There has been another poll of Labour members’ brexit attitudes. It has been sold as the Labour leadership being out of touch and unrepresentative of the membership. Pro-leadership commentators are claiming bad faith and that the poll is misrepresented. Who is right?
Both, it seems.
The poll was of 1034 Labour party members who use YouGov.
The first question to consider is quite simple – Do you think Labour should or should not fully support holding a new referendum on brexit?
72% support holding a new referendum, 18% oppose. This seems to be what is being used as the headline figure and matches my own experience when speaking to other Labour members.
But this doesn’t mean that members don’t support the leadership on brexit policy. The question can be answered as supporting a new referendum while supporting the party policy.
When members were asked if they support or oppose Labour’s stance on brexit, 47% said they supported it, while only 29% opposed it. How can 72% support holding a new referendum, while only 29% say that Labour’s stance is wrong?
Because the 2 questions aren’t exclusive. It’s quite a reasonable position to be in favour of a 2nd referendum in principle, while agreeing with Labour’s policy of attempting to force a general election first.
Other results in the poll appears to back Jeremy Corbyn, Labour’s stance on brexit, while overwhelmingly wanting to remain in the EU.
There are also questions about how representative YouGov are able to make their polling models, due to the obvious issues around the demographics of their user base. In Westminster polls, YouGov are always outliers, appearing to inflate the Conservative vote compared to other pollsters.
Finally, 1034 is a very small sample size. While it’s not guaranteed to be inaccurate, when coupled with an insufficient model, inaccuracy can be amplified.
Data tables are available from ESRC here