Monday, June 13, 2016

Britain could be on the brink of leaving the EU, as ICM online AND phone polls give Leave a decent lead

Until now, it's been possible to believe that the apparent spectacle of phone polls moving sharply in favour of Leave was illusory.  There had only been a handful of phone polls over the last two-and-a-bit weeks - an ICM poll which put Leave in the lead, and which many people thought might be a rogue because it was conducted over a Bank Holiday, and two ORB polls which showed a narrow Remain lead on the headline numbers, but which still had very substantial 'underlying' Remain leads among the whole sample.  But most of the reassurance for Remain has just been dramatically stripped away with the publication of a new ICM phone poll that shows the Leave lead growing still further.  There's no Bank Holiday get-out clause this time, so the new poll essentially corroborates the previous one from the same firm.  Even taking into account the margin of error, two consecutive polls showing a small Leave lead make it very unlikely that Remain are currently ahead (if ICM's phone methodology is basically sound, that is).

As was the case two weeks ago, ICM conducted a simultaneous online poll, and found that the previous huge divergence between online and phone polling has vanished into thin air.

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

Telephone poll :

Remain 45% (+3)
Leave 50% (+5)

Online poll :

Remain 44% (n/c)
Leave 49% (+2)

As always in Britain-wide polls, the Scottish subsamples are tiny and unreliable.  But for what it's worth, the phone subsample puts Remain ahead by 54% to 44%, and the online subsample puts Remain ahead by 54% to 39%.  So as of this moment, we appear to be on course for the UK Leave / Scottish Remain 'doomsday scenario' that is thought could trigger an early second independence referendum.

When we see polls like these, it's worth taking a step back and recalling that the referendum is already well underway - a substantial minority of people have already voted by post, and in some cases they did so quite some time ago.  So if ICM are right, Remain are in a bit of a pickle here, because some of the result is already set in stone.  Pro-Europeans will be banking on a late swing back towards the status quo, which does often happen in referendums (although if it does occur, there's no guarantee it'll be on any great scale), and possibly on ICM proving to be less accurate than other firms.  It's perfectly possible, for example, that the next Ipsos-Mori phone poll will still show some kind of Remain lead, because so far Ipsos-Mori have tended to be more Remain-friendly than other phone firms.  But there again, Ipsos-Mori reported an enormous swing towards Yes as they converged with other firms at the end of the indyref campaign, so absolutely nothing can be taken for granted at this stage.

*  *  *


Today's new update of the Poll of Polls marks the first time Leave have been ahead on all three averages.  However, the telephone average is based on just two polls, so should be treated with a bit of caution.


Remain 44.8% (-0.2)
Leave 46.9% (+1.4)


Remain 43.0% (+0.1)
Leave 45.3% (+0.4)


Remain 46.5% (-0.5)
Leave 48.5% (+2.5)

(The Poll of Polls takes account of all polls that were conducted at least partly within the last two weeks. The online average is based on ten polls - four from YouGov, three from ICM, two from Opinium and one from ORB. The telephone average is based on two polls - one from ORB and one from ICM.)


  1. uk brexit for scottish freeedom!

    1. You may think you're joking, but it's quite possible that's how it could pan out.

    2. Why should Scottish independence be predicated on Brexit? That's nuts, especially to those of us nationalists who'll be voting to leave the EU. Whether we like it or not, Scotland voted to remain in the UK and as such the country voted to be subject to whatever the rest of the UK decides. I don't like it, but that's the way it is (albeit for now, anyway).

      Now, I'm not saying we should give up on independence just because the result didn't go our way. That would be ridiculous but pinning hopes of independence on leaving the EU is equally nonsensical.

      Rather independence should be campaigned on trying to convince the No voters that independence is viable, and that means formulating a cohesive plan which addresses their fears about currency, defence, and jobs (especially those contingent upon UK government contracts, eg shipbuilding). Until those fears are satisfactorily refuted in the minds of No voters, no 2nd referendum will be won.

