Ex-YouGov president Peter Kellner says “Brexit Buyers’ remorse” might be starting particularly amongst C2DEs

Ex-YouGov president Peter Kellner says “Brexit Buyers’ remorse” might be starting particularly amongst C2DEs

In an excellent article the former YouGov President, Peter Kellner, says there could be signs of buyer’s remorse amongst LEAVE voters particularly amongst the C2DEs. He based this in Prospect on an analysis of the trend to YouGov’s “in hindsight was referendum outcome right or wrong” tracker. Last Friday this showed “wrong” at its highest level with a 5% lead.

Kellner, who strips out the don’t knows from the findings, goes on:

“..On its own, this latest finding could be the result of a sampling wobble. The next survey might bounce back to 50-50 or thereabouts. But there are two features of YouGov’s research which suggest that something beyond a sampling wobble may be at work.

First, YouGov’s polls have detected a gradual shift in recent months. We can divide their 41 post-referendum surveys into three groups. YouGov conducted 24 surveys between last year’s referendum and the start of this year’s general election campaign. In 20 of these surveys, more people said the Brexit vote was right than wrong. In three surveys “right” and “wrong” were level-pegging. In only one was “wrong” narrowly ahead. Given sampling fluctuations, there was nothing to suggest any move from the 52-48 per cent referendum result.

From the start of the election campaign in April, up to mid-August, YouGov conducted 12 polls. Five showed “right” narrowly ahead, four showed “wrong” just ahead and three had the two views attracting equal support. Taken together, the public view in the spring and summer months was 50-50.

Since mid-August, YouGov has conducted five polls. None of them has shown a majority saying the UK was right to vote to leave the EU. Four of them have shown “wrong” ahead, while one has the two sides level-pegging.

..The second reason for concluding that the recent shift in the numbers is real can be found in the demographic pattern. We can see this if we compare the latest YouGov survey with the one it conducted at the very start of August—one of the typical 50-50 polls from that period. Back then, middle-class (ABC1) voters divided 60-40 per cent in saying Britain was wrong to vote for Brexit, while working class (C2DE) voters divided 63-37 per cent saying we took the right decision..

Last week’s poll has virtually identical figures for ABC1 voters (41 per cent right, 59 per cent wrong), but a seven-point shift among C2DE voters, to 56 per cent right, 44 per cent wrong. We cannot be absolutely certain that a seven-point shift is real: the margin of error in sub-samples is greater than for the sample as a whole. But when we look at the series of polls since the start of August, we see a steady decline in the proportion of C2DE voters saying Brexit was the right decision. (The detailed poll-by-poll figures can be viewed on YouGov’s website here) This feels more like a change in working-class attitudes than a sampling fluke; though whether it is lasting or temporary remains to be seen...”

I think there might be something in this. There’s no doubt that the figures have been better for “leaving EU wrong” in recent polling and his socio-economic group point is one that could be right.

In all though we need more polling.

Mike Smithson

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