Wednesday 1 June 2016

ICM polls put Leave 3 points ahead

Two ICM polls published yesterday put Leave three points ahead of Remain.

What is encouraging is that one of the polls is telephone only whilst the other is online only. Telephone and online polls often produce wildly different results but to get the same result from both suggests consistent polling.

The poll results are great news but a three point lead isn't enough to win the referendum. People who are undecided are more likely to go for what they see as the status quo. We know that voting to remain isn't a vote for the status quo but a vote for the relentless march towards federalisation but most people won't understand this. Many "soft" leave voters - those who are inclined to vote to leave but aren't really convinced - will also switch to what they perceive to be the safe option on the day. Again, we know that the safe option is to leave but most people won't understand this.

The time to start ordering in the champagne is when Leave is polling consistently 8 or more points ahead of Remain. That doesn't mean it's in the bag, it means we're in front when you take all the above into account. The way we're going to get there at this late stage is not by trying to turn strong remain voters but by firming up soft leave voters and educating the undecided voters. You can spend half an hour talking to a remainiac and convince them that leave is the right choice but there's a strong possibility they'll be swung back the other way by the end of the day and even if they aren't they're only ever going to be a soft leave voter. You could have talked to 5 or 6 undecided voters and convinced them to leave in that time. Everyone likes a challenge but that one converted remainiac isn't going to win the referendum

Any poll that shows Leave ahead is encouraging but don't let it make you complacent, we need to work hard to increase that lead and make it stick!