There has been a lot of hype about the upcoming vote on Brexit with comparisons to the Scottish and even Quebec referendums. Logic being, they got shot down. So will Brexit. This is one reason bookies have said the odds are still favoring the Remain camp.
But the polls look very different than they did in the lead up to the Scottish referendum on independence in 2014, as well as the Quebec referendum on independence in 1995.
One of the substantial differences is that Brexit is not only ahead in the polls, but even polling over 50%. The Ipsos MORI poll released June 16th shows 53 percent of Britons back Brexit.
This is almost a 20 point swing in favor of Brexit since last month. Clearly the momentum is for Brexit. More importantly, it is one of three polls showing Brexit at 50% or above.
Brexit Referendum pollingThe bookies have stated that the undecided voters will more often vote for the status quo. (Of course the counter argument is that the undecided aren’t as motivated to vote.)
What is important to note in the last week, is not just the number of polls that have shown Brexit ahead, but that there have been three polls that have put the Brexit camp at 50% or above. The other two polls were the ORB poll, June 8-9 with a sample size of more than 2,000 putting Brexit at 55%, and ICM poll, June 10 - 13, putting Brexit at 50%.
This is very different from polling leading up to the Scottish and Quebec referendums.
Scottish referendum pollingScottish referendum polling never showed Yes reaching 50%. Polling leading up to the referendum hovered between 41 and 49% with most polls within two points of the final 44.7%. The No camp was always ahead, and the majority of the undecided voters did opt to vote the status quo, pushing the final tally for No to 55.3%.
As much drive spirit as the Scottish nationalists showed, they never once hit 50%.
Quebec referendum pollingQuebec was a much closer result, but polling in Quebec leading up to the referendum for independence on the 30th of October 1995 had some similarities to the Scottish referendum.
The final count for Yes was 49.42%, outperforming the poll predictions. In the month leading up to the referendum, polls for Yes wavered between 39 and 48%. Also, a larger percentage of the undecided voters broke for No.
Again, what’s essential to note here is that no polling companies ever put Yes above 50%.
In a nutshellBrexit is not just leading in the polls (it is), not just gaining moment in the polls (it is), but polling above 50%. Not time to break out the Champagne, but there is a lot of room for optimism about the results.
The referendum on EU membership will take place on 23 June 2016.