A majority of voters in battleground seats at the next General Election support the demand for the people to be given the final say on the outcome of the Brexit negotiations, according to a vast new YouGov study based on polling of almost 26,000 people.
The findings, which are expected to have a significant impact on the parliamentary battle over Brexit in the coming months, is based on the same modelling methodology that confounded conventional wisdom and correctly predicted Labour’s surprise success in last year’s election.
Data scientists working for YouGov using the Multi-level Regression and Post-stratification (MRP) technique have produced an analysis that shows a total of 585 seats out of 632 surveyed (excluding Northern Ireland) back a People’s Vote.
- The 67 Conservative MPs with the majorities under 5,000 are, without exception, in constituencies where there is a majority in favour of a People’s Vote.
- The average support for the public being given the final say in these seats is 56% - compared to 44% opposed - when “don’t knows” are excluded.
- In each seat the number of Conservative voters who back a People’s Vote is significantly bigger than their majority at the last election. The proportion of Conservative supporters who back the demand in these seats ranges from 38% to 45%.
- Labour’s top 100 target seats – including those that it needs to win if it is to form a government with a workable Commons majority – also back a People’s Vote by an average margin 58% to 42%.
The findings come as a Labour MP who voted Leave two years ago – and would do so again – pledged to support efforts in parliament to secure a People’s Vote.
Roger Godsiff’s Birmingham Hall Green seat divided 66% to 34% in favour of staying in the EU in 2016 and, according to this model would now vote 71% to 29% to keep our membership of the EU. Overall, 70 per cent of his constituency favours a Peoples’s Vote, a proportion that rises to 76% among Labour voters.
He said: “I voted Leave because I don’t believe the EU is capable of reform from within. I have not changed my mind but my job as an MP is to represent the people in my constituency. The majority of them voted to Remain two years and I have no problem whatsoever supporting the idea of any final deal being put back to the people in another referendum with an option to Remain. It might produce the same result but let’s let the people decide.”
Emma Whysall, Labour’s defeated candidate in Chipping Barnet in 2017 is now seeking selection to fight again in a seat she lost by just 353 votes - and where 59% of the electorate back a People’s Vote, according to this model.
She said: “It's essential Labour listens to and positively responds to our supporters' backing for a People's Vote. We need to have all the options to oppose a Tory Brexit at our disposal and that must include a People's Vote.
“In marginal seats like Chipping Barnet any suggestion that Labour might let the Tories get away with Brexit would seriously damage our chances. I welcomed the way Labour conference kept the option of a People's Vote - and the chance of voting to stay in the EU - on the table and I know most party members feel the same way."
Guto Bebb, the Conservative MP for the marginal seat of Aberconwy where 56% of voters overall back a People’s Vote, said:
“Giving the public the final say on these negotiations is the right thing to do because - whether it’s a no deal Brexit or the kind of blind Brexit currently being proposed – will be a miserable result.
“I’m backing the People’s Vote campaign because it’s the right thing to do for our national interest, as well as for businesses and families in Aberconwy. But it’s also really important that Conservatives like me listen to voters rather than just an ideologically-motivated rump of my party.”
Peter Kellner, a past president of YouGov and one of Britain’s most respected pollsters, said:
“Many MPs who are resisting a People’s Vote risk losing local support. YouGov’s latest analysis contains clear warning signs both for Labour MPs representing seats that voted Leave in 2016 – and Conservative MPs with narrow majorities.
“These figures may even understate the support for a new referendum. They show responses to a general question at a time when nobody knows whether there will be a deal between London and Brussels that wins the support of Parliament. Other YouGov research suggests that if there is no such deal, support for a public vote will rise significantly.
“If Parliament faces deadlock over Brexit in the next few weeks, MPs who nail their colours to the anti-referendum mast could be in trouble. They risk ending up being seen as on the wrong side of the argument by thousands of the local voters whose support they need.”
Notes to editors
If reporting this story, please reference the People’s Vote campaign.
Data files attached.
The People’s Vote “Roadmap to a People’s Vote” report can be read here: