When I posted about the EU referendum polls yesterday (and updated this blog's Poll of Polls), I somehow managed to miss the big polling story of the day - that YouGov had conducted side-by-side online and phone polls to test a theory about what might be causing the discrepancy between the findings produced by each method, and that both polls had shown a small Leave lead. This is just the second time in the whole campaign that a phone poll has reported an outright lead for Leave. It only seems to have happened because YouGov were especially persistent in trying to contact potential telephone respondents, and as a result eventually managed to speak to enough non-graduates, who are more likely to be Leave voters. Bizarrely, at almost exactly the same moment that these findings were released, the very recently-retired former President of YouGov Peter Kellner was expounding his own theory that greater persistence in reaching respondents would have precisely the opposite effect - it would turn up hidden masses of socially liberal people who are more likely to vote Remain.
It was rather amusing to see the personal attack that YouGov's current management then made on Peter Kellner. I seem to recall that whenever I criticised Kellner during the indyref or questioned his motivations, it was cited as evidence that I was plainly an uncivilised cybernat lunatic! It's gratifying to see they've belatedly come around to my way of thinking...
Seriously, though, it's hard to escape the impression that YouGov were casting around for a reason why they as an online pollster might be right and the phone pollsters might be wrong. They homed in on educational attainment and it gave them the results they wanted, but you do have to wonder if they could have magically 'proved' the complete opposite - ie. that phone polls are more accurate - if they had lavished their attention on a different factor instead.
The bottom line is that the uncertainty continues, although two newly-released polls showing a Leave lead obviously has a significant impact on the Poll of Polls. (Both polls are somewhat out of date, but they were mostly conducted within the last three weeks, and therefore qualify for inclusion in the Poll of Polls.)
SCOT GOES POP POLL OF POLLS
50/50 ONLINE/TELEPHONE AVERAGE :
Remain 45.5% (-2.3)
Leave 41.0% (-0.7)
ONLINE AVERAGE :
Remain 41.9% (-1.4)
Leave 42.7% (-1.3)
TELEPHONE AVERAGE :
Remain 49.0% (-3.3)
Leave 39.2% (-0.1)
(The Poll of Polls takes account of all polls that were conducted at least partly within the last three weeks. The online average is based on seven polls - three from ICM, three from YouGov and one from TNS. The telephone average is based on five polls - one from ICM, one from YouGov, one from ORB, one from Ipsos-Mori and one from ComRes.)