      Anyway, it really does perplex me that nationalists would want to leave one democratically-deficient political union to join a much larger political union that is even less democratic and in which we'd have even less influence. It's almost as if Yessers have just taken up this position merely to spite the rest of the UK, especially Tory-voting regions.

      Furthermore, I'm gobsmacked that nationalists are falling for the Vote Remain's scaremongering crapola which is essentially the same as that which characterised Better Together's IndyRef campaign. It's as if most Yessers can't think for themselves and can only recite whatever line the SNP is promoting. To be honest, I find this really quite embarrassing.

    3. It's only just occurred to me however. If the UK leaves the EU and Scotland has another vote to leave the UK. What if the EU says Scotland can only join if it takes the Euro? Currency plan B chaos all over again. Oh dear. Has some SNP strategist thought this through already?

    4. "Why should Scottish independence be predicated on Brexit?"

      Simple answer : because the No vote in 2014 was won on the basis that it would keep Scotland in the EU, and a Leave vote next week would mean that claim had been proved to be fraudulent.

      There's nothing 'nuts' or 'embarrassing' about that - it's really, really straightforward.

    5. Hi James, thanks for the reply.

      Maybe you misunderstood my post, but what is embarrassing is the level of comprehension of Yessers who are easily falling for the exact same Remain arguments which were debunked in the last referendum.

      And yes it is absolutely nuts to base a 2nd independence referendum on UK issues which the majority of the country wanted to remain part of, when the reasons we lost the IndyRef haven't even been resolved to the satisfaction of No voters. If we have to learn one thing from the 1st IndyRef is that important matter-of-fact issues (and I don't mean policies as such) have to be clearly explicated to have any chance of convincing the majority of voters.

      Anyway let's say we do get a 2nd IndyRef, and by some miracle Scotland votes for independence, what pray tell is our currency going to be? If we successfully join the EU (something I actually argued during the IndyRef would likely be a formality), one of the joining criteria could very well be that Scotland adopts the EURO (which many independent analysts reckon is still on the brink of collapse). Now I don't know about you, but I for one find that very unnerving. I'm also alarmed at the rumours of an EU Army being mooted; I can easily envisage the prospect of Scottish soldiers being sent into war without any democratic approval of anybody (never mind the Scottish Parliament), only on the say so of the unelected and unaccountable EU Commission.

      It strikes me that many Yessers haven't thought through the fine grain implications of EU membership (whether within the UK or not), and are simply content to regurgitate Remain's own script and in fact don't seem to apply any critical thinking at all. And that, my friend, is why I find my fellow nationalists' approach to the EU Referendum pretty cringeworthy.

    6. "and by some miracle Scotland votes for independence"

      'Miracle'? What sort of 'fellow nationalist' takes that view? Forgive my scepticism.

    7. Currency would be OUR POUND!

      You can't be forced to join the Euro!

      There will never be a single EU army including Scottish soldiers!

      Piss off Mr Concern troll UKIPper!

    8. So, James, you're sceptical I'm a nationalist? Well, if you're as bright as you think you are, you could easily find out for yourself. You could, for instance, go onto Twitter and search #IndyRef under my username. Or you could go onto Youtube (my profile is linked to on my Twitter profile) and watch the pro-Yes videos I made during the IndyRef.

      But, of course, it's far easier to cast aspersions on me than find out the truth for yourself. You couldn't debunk my latest post, so you decided to avail yourself of the old ad hominem attack. *slow hand clap*

    9. I'm not really interested in 'debunking' it - it's just a rant. Who the hell seriously believes that an EU army is going to send Scottish soldiers into battle against the wishes of the UK/Scottish (delete as appropriate) government? In the unlikely event of an EU army being set up, it would be a NATO style set up with requirements of unaninimity - it would never get off the ground otherwise.

    10. @James Kelly do you have one piece of evidence, other than your own delusions, that the IndyRef was won on the EU question? Instead on say worries about the economy etc?

    11. @ Scotbot. Its a scale issue, and a demographic issue. In the UK we are outnumbered 12 to 1 on population ( and growing ) and on representation in the Commons. 85% of the population resides next door. Our 56/59 MP's got zero amendments to the Scotland Bill.

