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Brexit poll of polls: this is current state of play

Brexit poll of polls: this is current state of play
PoliticsPolitics3 min read

A university professor has averaged all the Brexit polls and has found that in spite of the occasional outlying poll, there is consistently more public support for remaining in the EU that there is for leaving it.

Here is how the poll of polls put together by Professor John Curtice, a political scientist at the University of Strathclyde works. Every time a new poll comes out from a polling company, the poll of polls adds the result to the previous five polls it has on record - then takes an average. So in effect, each data point on the poll of polls chart below in an average of the six most recent EU referendum polls.

Take a look, Remain is blue and Leave is green.

Over the past six months, there have been regular fluctuations between support for remaining in and leaving the EU, but support for leaving has never managed to surpass support for remaining.

Here's the chart again, this time with the size of the largest gaps between the two sides marked on. The reason that the gap remains at 10% over the Christmas and New Year period is that there weren't any polls over that period. Over the past six months there have been regular periods of increasing Remain support coinciding with decreasing Leave support, but the gap between the two never goes over 10% and always narrows again.

This shows that there is no real evidence of the polls narrowing - and no evidence that support for leaving the EU is about to overtake support for remaining in the bloc.

But, this does not necessarily reflect a sure victory for the "Remain" camp. As useful at the poll of polls is, it is missing one key ingredient - voting intention.

The polls aren't moving in the Leave campaign's direction, but also are not moving the other way. This shows that whichever side wins the referendum, will be the one that can motivate its supporters to actually vote.

Major polling companies such as ComRes, YouGov and BMG haven't asked people how likely they are to actually vote; others such as ICM, ORB and Ipsos MORI are asking the question, but not taking it into account when they publish their estimates for Leave and Remain support.

However, according to the data these polling companies are collecting on voting intention, Leave supporters always say that they are more likely to vote. An ORB poll last month found 7% more Leave supporter were certain they would vote than Remain supporters. Taking this into account, as well as the poll of polls chart, it seems that getting their supporters out to vote is Leave's only chance of winning.

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