Archive for the 'BREXIT' Category


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


Who will speak for Millennials?

Monday, April 3rd, 2017

Young voters lack political representation says Keiran Pedley. So who is going to step up?

One of the topics discussed on the latest PB/Polling Matters podcast was the striking difference in views on Brexit by age.

This week saw the first political poll by my company (GfK) for 12 years. One of the questions we asked was whether Brits thought Brexit was the “right decision” or the “wrong decision”. The results can be found in the chart below.

Table 1: Brexit: Right decision / wrong decision (by age)

Our poll this week got most attention for the finding that showed Jeremy Corbyn’s approval rating as low as Donald Trump’s but in my opinion this chart is more important. What it shows is a huge difference in opinion on the future of the country by age. For example, 55% of those aged 18-24 think Brexit was the “wrong decision” whereas 59% of those aged 65 and above think it was the “right decision”.

Brexit is not the only issue that divides Brits by age. Younger Brits also seem to be much more negative about the economic prospects of the country too. Here are some numbers from the same poll looking at economic optimism overall and by age. Once again, the differences are striking.


Based on these numbers, it seems that if you are aged 55 and over you are reasonably confident about the economic future of the country and the country’s future more generally. For younger voters the story is very different. It isn’t hard to see why. With wage growth frustratingly weak, tuition fees and rents rising and the property ladder a distant dream for many in their 20s, there is little to be particular optimistic about for millennials post Brexit. Or at least, for many it will feel that way. That’s before we even touch what the retirement age for the average 25 year old is likely to be.

The question is will this frustration manifest itself politically or will it just breed more apathy?

It seems to me that there is an opportunity for a politician or political party to develop a platform for government based on the idea that younger voters have it tough and that needs to change. Many will dismiss this idea for the obvious reason that younger people are much less likely to vote than older people. This is true. But those younger people have parents and grandparents. Perhaps one way the centre-left can reinvigorate itself in Britain is to make inter-generational inequality the centrepiece of its revival, appealing to older voters that their children’s and grandchildren’s futures are at stake if action isn’t taken. It’ll take guts but it is worth a try. Plus, it is also the right thing to do.

So over to you Jeremy Corbyn and Labour. If the British left is going to go down in flames, it might as well do so fighting on behalf of a cause worth fighting for. Or if you won’t, maybe the Lib Dems will. Let’s wait and see.

Keiran Pedley

Keiran Pedley tweets about public opinion and politics at @keiranpedley and is the presenter of the ‘Polling Matters’ podcast. Listen to the latest episode on Brexit and Scotland below.



New poll finds increasing support for a second referendum with 66% of REMAIN voters now wanting one

Saturday, March 25th, 2017

But overall most of those sampled continue to be against

Keiran Pedley looks at new poll numbers from the Polling Matters / Opinium series ahead of the Prime Minister invoking Article 50 this week.

Listeners to this week’s (revamped) PB/Polling Matters podcast (see below) will know that we have a new survey out this week. Our most recent poll tracks public opinion on last year’s Brexit vote. In December, we asked a nationally representative sample of the British public whether they thought there should be another vote on EU membership once the terms of divorce are known and we asked the same question again last weekend.

In some ways the results offer something for everyone. At a headline level, a majority are opposed to another referendum, with exactly the same number in opposition now as were opposed in December (52%). This is primarily because Leave voters continue to be committed to the decision they made last year. However, there has been a 5 point increase in the overall number in favour of another vote. This appears to be driven by those that said ‘don’t know’ in December now saying that they support another referendum with Remainers particularly consolidating behind such a position.

Q. Once we know what terms the government has negotiated, should there be a second referendum on Britain’s membership of the EU, where voters can choose between leaving under the terms negotiated or remaining in the EU after all?

Now for a number of reasons we shouldn’t get too exercised by these findings. These results could be a one-off and there is little sign of consistent Brexit regret in opinion polls. Theresa May certainly has no interest in holding another referendum and the Labour Party is not calling for one (despite some 60% of their voters in favour). However, we should still keep an eye on these numbers. If this trend is real and continues then expect someone of signifance in the Labour Party to come out in support in the future. In any case, if the opinion of the Remain vote is hardening on this subject, the potential for that group of people being a significant organised political force in the longer term only grows.

Incidentally, a fascinating subplot in Britain’s political future will be how the opinion of Millennials evolves on this issue. 53% of 18-34s support another vote with just 34% opposing. Now this shouldn’t surprise given what we know about the composition of the Remain vote in 2016. The question is whether such attitudes will change as these voters get older or are they set in stone (as they are on certain cultural issues)? If they are, expect the issue of Britain’s position in Europe be a live one long beyond we have officially left the EU.

Article 50 brings sky-high expectations

Turning our attention to this week, our poll also asked how confident the British public is on the type of Brexit deal May and the government will deliver:

How confident are you that Theresa May and the British government will be able to negotiate a Brexit deal that is good for the UK?

49% Confident

41% Not confident

 10% Don’t know

Expectations here are split in ways you would expect that I won’t therefore dwell on e.g. Remain vs Leave, Labour vs Conservative, young vs old and so on. However, what is striking is the confidence of Leave voters. Some 72% are confident a ‘good deal’ can be delivered. Now what a ‘good deal’ tangibly means to them and whether May can meet those expectations is going to be critical for her political survival. Meanwhile, we should also pay attention to the one area of the UK with the lowest confidence in any Brexit deal. That is Scotland where 62% are pessimistic that a ‘good deal’ can be reached. Ominous signs.

Much is made of the apparent finality of the 2016 vote in terms of the European question. It may very well be so given the state of the Labour Party right now. But I can’t help but feel that things could change and change quickly should Brexit negotiations go badly. You need tunnel vision not to see that there is a path for a ‘second referendum’ becoming a major political issue. In any case, we are now approaching the ‘business end’ of Brexit. The time for words is nearly over. Now Theresa May has to deliver.

Keiran Pedley presents the PB/Polling Matters podcast (latest episode below) and tweets about politics and public opinion at @keiranpedley


Check out the latest podcast below:

Notes on the poll: Opinium surveyed a nationally representative sample of 2,003 GB adults online between 17-21 March, 2017. Tables will be available on their website in due course.


Growing in size Britain’s weirdest voting group: The Kippers who now think leaving the EU is wrong

Friday, March 24th, 2017

Over the last few months, as those who follow the site will know, I have been writing posts and tweets about the YouGov Brexit tracker which come which comes out two or three times a month. The actual question is “In hindsight do you think Britain was right or wrong to vote to leave the EU?”

The overall picture is that the gap between those who think the outcome was wrong has and those right has narrowed and for the last two surveys it has been level-pegging.

One of the features of this that always seems to get attention is the number of current UKIP supporters who declare that they think it is wrong in hindsight for Britain to have voted to leave the EU.

When this was just one or two percent it could be just put down to polling respondents clicking the wrong boxes as can happen with multi question online survey forms. In the most recent polling the UKIP numbers edged up and the this week’ YouGov polling has 7% of current UKIP supporters saying they believe it was wrong for Britain to vote LEAVE.

So I thought I would produce a chart showing how this is going and here it is at the top ofthe post. The numbers are, of course, small and this is measuring a subset with all the dangers that that entails but the fact that we see the pattern in the chart, I suggest, says something. I’m not quite sure what.

Mike Smithson