      In the EU the largest country has 81 million people and 16% of the EU population. 9 of the 28 member states have smaller populations than Scotland. The demographic trend does not favour 3 of the 4 largest nations ( Germany, France and Italy) outbreeding their neighbours.

      Yes there are democratic deficiencies in the EU. That issue taxes many people in other member states too. The way to resolve that is not to chuck the board in the air. All the members are functioning democracies. It is to negotiate. And how democratic is a monarch and a House of Lords anyway?

      We do not get news in Scotland that is not spun. We who favour Scottish independence know that all too well. Why would you assume we are or ever have been, fully informed about the functions of the EU? Read more widely. Travel more widely. Speak to people outside your normal circle. It is a sclerotic force, but it is generally a force for good. If it is so bad why do our Irish brethren support it?

      I was spooked by James report. I just filled in my postal and I chose remain. Not because I want to provoke ID2. But because I believe a confederation of European nations will be strong in the future. It will be a bulwark for democracy. It will raise living standards for all Europeans, and Scotland will have much greater influence once we become a member in our own right. And when we vote for that it will be the EU that forces Westminster to grant it. Brexit or not.

      I have ignored any of the bullshit on the media - because I know they lie about Scotland, so chances are they are lying here. We have troops in Syria btw, who knew? I don't in honesty buy the peace argument. Rather unity in the face of the Warsaw pact has kept the peace in Europe. But common standards for environmental protection are why you can bathe on our clean beaches. EU competition policy is why your mobile phone roaming charges are abolished and you get cheap airline flights. You can drive your car on EU roads with your domestic insurance. Its not just about the shape of bananas. Its about workers rights, its about safety standards, its about free movement of people.

      You won't read anything good about the SNP. And you won't read anything good about the EU. Same media.

    12. "@James Kelly do you have one piece of evidence, other than your own delusions, that the IndyRef was won on the EU question?"

      With all due respect, Joe, it is fantastically improbable that the No campaign would have banged on about the EU to the extent that they did unless they were confident it was having a major effect.

  2. I think, with numbers like these, whichever way you look at it, Scotland needs every Remain vote it can get, if the result is going to show Scotland as convincingly pro-Europe in contrast with England.

    1. So lets get out there campaigning! I was out on Saturday.

  3. If as a supporter of Scottish independence you vote for Brexit you are in effect conceding that the UK should determine whether Scotland should be in or out of the EU . If you believe in Scottish independence that can only be possible by Scotland quitting the UK not the EU .

    The Brexit camp in this referendum is overwhelmingly being run by right wing English nationalist elements in the Tory party and UKIP, aligning with them sets the cause for Scottish independence back . Scotland should have its own relationship either in or out of the EU and not as a region of the UK .

    1. The problem with that theory is that the Remain campaign is largely run by the right-wing as well. It's a Tory civil war, with the rest of us as onlookers.

    2. I am getting a little tired of what many of us regard as a fraudulent argument. A great many of us that voted Yes want away from both the UK and EU. The EUs deliberate and malicious interference to sabotage the Catalan Elections leaves me with absolutely no faith in or love for the EU. Just one example of why many of us that voted Yes will be voting to get out of the EU.

  4. Scotbot, your point regarding leaving the UK and remaining in a less democratic institution which going forward will diminish our sovereignty even further is imo a valid point.
    I can't for the life of me understand how the Scottish government(which i voted for) can square this circle.

    1. I guess they would argue that the EU is not a less democratic institution.

    2. Nicola Sturgeon, Gordon Broon and Goldman Sachs all think the EU is the best thing ever. Oh dear.

  5. I put £100 @ 20/1 on Brexit in June and Trump in November. This is starting to look like an interesting double!

  6. ?????? How can you vote out from EU and also want out of UK. You need to vote to stay in EU (if in scotland) and hope England votes leave to get a 2nd indy ref. If you think voting Brexit will also get you the 2nd indy ref then.....I'm sorry but you must be abit thick

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  8. Perhaps some of us think that whatever the relationship between Scotland and the UK should be/is quite independent of questions around the EU. I dislike the EU. I want the UK (which sadly the majority of small u unionists voted to remain within) out of the EU. I then want to argue for Scottish independence (not on the basis of a split Brexit result etc) but from first principles based on democracy and autonomy.

