BMG polls brings good news for both sides

BMG polls brings good news for both sides

The modal differences strikes backs

BMG have conducted simultaneous online and phone polls. The online poll sees what we’ve seen in other recent polls, with a significant swing to Leave, giving Leave a 10% lead. BMG’s debut EURef poll does give Remain a 7% lead,BMG themselves say they prefer their phone poll over the online poll because of understanding which way undecideds will go and that Remainers are harder to contact. BMG say

Why impute voting intention for Undecideds and Refusals?

It is our view that using predicted voting intentions to impute voting intentions for undecideds and refusals is preferable and more accurate than existing methods of excluding undecideds and refusals.

One of the key lessons taken from the polling industry’s failure to call the 2015 General Election was that key indicators (i.e. leadership and economic approval), were consistently pointing towards a different, and what turned out to be, a more accurate reflection of the state of the parties. In the case of the EU referendum it is our view that simply excluding the undecideds and/or refusers is in itself a judgement about how they will vote (i.e. that they will do so in the same proportion to those who have already responded). Consequently we feel that it is more objective to allocate missing information based on prior estimates derived from their views, in this case their sentiment towards the EU.

To this end, BMG has created an EU sentiment index based on respondents’ views to a series of statements about Britain’s relationship with the EU. The sentiment index is designed to build an understanding of the relationship between key statements and voting intention and thereafter infer the likely voting intentions of undecideds and refusals.

The statements are asked before all voting intention questions. This has the added benefit of asking respondents to think about the major arguments in the campaign prior to asking the voting intention question. We believe it also sparks respondents to consider the arguments as they would on polling day, with the intention of getting them closer to what could be termed ‘the ballot box mindset’.

From this series of questions each respondent is assigned a score based on their response. The higher the score, the more positive the sentiment towards the EU, and vice versa. In order to use the score to impute values for undecideds, the predictive power of the index was modelled in a multivariate regression along with other key variables such as age and social grade (both of which appear to be important determinants of voting intention.)

With the tweet at the top of this piece, it is clear that it is easier to contact Leavers, BMG themselves say

it is interesting to note that the call data from our latest telephone survey implies that, to some extent, pursuing respondents, whether through re-calling or person-to-person interaction on the phone, may be crucial in encouraging ‘harder-to-reach’ respondents to participate. Our results suggest that after one dial, the raw data gives Remain around a 1 point lead, whereas after the second dial the Remain lead is more than five and a half points, before settling at around four points after three calls or more. This suggests that conducting surveys too quickly or skimming through telephone data may underestimate Remain voters. 

Overall the polling does fit what people were expecting,  don’t knows end up sticking with better the devil EU know, but in the online poll, Leave have the momentum. Both sides would be wise to not ignore the polling that is bad for them, Remain should note that the momentum appears to be with Leave, which reflects poorly on Remain’s campaign and the strategy and tactics therein, whilst Leave should note that there’s a potential for another polling disaster because of the samples not being representative.

The fieldwork for these BMG polls were conducted entirely before the murder of Jo Cox.


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