Archive for the 'BREXIT' Category


We have cross-over in YouGov’s BREXIT tracker: More now think it was wrong than right

Thursday, April 27th, 2017

How important will Brexit be on June 8th?

The latest YouGov BREXIT tracker was published in the Times over-night and shows a move to people now saying that the referendum decision was wrong rather than right.

This is a regular polling question that has been asked by YouGov in exactly the same manner since Theresa May became prime minister.

Then, as the chart above shows, 4% more people thought Brexit was right than wrong. Now the “wrong” segment in leading by 2%. This is from the Times report:

“.. This is the first time that more people have said the referendum came out with the wrong result, and suggests that the issue still divides the country.

Some 85 per cent of people who voted to leave still thought it was the right decision, while 89 per cent of people who voted to remain thought the result was the wrong decision… “

Each change is within the statistical margin of error although there is a trend when you look at the longer term.

My view is that views of BREXIT is more important in constituencies that voted remain than those that went for leave. Thus LAB was able to hang on in the Stoke central by-election but in Richmond Park the Liberal Democrats were able to overturn Zac’s 23,000 General Election majority even though UKIP stood aside and gave him a free run.

Extraordinarily, relating to the latter, in another development overnight Mr Goldsmith has been selected as the Conservative candidate for Richmond Park. This raises all sorts of questions about his original decision to “quit” the Conservatives at the end of last year to fight the by-election because of Heathrow expansion.

But the general election on June 8th is more than just about BREXIT but choosing what people perceive to be a competent government and here I think that Theresa May and the Tories continue to have a very strong edge.

A lot of things can still happen in this election. Six weeks is an awful long time in politics.

Mike Smithson


PB/Polling Matters podcast: Is a Tory landslide inevitable? And Vive le pollsters!

Wednesday, April 26th, 2017


On this week’s podcast Keiran returns and is joined by Chris Hanretty from the University of East Anglia.

Keiran and Chris celebrate the excellent performance of French pollsters last weekend and discuss the implications of Macron and Le Pen making the second round. Is a Macron victory now inevitable? What happens next and would a British version of ‘En Marche’ be successful? Keiran and Chris also discuss the seeming inevitability of a Conservative landslide in June and what might happen to the Liberal Democrats and the SNP.

To finish the show, Keiran unveils some new Polling Matters / Opinium polling that asks how engaged the public are in the campaign, what issues matter most to them and who is best placed to deal with them.

Listen here

Follow this week’s guests




Less than a week after Mrs. May’s GE2017 announcement YouGov’s Brexit “right/wrong” tracker moves to level-pegging

Monday, April 24th, 2017

It did have Brexit “right” 4% ahead

Given the overwhelming importance of the Brexit negotiations in Mrs May’s stated reason for the early General Election then it is important to continue to follow how voters now view that decision last June.

The one regular tracking poll on this is the YouGov question featured above and as can be seen the split has been fairly stable since the first poll to take place shortly after Theresa May entered number 10 Downing Street.

Now this might all be down to margin of error come up and we need to see other surveys, but less than a week after the prime minister’s big announcement we find a move to remain so that the tracker is totally split 44% thinking Brexit was wrong 44% thinking Brexit was right.

Some of the cross tabs are interesting. Just on a third, 32%, of Conservative voters at the last general election are in the Brexit was wrong camp. That seems a very high proportion given the huge emphasis being put on this by Mrs May and other polling that has the voting intention figures moving sharply to the Tories.

Mike Smithson


Some Brexit special bets

Tuesday, April 11th, 2017

Paddy Power have some Brexit specials up, my initial view is that this is market is a good way of contributing to the Paddy Power Christmas bonus fund.

Whilst my inner Euro-Federalist might be tempted to back the UK to rejoin the EU at some time in the future, I’d need slightly longer odds but the biggest obstacle is that I don’t fancy tying my money up for maybe the next 33 years.

The 1/10 on the UK establishing a  trade deal with the EU on/before May 2019 doesn’t seem tempting either  when said deal is reliant on 27 other countries agreeing to it.

The stand out bet in my opinion is the 4/5 on Teresa May (sic) still being PM in 2020.. That’s an 80% return in around three years, and looks stupendous value in my opinion when you consider that SkyBet are offering 1/3 on Mrs May being PM after the next general election.



More of those who actually vote in local and general elections went for REMAIN not LEAVE

Monday, April 10th, 2017

Prof John Curtice

LEAVE won because of its success with the politically disengaged

It has become very common since the referendum to view all other elections through the prism of what happened on June 23rd last year. Thus parliamentary constituencies are divided into leave or remain depending on how they voted and this becomes the shorthand for describing a place.

We are told, for instance, that twice as many Labour MPs are in constituencies that voted leave than remain leading, I would suggest, to Mr Corbyn’s ambivalent attitude towards the result and to the process following on from that.

    When you dig deep into what polling data exists it is clear that the Brexit split in a particular area is far from a reliable guide to current political behaviour.

A major issue is that leave was highly successful in securing the support of those who are most politically disengaged. These are those who say they have no strong party identification and little or no interest at all in politics.

