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How I feel about this morning’s polls

“It’s not the despair, Laura. I can stand the despair. It’s the hope.”

– said by John Cleese playing stressed headmaster Brian Stimpson trying to get to an important conference while the fates conspire against him in the film Clockwise.

This morning’s Guardian reports, “poll leads and Sun backing for Brexit prompt Remain ‘panic'”. However polls in referenda tend to overstate the vote for change and there often is a late surge for the status quo.

With nine days to go, which way do you think the referendum will go?

59 comments to How I feel about this morning’s polls

  • Perry de Havilland

    I think OUT will win, but frankly (or even Anglo-Saxonly) it might be wishful thinking. I can hardly believe ‘they’ will allow that to happen but that said, many momentous world events have turned on miscalculation.

  • CaptDMO

    (US) Don’t care how the referendum will go. Not my monkeys, not my circus. I’d be interested in who’s counting the ballots, and subsequent “inexplicable wealth”, or other “unusual circumstances” befalling those involved.

  • Bob Grahame

    CaptDMO: Local authority (council) staff check and count the ballots cast in each area. Representatives of the main Remain and Leave campaigns are allowed to observe the process. I’ll be one of several observers from the Leave side for my local count in south London. It is pretty hard to game the main ballot in the UK. Postal votes, on the other hand…. Still counted the same way, but far easier to fiddle (see http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/politics/local-elections/11580951/Fresh-voting-fraud-in-scandal-hit-borough-of-Tower-Hamlets.html). That said, so far I’ve not come across any sniff of that sort of thing in the run up to this vote; the motivation for fiddling is usually local power grabbing, and there is none of that to be had in a referendum. I also put a bet on the outcome at the bookies, so any wealth coming this way will be quite explicable (if minor). 🙂

  • Mr Ed

    But would any of those involved in ballot-fiddling insist on credit being given where due?

    This ballot is part-funded by a European Development Fund’.

  • Tom

    I am blinded by hope and my contacts in the Labour North where Remain voters are rarer than unicorns. I have to keep reminding myself of what a neighbour said in a pub the night Margaret Thatcher won her first election “How can she have won? I’ve never even met a ****ing Tory” The boot may be on the other foot this time. I will dare to beLeave when the bookies do. They are analysing this more coldly than I can and are still betting on Remain.

  • That is exactly how I see it, Tom

  • William H. Stoddard

    I just don’t know. Politics in our age is getting too unpredictable. I wish you guys in the UK well and so I hope to see you go for Brexit.

  • Thailover

    Poll are often used as tools for liars, so…

  • Lee Moore

    My advice to Natalie would be to go straight out and put five grand on REMAIN.

    If REMAIN wins it’ll soften the blow. If LEAVE wins you won’t even notice the hole in your pocket.

  • Paul Marks

    Notice the that BBC (and so on) keeps trotting out “experts” telling us that the opinion polls should not be trusted.

    I suspect the ground is being prepared for the rigging of the vote results.

    And when people say “how could there be a Remain vote when the polls said that Leave would win by a big margin?”

    The establishment will simply reply “we told you the polls could not be trusted – and if you question the result you are a paranoid conspiracy theorist”.

  • nemesis

    @ Bob Grahame “It is pretty hard to game the main ballot in the UK.” I can think of two instances recently. EU nationals not entitled to vote have been sent and returned voting papers. Some councils have sent out voting instructions with a handy little printed guide showing a pen hovering over the ‘remain’ box. – subtle eh?
    Oh, and reopening voter registration for 24hrs after the site crashed for only 2… Just to garner up a few younger remain types…allegedly.

  • Natalie Solent (Essex)

    Lee Moore writes, “My advice to Natalie would be to go straight out and put five grand on REMAIN.”

    This reminds me of one of my favourite anecdotes. As quoted in my battered paper 1980 edition of the Penguin Dictionary of Modern Quotations, it goes like this:


    [When asked at a science-fiction convention ‘What is the best advice you have ever been given?’]
    On my twenty-first birthday my father said, ‘Son, here’s a million dollars. Don’t lose it.’ [Attr.]

    Lee, I think you have given me good advice. But I can think of a way in which you can make it even better!

  • Ian Bennett

    I am blinded by hope and my contacts in the Labour North where Remain voters are rarer than unicorns.