    Bovine Yessers that think small u unionists in Scotland only voted for the Union based on being in the EU or indeed value the EU above the Union are in for a shock. Accept the result of the IndyRef and engage with winning over small u unionist Scotland.

    Shit about the Vow, the BBC, screaming "it's our pound" or "Tories are evil", Eurosceptics are all secretly "racists" is simply not good enough.

    Let alone endorsing "expert" views on the end of the world with Brexit and then saying those same "experts" are all wrong about an independent Scotland. That is sadly incoherent and politically damaging to the independence cause.

  9. Who in Scotland is doing any leafleting for Remain? The campaign is dead. We need to get out on the streets and get the word out. A low turnout in Scotland must be avoided.

    The worst possible result is Leave vote overall and a narrow Remain vote in Scotland insifficient to shout about. Because people are too lazy to get their fat a***s out and do any campaigning.

  10. James, what was the last Scotland only poll saying on this topic?

    1. It was TNS, and showed Remain ahead by 51% to 21%. So if that's even vaguely close to the truth, Devorgilla's fears are unwarranted. Public opinion can change, of course, so I'm not saying there's no risk at all, but it looks pretty small to me.

  11. I have and always will be a Remain. Unlike many Yessers who seem to have during the Indy ref spouted that those unionist politicians in the Better Together camp were liars and scaremongers yet heres the same liars and scaremongers in the Brexit and suddenly the Brexit Yessers believe what they say? I don't listen to anyone but Scots, I read the articles in Business for Scotland website and I really feel sick that any Yes Scot is happily inflicting A Tory Gov and its tearing up the Human Rights to write their own not to mention anything else they'll do to Scotland yet Scotland is out of all the UK, benefits from the EU most? Why would they do that to their own country? With the hope it spurs everyone to vote Yes? Do they realise that for many in the No Camp, they'd see themselves and their families destitute rather than vote Yes. How much pain will Scots go through and how much more assets will Westminster strip from us by the time we can get to at least 60% pro Yes. There will be greater fear of Scotland out of EU amongst No voters and they are even less likely to vote for Independence then when there is even more uncertainty if Scotland is out of the EU. Non-one can force No voters to suddenly jump to the Yes and how many years and how poor does Scotland get before the Nos would turn round and say.....we definitely cannot afford Indy NOW! I really do not understand the reasoning of Yes voters voting Brexit, they in my opinion are more of a risk to Scotland dragging us out of EU than No voters were about keeping us in the UK...Indy will be further away than ever.

    1. Basically I believe whatever Nicola's line is this week? When did being an independence supporter (I am one) come with a lobotomy? The EU is an undemocratic corrupt neo-liberal project that wants to impose austerity across Europe to save the Euro and as a follow up bring in TTIP.

      I think I'll be voting leave. Sorry Eddie Izzard, Nicola, Fat Alex, Gordon Broon, Davie Cameron, Georgie Osbourne and the City of London (Goldman Sachs, JP Morgan et al.) I just will not be on the "progressive" side this time.

    2. Ah, because there's no chance of TTIP for plucky non EU Britain. My arse!

      All those neo-con fruitcakes who are holding this vote to shore up their party in the face of UKIP will secure a good 10 years of power once it's over. Austerity? Not for them and their pals. All the stuff you don't want in TTIP will be foisted on you by the Conservatives anyway.

      There is widespread resistance in Germany and France to TTIP. Its not a done deal. But rest assured Obama's lapdog will be pushing for it in the EU. Actually, it's probably better for the rest of Europe if the voice of America withdraws. There will be less countries pushing for Turkey to be admitted for a start.

  12. Manufactured grievances and toxic fantasies of victimhood are being being used to manipulate English nationalist sentiment to promote a global corporate agenda.

    It's Project Fear Squared: