The discussion about a 2nd Referendum has been going strong since our last post on the topic, and on top of that a new poll this week saying the Remain option was now 12% points ahead in the polls. This is a big jump from a 52% Leave /48% Remain referendum, especially as the general polling data throughout last year showing not much has changed since that – oscillating around 50/50 has been the norm (bear in mind a 2% point error in both is quite likely at any point).
We are also somewhat sceptical of UK political polls in general, having watched them go very wrong in the (1st?) Brexit Referendum and the 2017 UK General Election, and we have found our own systems are somewhat more accurate (we got Brexit, the US and UK elections right when the polls did not).
So we thought we’d have a quick look over the last few months since we started tracking Brexit, and look at 2 fairly straightforward factors – the overall volumes around the discussion, and the sentiment around Leave and Remain, to see if anything had changed. We added in the same around a 2nd Referendum as a comparison. These are the volumes from mid November to mid January:
The drop in late December volumes was for everything, as the UK took its Christmas break, but as you can see the volume of the discussion for Leave and Remain have pretty much carried on tracking each other throughout the period. The main thing to note here is there is no real drawing away of either, they are tracking each other.
However, it may be that although volumes are fairly stable the tenor of the discussion has changed, so it’s worth looking at sentiment as well:
As you can see, apart from a big pro-Leave spike early on (mapping to the Referendum discussions) sentiment around Leave and Remain has stayed pretty steady over the period. The general pattern is again “no change”
In other words, on two fairly broad factors we cannot see that it has changed in any meaningful way since November, certainly not a 12% points swing. We did another 3 month track about this time last year, and another piece of analysis we will do in a later post is check “now vs then”.
Note 1: Necessary Caveat – Given the 12% swing poll was published 2 days ago it may be that there is some huge swing factor that we have as yet not picked up (and given the fairly momentous last week or so in politics this could potentially be the case). But as you can see from the graphs there are occasional spikes one way or the other so this equally well may be what they have picked up in the polling period.
Note 2: Also, in these febrile times, with any poll it is well worth looking at who is commissioning it, as oddly enough polls often tend to favour the views of the commissioning party…….