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Why the opinion polls still matter

1 June 2016

6:03 PM

1 June 2016

6:03 PM

This EU referendum is a particularly difficult contest to poll and after the general election we all should be wary of treating them as gospel. But there’s no getting away from the fact that the mood in Westminster—and on the two campaigns—is heavily influenced by the polls.

The recent good numbers for Leave have put a string in its step. They have also ensured that Vote Leave’s focus on immigration in the last few days isn’t seen as the last roll of the dice but as an attempt to focus on one of its strongest areas.

Interestingly, influential figures on the Remain side privately accept that the referendum appears to have tightened up in the past few days. The question is whether this is the new campaign dynamic that we’ll see now that the purdah rules mean that the government machine has to keep silent.

One thing is certain, though: the tightness of the referendum means that Tory unity will be tested even further. David Cameron and George Osborne will not let up as they are fighting for their political lives. While the Outers think they are in striking distance of victory and so won’t ease off.


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