    Most of my friends and acquaintances here in the Labour North are firmly in the Remain camp; the more to the left they are, the more firmly they are in that camp.

  • PeterT

    Despite the relatively catastrophic Remain campaign, and the nearly but not quite as catastrophic Leave campaign, I believe ‘in’ will win. I desperately hope that my internal pessimist will be disappointed.

    One thing could be a game changer. Recent research on eureferendum.com has found a ‘Lichtenstein option’, which would allow us to (legally) combine access to the single market (which I know many of you don’t think we need; but you are wrong) with a points based immigration system. If Leave were to release this bomb just as the Remain campaign are somewhere in mid-air above a shark, that could change matters.

    Not much time left of course; the Sun has already declared for Leave, and other papers due to follow in the next few days, I imagine (biggest question mark is over what the Telegraph would do; it’s fairly obvious what the other papers will do; I expect the only capitalist paper, CityAM, will not declare.)

    However, even if Remain win there is a silver lining. At this stage it seems very unlikely that Cameron will get the kind of result he needs in order to survive as Prime Minister and Tory party leader. At the bare minimum he needs 55% to vote in, of BOTH party membership AND the electorate at large. A more plausible result would be 52% vote IN of electorate at large, and 60% of party members vote OUT. It’s Tory civil war time; bring the popcorn.

  • PeterT

    The boot may be on the other foot this time

    Equally, I am the only ‘Leaver’ in London that I have come across. Hopefully the rest are even more quiet than I am.

  • Equally, I am the only ‘Leaver’ in London that I have come across. Hopefully the rest are even more quiet than I am.

    Almost all the Londoners I know are voting LEAVE, but then that probably says more about the circles I move in rather than saying much about what the “man-in-the-street” in London actually thinks. For what it is worth, most of the graffiti in Notting Hill urges “LEAVE” 😀

  • PeterT

    Most of my friends and acquaintances here in the Labour North are firmly in the Remain camp; the more to the left they are, the more firmly they are in that camp.

    Might I hazard a guess that these are middle class types to a large degree? If so it also seems likely that they are in the public sector. In that case I don’t think anybody is surprised. If they are all self employed builders then I suppose we might be in trouble.

  • Rob Fisher

    I am one of two Leavers in the office (that I know of). I just got told by a colleague that I am “destroying our country”. :rolleyes: They’re nervous.

  • Johnathan Pearce

    In the banking and wealth management market in which I work, nearly all people I speak to want Remain, but that isn’t a particularly wide segment of the population. A Corbynite Labour voter I know is Remain, and I suspect some on the Left want to stay in because they think it is easier, as Maggie once said, to get socialism from Brussels than via a democratic, national source.

    The Remain tactic of scaring people hasn’t worked, partly I suspect because if you are trying to say why it is worth giving up democratic accountability in exchange for some great economic prize, as well as “stability”, you need to convincingly make the case and do so with a positive angle. Remainers haven’t done this, because their case isn’t strong enough.

    Even if we get a Leave vote, there will be an incredible amount of negotiating tactics and skullduggery ahead. But one potential prize could be that George Osborne is toast as a future Tory leader.

  • The EU court actually ruled in the UK’s favour this morning: ‘some’ EU migrants can go on being denied some child benefits. Such ‘UK can go on doing its own thing’ rulings are normally as common as those unicorns that Tom (June 14, 2016 at 11:35 am) mentions. “The ruling was welcomed by the government and EU Remain campaigners.” (BBC) – who were of course taken utterly by surprise that the EU court would find something to agree with us about just at this time.

    I’d say the panic is not confined to Britain. I think this is a very recent change. Only days ago, the arrogant “shut up, the Eurocrat explained” tone seemed as strong as ever.

  • Cal

    In the chattering class/Uni/public sector circles that I know of the people are 99.99% Remain, and fanatically so. People who have shown not the slightest interest in the EU for decades have suddenly become raving EUrophiles, because they sense trouble ahead for their ideology and lifestyle. The future they have previously envisaged is one where they gradually assume more and more unaccountable power. A Leave vote would disrupt that.

    But if you get away from those circles then Leave is doing much better.

