In spite of the lavish coverage of Lynton Crosby's grandiose musings on yesterday's EU referendum poll from ORB, I didn't actually pay a huge amount of attention to the poll itself, because at first glance the numbers looked fairly routine. But as soon as you realise that it was conducted by telephone and not among a volunteer online polling panel, suddenly it looks a hell of a lot more significant.
This isn't quite the game-changer that it might have been if it was a ComRes, Ipsos-Mori or Survation telephone poll putting Leave ahead, because that would be fairly convincing proof that there has been a swing to Leave. Since ORB haven't previously polled by phone during this campaign, it's possible that there's some kind of house effect that is favouring Leave in this poll, and that if the other telephone firms polled again, they'd produce much more familiar numbers. But there's no getting away from it - the fact that it's even possible for any sort of telephone poll to put Leave ahead completely transforms our understanding of this contest. Until now, the telephone leads for Remain have ranged from substantial to overwhelming, and that's been the comfort blanket that has reassured many pro-European commentators that Brexit is highly unlikely. Suddenly it doesn't look quite so simple.
Probably the biggest health warning that needs to be slapped on this poll is that ORB don't seem to have asked the exact referendum question. (I'm not 100% sure about that, because the datasets are quite difficult to decipher, but it looks that way.) We know from Ipsos-Mori's research that the official question tends to produce better numbers from Remain - which is a bit odd, given that the wording is scrupulously neutral. So perhaps Leave are being flattered slightly by ORB, but even allowing for that, it's hard to deny that this is the Outers' most encouraging phone poll to date by some distance.
Where does this leave us? Completely in the dark, basically.
* YouGov haven't reported recently, but their most recent batch of polls seemed to suggest a significant swing to Remain among their online panel. However, a more up-to-date full-scale Scottish poll from YouGov showed a big swing to Leave - it's unclear whether that's a Scotland-only effect, or whether it reflects a very recent shift in Britain-wide opinion that will only be picked up by the next UK poll from the firm.
* ICM are the other most prominent online pollster, and you could make a case that they're either showing no meaningful recent change, or a small swing to Leave. But there's certainly no sign at all of a YouGov-style swing to Remain.
* Neither ComRes nor Ipsos-Mori have published a telephone poll recently. The last time they did, ComRes seemed to be suggesting that Leave had made some progress, while Ipsos-Mori showed no change of any significance. But both firms still showed substantial Remain leads.
* And now we have the first telephone poll to put Leave ahead, but with no baseline figures from ORB to measure from.
It's as clear as mud, but on balance I'd suggest Leave have reason to be more confident than they were a few days ago.
SCOT GOES POP POLL OF POLLS
Should the United Kingdom remain a member of the European Union or leave the European Union?
50/50 ONLINE/TELEPHONE AVERAGE :
Remain 45.8% (-0.1)
Leave 39.7% (+1.1)
ONLINE AVERAGE :
Remain 41.2% (+0.3)
Leave 40.0% (+0.2)
TELEPHONE AVERAGE :
Remain 50.3% (-0.5)
Leave 39.3% (+2.0)
(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 ten polls - five from YouGov, three from ICM, one from ORB and one from BMG. The telephone average is based on four polls - one from ComRes, one from Ipsos-Mori, one from ORB and one from Survation.)
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You learn something new every day - according to the Telegraph, members of the House of Lords will be allowed to vote in the EU referendum, but only if they live in Gibraltar. That sounds eminently sensible.
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Many thanks to the 227 people who voted in this blog's latest readers' poll. It may be somewhat academic after Hillary Clinton's solid results overnight, but no fewer than 214 of you (that's 94.3%) reckoned that Scotland's favourite "centre-right socialist" Stephen Daisley would vote for Donald Trump in a hypothetical contest against Bernie Sanders. Evidently you think "right" is the operative word, rather than "centre" or "socialist".