As a politics graduate and a survey research professional I’m doubly excited ahead of Thursday’s EU Referendum vote, and the prospect of another very late night trying not to fall asleep in front of the telly.
Despite knowing better than to make predictions… I think it will be INCREDIBLY close and that “Leave” may just snatch it.
Even though the pollsters didn’t manage to predict the 2015 General Election correctly, poll results have still dominated media reports in the run-up to this referendum. Since the British Polling Council completed their post-mortem anyone interested has been treated to many a competing theory about the various biases, and their relative strength, across methodologies and sampling approaches.
Here are some pointers for OUT prevailing…
- When ‘Don’t Know’ and ‘Not prepared to say’ are omitted either from the answer options (surely a mistake) or from analysis, “Leave” shows as ahead. In the General Election, when these people (and their close cousins, survey non-responders) turned up to vote on the day they turned out to be mostly Conservatives. Although the polls try to weight for the uncertainty, it is mostly art over science. Which way you foresee these people voting in the EU Referendum is a big factor.
- Telephone surveys regularly place “Remain” ahead, because when pressed for an answer or for time people seek a stock reply: the most available of which is the status-quo.
- Online surveys are methodologically more akin to the process of actually voting than telephone surveys, and their poll-of-polls suggests a 50/50 split.
There are counter observations in favour of the “Remain” vote of course. One of the strongest is that younger voters – who tend to prefer IN – will vote on Thursday in greater numbers than they did on General Election day (perhaps because this referendum seems to them to have a potentially much greater impact on their future, or perhaps because the choice we’re being asked to make this time feels like one they actually want to make – in a way that voting for a political party just doesn’t).
So much fun to speculate – who knows what will happen. Personally, I’ve decided to vote one way, but also put some money on the other lot (as a kind of consolation prize)!