  • Bob Grahame

    I’ve been out canvassing quite a bit lately, and there are big hyper-local variations. I’ve done parallel roads in Tory areas and got 90% one way in the first, and 90% the other way in the other road. I’ve done next-door estate blocks in a 75% Lab GE vote ward, and seen the same. Overall more Leave than Remain around here though. The only clear pattern visible is between London postcodes (more Remain) and Surrey postcodes (more Leave), the boundary of which roughly bisects my borough. Note that we’re talking Surrey-the-postcode here, not Surrey-the-posh-county :-).

  • Mr Ed

    It’s a bit like the Golgafrincham ships in the Hitchhikers’ Guide.

    An entire useless* third of the population is gathered up all in the same Remain boat, or Ark: University staff, lawyers, civil servants, quangocrats, Public Sector managers, media types, professional Lefties and the ‘managerial elite’ are all lined with Remain, it seems along with daft or evil students/graduates hoping to follow the aforementioned onto the gravy train. And they all pretend to fear us dying from a disease caught from a dirty telephone.

    *here in the sense that without the State, much diminished.

  • Natalie Solent (Essex)

    Niall Kilmartin, yes I’ve little doubt that the court would have been instructed not to be unhelpful with its verdict at this particular time. On the other hand, it may also bring to people’s attention that, as Iain Duncan Smith said, “this case and others like it are proof positive that the unelected European court of justice is now supreme above our elected parliament.”

  • Mr Ed

    A new horror from Europe, poised to strike after the Referendum.

    Scientists have learned that cabbage and cauliflower crops could potentially be “devastated” by a species of moth arriving from continental Europe.
    BBC News understands that tens of millions of diamondback moths are thought to have come to the UK in the past week.
    This is 100 times the number that arrive in the entire year.

    The Twitter feed @migrantmothUK reported a two mile cloud of moths on Saturday night near Leominster. One subscriber to the feed reported that it was like “driving through rain”.

    Steve Nash, who administers the feed, said much worse was yet to come.
    “Once the progeny of this influx arrives in mid-July, numbers could be biblical,” he said.
    Dr Steve Foster, who works at Rothamsted Research described how they devastate crops.
    “There are swarms of them, a bit like plagues of locusts – there are so many of them that they seem like a brown cloud.”

    So perhaps these moths are ‘Remain’ voters? 🙂

  • Andrew Douglas

    Canvassing on the South Coast last week, I was told to ‘bet my way shirt’ on a Remain win, with a prediction of 65/35. The prediction was made by a university ‘professor of politics’. That, together with Gordon Brown taking a leading role in the Remain campaign have cheered me up no end.

    Leave to win…

  • Mary Contrary


    For what it is worth, most of the graffiti in Notting Hill urges “LEAVE”

    And there was me thinking you had more respect for private property, Perry 😉

    On a more serious note, even if we win, the exit negotiations will still be handled by Foreign Office diplomats, the group of people most fundamentally opposed to Brexit in the entire country. They can be counted on to negotiate terms that would make put the Treaty of Versailles to shame. Then we’ll be told to vote again, now we know what horrors lie in store.

    I’m not expecting a Brexit win, and if we get one I’m still not expecting an actual Brexit. But, but, oh the tantalising hope!

    Emotionally speaking, Natalie nails it.

  • The IT team (support desk types and the odd developer) in the bank I now work in are ALL Leavers. This is somewhat at odds with JP. My lot are also 50% immigrants, which I found interesting. What is more interesting is that they cite immigration as the reason. It makes me sad that immigration is a popular reason but it may prove fortunate. Of course, it may also prove off-putting.

    An Italian programmer – a somewhat entrepreneurial guy – described being impressed by one interview in which he identified with arguments about crowded trains etc etc. I reckon that was Farage. I know other IT people in the building that are Remainers.

  • Sam Duncan

    It’ll be leave, there’ll be six months of bloviating about “understanding” the “real reasons” people voted the way they did, and after the next Council Cameron will present another “deal”, probably involving some minor tweaks to immigration (that’ll come out as one of those “real reasons”), then it’ll be back to Construction as usual. There may be another referendum on the “deal” if it looks like we’ve twigged.

    If I were a betting man, I’d put money on it.

  • llamas

    My mother and my elder brother, both UK residents who are non-UK EU citizens, have both received postal voting materials related to the referendum – something that has never happened in any prior election.

