Thursday June 9, 2016 - 10:33:44 GMT
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How To Read Brexit Polls
John M. Bland, MBA
Recently, Peter Kellner, former President of YouGov appeared on the program Worldwide Exchange on CNBC to discuss the polling of U.K. voters for the upcoming referendum on an exit of The United Kingdom (UK) from the European Economic Union (EU). This vote has been dubbed “Brexit” in the press. As an expert on UK polling, Mr. Kellner’s insights into this process in the UK could prove useful to those of us trying to handicap new polls that are released being with great regularity. One of the services YouGov provides is to track the important polls. YouGov currently shows those who want the UK to stay in thee EU (Remain) about even those who want to exit (Leave).
Online vs. Telephone Polling
Generally, recent Online polls have been showing Leave camp running ahead of the Remain camp by a couple of percentage points, while the more traditional telephone polls show the Remains ahead of the Leaves by a fairly substantial double-digit margin. In comparing the reliability of the two types of polls, Kellner states than online polls usually use a panel for its count and says the people willing to join a panel tend to be more politically committed to one side of an issue or other, and therefore often are not as representative of the broader electorate as those reached by telephone polling. The New York Times recently reported the while U.S. Presidential primary polls showed online polling favoring Trump by more than telephone, the telephone results proved to be more accurate.
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Kellner tends to focus a lot on what he calls the “safety” vote. These are the voters in any election who bias towards the status quo, due to a natural fear of the unknown. He said safety voters are not picked up as well in online polls as telephone participants. In the Scotland Referendum, late deciders broke because of safety against independence in the final two weeks heading into the Scottish Referendum. This is a common pattern in votes around the world. He expects similar behavior with the EU vote. Thus the late deciders are expected to vote to Remain in the EU due to safety concerns. Turn Out The size of the turnout matters in most elections. Odds are those in favor of Brexit are more likely to vote than those favoring Remain. Keller said that the turnout is likely to favor Leave. Those wanting to leave are expected to be more committed than those who will want to remain. Expected Results The Remain vote appears to be running about even with Leave. Kellner expects late deciders vote for Remain. He expects decisive victory in end for remain camp.
John M. Bland
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