries still having a big say in British laws.

  5. Meanwhile G Braiden from the herald is running a nice story about how he doesn't care in the slightest about Brian Spanner and the racist hypocrites of the SMSM but somebody has joked about blowing up spanner and it's DefCon 5.

    Spaner is without any doubt a) More than 1 person and b) Includes JK Plagiarist's husband.

    Try and sue me without exposing your complicity in court you horse faced witch!

    1. Let me see if I've got this straight - are you saying that Gerry Braiden is actually running a story about how he doesn't care about Brian Spanner?

      I thought Gerry might have settled for the several thousand tweets he's posted in recent weeks on the theme of how much he doesn't care about Spanner, how anyone who does care is a raving lunatic, and how people should FOR THE LOVE OF GOD stop talking about a subject that bores him terribly.

      But yeah, on second thoughts, I can probably imagine him bludgeoning the concept of irony a bit further just to make sure it's completely and utterly dead.

  6. Be careful with YouGov as they tend to combine Wales with the Midlands whilst TNS lumps Wales in with 'the west' wherever that is. So you'll never get an accurate figure from them.