    A more-cynical person than I would suspect that their likelihood to vote ‘Remain’ (being citizens of a nation which has strongly-supported the ‘Remain’ position and suggested TEOTWAWKI should the UK leave) might have something to do with it. But I’m sure that it’s entirely coincidental, and it’s just an honest mistake of the kind that happens all the time in even the best-run elections.




  • PeterT

    I had the same thought Mary. Maybe this is hippocrasy 🙂

  • IT workers are used to being bossed around by the useless and overpaid so they should be natural leavers

  • Greytop

    Of a dozen people I know eligible to vote (or at least interested in putting their mark on the paper) the overwhelming majority are voting Leave. That very much includes me.

    However… although projecting this tiny poll forward into the greater world, I still am not sure we will be permitted to leave. It wouldn’t surprise me to see that some doubts will surface and we will have to do it all again on the basis the result was somehow unclear. This should erode enthusiasm for Leave and thus many Leavers will surrender quietly to what they see as the inevitable. As Cameron and Corbyn are utterly opposed to Britain being free, they aren’t going to resist a re-run of the show, especially as it is public money they are spending on the whole shebang.

    We have joined a club in which there are really no exit doors, and as the EU desperately needs our money I’m pretty sure they won’t let us go.

  • Alex

    I work in IT but I overheard, and did not participate in, a recent discussion among some temporary colleagues (I’m a contractor) was strongly Remain. I will be voting Leave, though as a former UKIP member I’d hardly be likely to do otherwise. I hope for a Leave win, not that it will change anything, but I expect a Remain win, ditto. All that remains to be seen is their margin of victory. I hope I’m wrong.

  • Bruce Hoult

    As one of Her Majesty’s loyal non-UK subjects, I’d like to stop seeing our cousins back “Home” (well, the home of half of my great-grandparents) getting shafted by the French and Germans.

    I am also simply always and everywhere in favour of as much as possible of the governing being done at as local a level as possible. You should know the people who rule you, meet them by accident in the supermarket from time to time (this implies that they do their own shopping).

    By the way, I don’t find it at all ironic that skilled immigrants would be in favour of more managed immigration. They’d get in anyway.

  • Cal

    The powers-that-be will obviously do their best to scupper things if Leave wins the vote. But still, it will throw a huge spanner in the works.

    Re-running the referendum won’t wash here. The people won’t stand for it. But… PM Cameron or PM Johnson or whoever might try to get us to then vote on an amended deal with the EU as a result of a Leave vote. This needs to be strongly resisted.

  • Julie near Chicago

    Perry, initial comment: It’s reassuring to see spoor indicating a mind as undisciplined as mine. Thanks for the quiet *g* of appreciation.

  • Cal

    There’s an article up now in The Telegraph where Jeremy Warner says we should vote Remain. But it’s another one of those arguments where the writer admits that the EU is a terrible disaster area, and the only reason he thinks we should stay is that for all we know things might be worse once we’re out of it.

  • Phil B

    Stepping back from the arguments and talking heads, I have noticed a reasonably consistent indicator. If the result (of whatever – c.f. the Conservative win in the last election, Scottish referendum etc.) is going against the vested interests of the Left wing types, then the left media (such as the BBC) will announce that the result is “Too close to call”. This is being announced consistently as too close to call so I would suspect that it would probably result in a leave vote.

    IF it is restricted to BRITISH people only, then it will be “Out” HOWEVER:

    1) There are too many Europeans in the country that will vote stay to benefit them – e.g. Poles that claim family Allowance and tax Credits etc. for their children in Poland. Verifying the numbers of children is problematical, to say the least and a few extra kids will make no difference, eh?

    2) Way too many illegal immigrants that want their families to join them. Who are entitled to vote too.

    3) Postal fraud among our “Suntanned English Bretheren”. The Police and authorities KNOW about the fraud but do nowt about it.

    4) The scare tactics and the might of the Government behind the campaign is likely to scare the less intelligent and/or intellectually lazy.

    So, I dunno. The non English people with a vested interest in remaining might tip the scales … then Britain will be truly screwed.

    IF the result is “leave”then I wouldn’t trust the pillocks in charge to negotiate a disastrous alimony settlement once the marriage is dissolved.

