The polls in have closed in Britain’s EU referendum. As mentioned this morning, there will be no exit polls. All we have is the YouGov poll, which was carried out today (I had thought it was last night).
An opinion poll carried out today has put the Remain campaign ahead in the UK’s EU membership referendum with 52 per cent. Polling stations have now closed.
But the YouGov poll – which shows Leave on 48 per cent – comes with a significant warning sign attached: although it was carried out today it is not an exit poll, as traditionally seen after the end of voting in general elections. As Samuel Tombs, chief UK economist at Pantheon Macroeconomics, highlighted in a note published earlier:
An on-the-day opinion poll, released at 10pm BST, is not an exit poll and should be treated cautiously.
UKIP leader Nigel Farage has told Sky News: “It’s been an extraordinary referendum campaign, turnout looks to be exceptionally high and looks like Remain will edge it.”
My own guess this morning was for a Remain lead somewhat narrower than 55-45, so this fits, but a guess is all that it was. As for the pollsters, they are operating in unfamiliar territory, and, complicating analysis further, the turnout (apparently) was high. It’s thus quite likely that we could see the spread between the two sides narrow still further or, for that matter, widen considerably as the count proceeds through the night. Have I hedged myself clear? I do think that any chance of a Brexit win is very remote indeed.
IF, however the actual result ends up as close as this, it will be a very telling measure indeed of the antipathy that so many Brits feel for the EU project. It’s important to remember that many of those who voted Remain only did so out of fear of the consequences of Brexit. That’s not exactly an endorsement of ‘ever closer union’.
But let’s see what the count reveals.