Wednesday 16 October 2019

No, they haven't

One of the top three headlines on the BBC News website this morning is Have UK voters changed their minds on Brexit? 

It's a piece by Sir John Curtice and, reading it, the answer he gives is 'No, they haven't':

...very few voters on either side of the argument have changed their minds about whether the UK should leave the EU. The country appears to be just as divided as it was three years ago. 
On average, during the last month, polls that ask people how they would vote in another referendum suggest that 88% of those who backed Remain would do so again. Among those who voted Leave, 86% have not changed their minds. 
These figures have changed very little during the last two years. 
True, most polls suggest - and have done so for some time - that the balance of opinion might be tilted narrowly in favour of remaining a member of the EU. On average, this is by 53% to 47%. 
However, this lead for Remain rests primarily on the views expressed by those who did not vote three years ago - and perhaps might not do so again. 
In truth, nobody can be sure what would happen if there were to be another referendum.

Very interestingly, the main question - 'Which of these scenarios do you favour the most? - results in the three 'Leave' options getting 46% and the 'Remain' option getting 34%.

Also intriguing is Sir John's finding that how you word the question in a poll really does influence the outcome (not that that's really a huge surprise):
When people are asked about a "public vote" they are more likely to show support for another ballot than when asked about a "referendum" on the UK's membership of the EU.
...which is why the BBC needs to be very careful about the language it uses - specially when it talks about a 'public/confirmatory vote' rather than 'another/a second referendum'.

It will be interesting to see how the BBC itself covers (or spins) these findings. 


  1. Bias by baseless question, a BBC website favourite!

    "Did Boris beat his girlfriend?"

  2. I can't see how you can ask the public about a "second referendum" without defining what the question will be on the ballot paper. If the choice - as the Remainiacs want it - is between "Remain" (even though no one knows what Remain might mean in the future, lol) and May's Abject Surrender deal, I would never vote and I hope Boris would advise every Leaver not to vote. Such a rigged rerun would have no meaning. If there were to be a "confirmatory" vote on Boris's deal, should he get one, well that would be acceptable if the question was "Do you accept the deal - yes or no?" Of course, then the Remainers would be up in arms and refuse to vote!

    BTW, I heard Mandelson on the radio this morning on being interviewed by Egregious Emma on Radio 5 Live. Whenever they wheel out Mandelson I think: things can't be going well for the Remainers. His appearances are few - because the public dislike him - but he is still one the best communicators in the business and I think he comes on to, as it were, marshal all the Remainiac elements in the media, business and politics behind whatever Blair has decided is the correct line (in this case it is seems to be "sabotage Boris's deal, come what may").

    1. Just heard Evan on PM inviting Alistair Burt to agree that Boris has "screwed over" the DUP. Even though the details of the deal aren't yet known to Evan or Alistair Burt. Yup they're trying to prevent a deal.

    2. Yes, it's the last desperate push of the Remaniacs: drive a wedge between the DUP and the Conservative government.

      My guess is there will be plenty of fig leaf foliage allowing the DUP to sign up to what will, after all, probably be quite a popular policy in Remain-voting Northern Ireland.

      In the meantime it's amusing seeing the Remainiacs claim concern about Northern Ireland staying an integral part of the UK! The EU never lifted a finger to help us during the troubles - in fact, quite the opposite. The EU clearly favours re-unification of the island of Ireland.

    3. I wonder what persuaded slightly more to vote 'remain' in NI and Scotland than 'leave'.

      I think it is a fair bet than some voted that way to avoid the nationalists in both places causing trouble.

      In England and Wales it was a two-way decision but in Scotland and NI there was the possibility of the nationality question needing to be addressed, i.e. there are four voter groups, In EU/In UK, In EU/Out UK, Out EU/In UK and Out EU/Out UK.

      That made it more similar to a General Election, do we vote for the party we like or the party that is most likely to beat the party that we don't like.

  3. In complement to #bbcquotes the technique of #bbcquestionasaheadline can be quite effective. Bent, but effective.

    And together, the confer total freedom from being held to account, which is just how the BBC likes it. Sources say.


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