  • bobby b

    (U.S.A.) Most people I speak to over here don’t understand why you wouldn’t leave.

    In our history, the separate states decided to band together to form one overarching nation. This worked out well, as the nation was just being settled and populated, and the ability of a federal government to accomplish needed things across states boundaries – across the entire nation – made progress possible that would have never occurred had it depended upon all of the separate states agreeing on things.

    But now that we’re all settled in and built out and populated, many of our states are pushing for less fedgov interference, for autonomy, for the ability to structure laws and mores in a way that reflects the desires of the populations who have decided to live together in those individual states.

    At our point of development, we need a fedgov to handle our national defense, and maybe our interstate transport systems, but many of us would rather see education decisions, welfare decisions – basic governance decisions – made more locally. Political philosophies differ across the regions, and we see no reason why we in the interior need to follow the will of the densely-populated coasts.

    In your case, your countries are all well-settled. There are no huge infrastructure needs that require a central authority to accomplish. You’re built out.

    All that a central authority does for you is, it removes governance authority further and further away from your own desires, and leaves you less and less power.

    It also allows for a much bigger purse for the funding of everything near and dear to the political/academic/bureaucratic class. It takes longer to “run out of other people’s money” when you expand the “other people” class.

    Finally, as one of the wealthier countries in the EU, you can predict that membership just means more and more resources moving from your country to less well-off countries. If I lived in one of the poorer EU communities, I’d definitely stay. I can’t see why you would, though.

  • Nicholas (Unlicensed Joker!) Gray

    The betting seems to be on Remain winning. However, the markets are nervous. And will Scotland want another referendum if you leave? Will Ireland want some border treaties?

  • Julie near Chicago

    bobby b,

    “We in the interior”? How interior is that? Are we next-door neighbors, or are we separated by a thousand miles?

    As will not surprise you, I am pro-Brexit myself, and I was planning to vote Leave on the 23rd until some Britisher told me that Americans aren’t allowed to vote on it (except, I take it, by post — cf. llamas above).

    . . .

    Has anyone done polling in districts populated by people less well-off — lower-middle-class and on down? I’m wondering whether there’s any more agreement, whether for or against, among them. Or does it depend quite a bit on what neck of the woods they’re in?

    Just curious.

    (And not entirely convinced that polling presents us in all cases with the absolute Last Word of Ralph the Head of Lettuce.)

  • bobby b


    About 400 miles. Outer west suburb of Minneapolis. Guess I’d be Bobby near Minneapolis. We can’t vote ‘cuz we already voted “Leave” some 240 years ago.

  • Pat

    In the Sottish referendum there was an emotional case to be made for the union (although the campaign made scarce use of it) as well as for independence. Hence the status quo held- I doubt the Scottish version of project fear had much effect, the Scots are better than that.
    In this referendum there is an emotional case for leave, but none for remain. Those who are of British stock, those who came from the old commonwealth will have an emotional attachment to the Country. For them an independent Britain is the status quo.
    From what I’ve seen the leavers in general really want to leave, the remainers generally want to signal their social status. Also the leavers are for the most part more determined.
    I think remain will have a problem getting their vote out.

  • I had the same thought Mary. Maybe this is hippocrasy

    To which I would have to reply…


  • PeterT

    Stood next to a group of leavers on the commute into London today. Then I sneaked a peak at somebody’s (else’s) email they were writing on their phone. I only saw the top line: ‘my reasons for voting leave…’. Usual middle aged white people of course. Still, cheered me up no end.

  • Although I agree with Pat (June 15, 2016 at 8:05 am) that the Scottish version of project fear did not have that much effect, even more Scots than voted ‘no’ are now aware that it was founded in fact. The GERS figures came out almost exactly on “independence day” (March 24th it would have been) and revealed what nonsense the SNP’s projections were. In 2014, they were believed in by those who had an emotional need to believe; since then, fate has not been kind to them.

    By contrast, the EUrendum’s ‘project fear’ has many an obvious absurdity and exaggeration, and outside the chattering classes, few feel an emotional need to believe. So it may be achieving even less now than its equivalent in 2014. It also has the problem that Scotland last “walked alone” in 1707 (and was bankrupt back then) whereas the UK walked alone in living memory, and was not bankrupt, and the PIIGS we’re urged to stay with are bankrupt now. Project fear has impact, but struggles against lesser reality and more recent memory.