The table above, prepared by Professor John Curtice based on National Centre research, shows the split between what people did at the general election and what they did at the referendum based on the level of interest in politics and the strength of their party identification period. He writes:

“Those without much interest in politics and those who do not identify with a party were much more likely to have voted for Leave than those with an interest in politics and those with a strong party identity. No less than 64% of NatCen’s panellists with little or no interest in politics who voted in the referendum backed Leave, whereas amongst the remainder there was a small majority (53%) in favour of Remain. Similarly, as many as 72% of those who do not identify with a political party voted for Leave, whereas again, amongst the remainder of the sample Remain (52%) was slightly ahead..”

So the data suggests that those who vote in local/general elections are more likely to be remainers and, I’d suggest, that this is more pronounced with elections such as local ones and Westminster by-elections where turnout is markedly down on the general election.

Mike Smithson


In the local by-elections since last May the parties supported mostly by REMAINERs have performed best

Saturday, April 8th, 2017

Mike Smithson


Labour’s problems go well beyond Corbyn – it’s just that they’re not part of the main political conversation of the day

Wednesday, April 5th, 2017

There has been quite a lot of coverage of Jeremy Corbyn’s interview on ITV news in which he hit back after the interviewer raised questions about his leadership.

There’s some merit in his complaint. Labour is saying things about a wide range of issues at the moment but the problem is nobody’s wanting to listen. The reason is not just the leader but that the main political dialogue at the moment is on Brexit and here the main opposition party has struggled to have a definitive view.

There a good analysis of this in a commentary from the political analysts Ciceroelections.

“… the problem is that the Brexit issue is becoming so all-encompassing in how the media is covering politics that it is almost inevitable that Labour becomes somewhat marginalised. Other than seeking concessions on how the process will be scrutinised and setting out ‘tests’ against which Labour will judge the Brexit deal, there is no escaping the fact that negotiating Britain’s exit is a matter for government, not opposition. Meanwhile Labour’s stated desire to represent neither only the 52% nor the 48% but the 100% runs the distinct risk of seeming in fact to represent nobody.. “

This all comes only weeks before the May elections which can sometimes be a difficult period for party leaderships particularly those that are struggling.

The Lib Dem election analyst Mark Pack has noted that if Labour does suffer losses, as is being predicted, it will be the third consecutive year when the main opposition party has lost seats. This is totally unprecedented. Generally oppositions do well in local elections particularly when it is not a general election year.

If indeed this happens it will further raise questions about Mr Corbyn and he can expect more interviews like the one with ITV.

Meanwhile Mrs. May can continue without worrying about the opposition.

Mike Smithson


Richard Nabavi on the Brexit Blame Game

Monday, April 3rd, 2017

Now that the trigger has been pulled, the EU27 and the United Kingdom have begun the public posturing over the Brexit negotiations. So far this is not looking encouraging. Theresa May’s warm words about wanting a ”deep and special partnership between the UK and the EU” to include ”both economic and security cooperation” seem to have been, bizarrely, interpreted as a threat. The EU continues to insist that we have to settle the outline of the ‘exit deal’ before we can discuss what we are exiting to. They have thrown a hand-grenade into the negotiating process by appearing to want to blackmail us over Gibraltar.

As with many divorces, the parties start out claiming they want an amicable settlement, but as the specifics emerge, matters get less and less amicable. Often money becomes the focus of the bitterness, and the Brexit negotiations look well set to be no exception. The EU27 have done nothing to dampen down speculation that they are looking for an exit payment in the region of €60bn, which they claim is legally due. To make it worse, they are holding out for this to be agreed before we can even begin to discuss anything like a ‘deep and special partnership’ with the EU. So far the UK government has not risen to the bait; however, the House of Lords Brexit committee argued convincingly, in a recent report, that the UK has no legal obligation to pay anything at all.

Whatever the exact legal position, there is no possibility of the UK paying anything even remotely like €60bn, or even half that. It would be politically impossible to agree a sum which is several times what we pay each year as full members, no matter how it is dressed up or phased. Equally, though, the EU27 seem to have manoeuvred themselves into a negotiating position where they cannot do a deal which doesn’t involve a chunky exit payment. Amongst the diverse positions of the 27 EU countries, that is one thing which both net contributors and net recipients agree on. By making such a public show of it, they have made it politically very hard to draw back and agree a reasonable sum which the UK might be able to agree to. Although, logically, this shouldn’t be a major stumbling block, politically it has been set up to be so.

All this means that an acrimonious breakdown of the Brexit negotiations is quite possible, even likely, as the war of words causes attitudes to harden on both sides.

However, opposition parties rubbing their hands in glee at the prospect of a Brexit disaster being blamed by voters on Theresa May are badly misjudging how a breakdown of relations with the EU27 would play out in the UK. The PM has been consistent in wanting a good deal for both sides, but demands for a ludicrously high payment by the EU27, explicit mention by some EU politicians of wanting to ‘punish’ the UK, and above all a deliberate refusal to agree a mutually beneficial trade deal in time for the end of the two-year Article 50 period, would cause a polarisation of views in the UK – with most voters siding with the PM against what would look like egregious bullying by the EU. If voters are forced to choose between backing her as she stands up for plucky Britain against unreasonable demands, or seeming to side with vindictive EU bullies against Britain, she and the Conservatives will be the net political beneficiaries. The other parties (apart from the SNP) would be forced to support her, or risk looking unpatriotic. The question would simplify down to: whose side are you on?

A Brexit Breakdown would be a disaster for the UK, as well as for the EU27 – but in purely party-political terms it wouldn’t be a disaster for the Conservative Party.

Richard Nabavi