Remain on course for ‘comfortable’ victory, says top pollster Peter Kellner

Written by David Singleton on 23 June 2016 in Diary

Call comes as final poll of the referendum campaign shows a narrow lead for Remain.

The former president of polling firm YouGov has predicted that Britain will vote to remain in the European Union by a substantial margin.

Peter Kellner said that the final vote share for Remain could be six per cent higher or lower than 58.5 per cent.

His prediction came after an Ipsos MORI survey for the Evening Standard showed Remain in the lead.

Fieldwork for Ipsos MORI’s survey of 1,592 people was carried out until 9pm last night, making it the most up-to-date poll of the campaign.

It showed 52 per cent wanting to stay in the EU, against 48 per cent for a Brexit. But researchers also found that 12 per cent of people  could change their minds in the few hours left before they cast their vote.

Other final telephone polls from ORB/Telegraph, Survation and ComRes have also put Remain in the lead, with an average of 53 per cent, while polls conducted online have suggested a closer result.

In a blog post digesting the polling, Kellner stated: "Take your pick. If the telephone polls are right, then Remain is heading for victory, possibly by a comfortable margin. If the online polls are right, then the result could be extremely close, and we may not know the outcome until breakfast time tomorrow."

But he went on to suggest that two unaccounted for groups  -  the 23,000 Gibraltarians with the right to vote, and possibly 200-300,000 expatriate voters living abroad - could give an additional boost to Remain.

And he suggested there would be an “on-the-day shift” echoing what occurred in the Scottish independence referendum. This would also help Remain, he suggested.

“We know that some voters are torn between heart and head: the emotional pull of Brexit versus the worries of what might happen to jobs and prices. Do some people respond to pollsters with their heart, and then vote with their heads?”

Kellner contended that all of this added up to a “mid-point prediction of an 8.5% lead for remain, or a majority of around 2.5 million of votes cast”.

But he added: “Don’t be surprised if the gap is less than one million – or as much as four million.  And if the phone polls have been systematically overstating support for Remain throughout the campaign, then a victory for Brexit is perfectly possible.”



Guide to EU referendum timings on the night


Picture credit: Stefan Rousseau/PA Wire


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