    It seems clear that Sturgeon does not want a referendum now; a Brexit vote would be a huge embarrassment for her, caught between the rock of telling her more fanatical supports that indy’s best for us “but not just now” and the hard place of going back on her own manifesto, pretending to ask, being justly denied and then chickening (or the certain loss of a transparently fake vote).

    The last poll I saw indicated that a third of the SNP’s own supporters planned to vote Leave, some from logic and self respect (the party’s leaders may say “we should not leave a union that benefits and protects us” with a straight face, but not all their supporters can look themselves in the mirror and say that) and some as a response to being told that leaving will increase the odds of indy. As against that, while wise British Scots will vote leave to minimise any distance between the vote here and elsewhere, some will be as confused in their way as the second group of natz are in theirs, and so will vote remain through genuine misunderstanding of how best to support the UK. I am doing my bit to clarify things up here, but who knows how the local vote will go.

  • Julie near Chicago


    Ah yes, I remember now. You do have a point there. :>)

    However, I still feel some attachment to the dear old Mother Country (which I would very much like to visit some day), and as one of her offspring I feel it is VERY UNFAIR that I should be denied the vote. *pouts*

    . . .

    Minneapolis? Gosh, you’re next-door-but-one. We can have a meet-up in Eau Claire. Beautiful country. :>)

  • Alisa

    As an outsider (who nonetheless hopes that you guys will be allowed to leave, and so may be prone to wishful thinking), my impression is that at least some of Remain supporters would hold that position due to mere inertia – the type of people who tend to support the status quo, no matter what the actual status might be. The Leave supporters seem to be the more proactive types due to the very nature of their position – ‘leave’ requiring an action, while ‘remain’ inherently being much more passive.

  • staghounds

    I bet L15,000 on remain, because people en masse are stupid, lazy, and afraid of change.

    I hope I lose. If I don’t, I’ll spend it on hunting in England.

  • Andrew Duffin

    Six months ago, I expected 65/35 in favour of Remain.

    Now, since the rampant absurdities spouted by Cameron and his pals, I expect it to be much closer: who could possibly take them seriously? People are bound to vote Leave just to spite them.

    I think in fact Leave might just edge it now, particularly if Project Fear continues into orbit.

    Whatever, it won’t change anything: http://mesynon.blogspot.co.uk/2016/06/how-cameron-and-commons-will-overturn.html

  • John Galt III


    Exactly as I posted above. Parliament must pass this and they don’t have the votes to leave – will never happen, but I predict if it does not there will be a Trump/Tea Party movement in Britain and the Tories as presently constituted are done. That is assuming there are still millions of Brits who are not eloi like Labor and virtually all of Scotland.

  • but I predict if it does not there will be a Trump/Tea Party movement in Britain and the Tories as presently constituted are done.

    Correct… and it is called UKIP Revitalised. And that is actually an okay outcome, as the Tory party as currently configured needs to die in a fire, as it is run by Quislings, and that needs to happen whilst Labour is weak as fuck (i.e right now).

  • RAB

    I hope for a leave vote, but like others here I suspect the vote will be rigged, especially via postal voting, a la Austria. Too many vested interests among the ruling elites to lose all that lovely money that the UK stumps up and never gets back.

    But whatever the outcome things will never be the same again in these Isles. The Remain lies have been so great and ludicrous that the distrust of our so called leaders has now become entrenched, that they will never be believed again. Cameron will go soon, Osborne will never ascend to leader, Corbyn will be about as welcome as a fart in a spacesuit given his “Leadership” over this momentous issue of National Sovereignty. Either way, I am optimistic that the scales have fallen from so many peoples eyes as to what sort of double dipped shits have chosen themselves to lead us.

  • jsallison

    No dog in this hunt but Old Blighty going it’s own way and damn the continental socialists somehow pleases me. Methinks Winnie would be proud. On the 200th anniversary of the war of 1812 I emailed the UK embassy in DC, congratulated on a job well done (the sacking of DC, as represented on their cake) and asked if we could have Winnie’s bust back. Still no answer.

  • jsallison

    I will stare morbidly at a nearby bottle of vermouth whilst pouring gin over olives in his memory. 😉