With an eleven-point lead for Remain, when we include those who are leaning one way or the other, and excluding those who are undecided, BMG’s latest poll for the Independent shows the largest Remain lead in any of BMG’s monthly tracking polls conducted since the Referendum in June 2016.
Including those who say they are undecided, BMG’s latest poll for the Independent puts Remain on 51%, Leave on 41% and those who are undecided on 7% (1% preferred not to give a response).
Although it is important for readers to note that the results of any single poll should be treated with caution, particularly when there is no realistic prospect of an election/referendum in the immediate future, it is also worth examining the long-term trend since the EU Referendum took place in 2016. This time last year BMG had Leave polling some 3 points ahead, and the last time BMG has polled Leave ahead of Remain was in February 2017. Since then there appears to have been a slow but consistent shift in top-line public opinion towards remaining in the EU.
It is also worth noting that the fieldwork for this poll was conducted when much was being made in the public press about the UK’s failure to progress to the next stage of the Brexit negotiations. It is plausible therefore, that the latest polling is to some degree a reflection of what could be considered the height of tensions between the UK and EU negotiating teams, as well as public concerns over the Irish border, which included interventions from the Irish government and the DUP.
However, readers should also be aware that when we dig a little deeper into the data, it reveals that this shift has come predominantly from those who did not actually vote in the 2016 Referendum. Around nine in ten Leave and Remain voters say they are still unchanged in their view on whether to leave or remain.
BMG’s polling suggests that a year ago, those who did not vote in the referendum were broadly split, whereas today’s polling now consistently shows those who stayed at home in 2016 are overwhelmingly in favour of remaining in the EU, with the latest poll putting it at a margin of more than four to one (81% Remain / 19% Leave – excl. DKs).
[ADDED 18/12/17] – Readers should note that this poll does not mean that the British public think that the decision to leave the EU should be reversed. Nor does it indicate strong support for another referendum. In fact polling shows that there is very little support for having a second referendum (click here for results).
An accurate methodology
This poll shares the same methodology as BMG’s pre-Referendum polling, which consistently reported Leave ahead in the run-up to the EU referendum in 2016, and also called the correct outcome.
This approach now has the added benefit of an additional weighting variable; i.e. how respondents voted, if at all, at the EU Referendum in 2016. This is the only major change to our approach since. Although, at the time BMG favoured it’s telephone poll, having published the phone and online polls simultaneously, which can be found here (see table 9 on page 89), BMG has continued to favour the online methodology since the referendum in order to ensure that the results are both accurate and comparable with an approach that accurately called the final result.
SOURCE NOTE: BMG Research interviewed a representative sample of 1,509 adults living in Great Britain between 5th and 8th December. Data are weighted. BMG are members of the British Polling Council and abide by their rules.
An article by The Independent on this poll, can be found here.
Methodology, fieldwork dates, and a full breakdown of these results can be found here.
For a more detailed breakdown of results from this poll, or any other results from our polling series, please get in touch by email or phone.
0121 333 6006
Dr Michael Turner – Head of Polling – BMG Research