Exclusive Brexit Poll Update: Do the Math

With public polls turning mixed, it pays to take a look at the math and the extent to which turnout could be the deciding factor in the June 23 referendum. Since we started our tracking poll in March, asking the question, Do you expect the June 23 Brexit referendum result to be the UK leaving or staying in the EU?,the results have been lopsided in expecting a Brexit outcome (see latest results below).

One explanation, as suggested by the feedback we receive from our poll participants, is that the Leave side appears to be more passionate and committed in its convictions. This suggests the Leave side will be more likely to cast a vote if our findings carry over to the referendum.

Do the Math!

In this theoretical example, I will explore why public polls should not be taken at face value as potential turnout needs to be factored in. For example.  let’s assume the split in public polls is 50-50 and the assumption is that 80% of those favoring Leave will vote in the referendum. The Remain side would then need to at least match the 80% turnout to make the 50-50 public polls an accurate assessment of the potential vote. However, what happens if the turnout on one side (e.g. Remain) is below that of the opposition.


Assuming 80% turnout for Leave

If the turnout for Remain is 75%, it would mean that the public poll would need to show Remain in the lead by 53.33%-46.67% to be a 50-50 split in real terms due to the lower turnout for that side.

While this is just a theoretical example, it shows the importance of turning out the vote. Of course there are other factors besides commitment and passion that can influence turnout, such as weather, grass roots efforts to turn out the vote and what public polls show beforehand as a wide lead by one side or the other can either discourage the losing side not to vote or give less incentive to an over confident winning side to cast a ballot. The closer the polls going into the referendum, the more likely the more committed side will vote.

As I have said many times, we do not have a stake in this election but from the feedback we have received, it is the Leave side that appears to have more passion as can be seen by comments from two of our participants:

The result will be decided by those who will actually vote and the outers are more motivated and more likely to vote than the inners.

What I also find interesting is those of us who want out will vote at all costs, however some of the IN voters said it may depend on the weather!!!  If it’s raining they won’t bother to vote. Amazing! So they are not too interested in staying in. I will vote out if I need to swim to the voting booth! 

Click to participate in our Brexit Poll


Brexit Poll Results:

Brexit = vote to leave the EU

No Brexit = vote to stay in the EU


Overall Mar 6 Mar 13 Mar 20 Mar 26 Apr 2 Apr 9 Apr 16
Brexit 58% 85% 85% 86% 87% 88% 85%
No Brexit 42% 15% 15% 14% 13% 12% 15%
Apr 23 Apr 30 May 6
Brexit 85% 84% 85%
No Brexit 15% 16% 15%


Past Week: UK respondents continue to show a very strong expectation for Brexit

UK Mar 6 Mar 13 Mar 20 Mar 26 Apr 2 Apr 9 Apr 16
Brexit 83% 91% 90% 84% 92% 94% 89%
Non-Brexit 17% 9% 10% 16% 8% 6% 11%
  Apr 23 Apr 30 May 6
Brexit 88% 87% 91%
No-Brexit 12% 13% 9%


Past week: Non-UK expectations for Brexit remain high but with a smaller sample

Non-UK Mar 6 Mar 13 Mar 20 Mar 26 Apr 2 Apr 9 Apr 16
Brexit 12% 53% 58% 70% 74% 81% 87%
No Brexit 78% 47% 42% 30% 26% 19% 13%
Apr 23 Apr 30 May 6
Brexit 77% 81% 82%
No Brexit 23% 19% 18%


Breakdown of Total UK vs Non-UK Respondents in our poll

Total # Mar 6 Mar 13 Mar 20 Mar 26 Apr 2 Apr 9 Apr 16
UK 32% 88% 85% 90% 89% 89 88%
Non-UK 88% 12% 15% 10% 11% 11% 12%
Apr 23 Apr 30 May 6
UK 88% 88% 89%
Non-UK 12% 12% 11%


Sterling, meanwhile, started the week on a firm note but gave back those gains as the week wound on. Sterling’s setback appeared to be a combination of a rebound in the dollar, weak UK data and latest Brexit polls. As I have been noting, sterling appears to be acting as a barometer of Brexit sentiment, which will likely increase as an indicator the closer it gets to the June 23 referendum. GBPUSD closed last week at 1.4612, rose to a high at 1.4769 on Wednesday and closed the week at 1.4435.

Click to participate in our Brexit Poll

Jay Meisler, founder

Global Traders Association

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