How to set consensus — Part 1

Phoning it in.

It’s a known fact that telephone polls have a liberal bias. On the run up to the general election in 2015, telephone polls systematically overestimated the number of Labour voters.

During the EU referendum campaign, telephone polls have systematically given higher values for remain compared to online polls that have been closer and sometimes with leave ahead. Despite the best efforts of many of the elites, there isn’t any evidence of any breaking for remain, and there is an evidence of a strengthening leave vote, from the 24 March there has been only one online poll with a greater than 1% lead for remain, 4 with leads for out, 3 of which have more than a 1% lead and three draws (I’m basically ignoring telephone polls such is their unreliability, unwise as that may be).

However, they can’t be having people think that leave can actually win now, can they? So its pure coincidence that we’ve had an unprecedented run of 5 telephone polls out of the last 7. Notably, the two online votes have leads for leave, with larger samples of any of the phone polls.

This is how you set consensus and manipulate the mind-sets of the people. It will most likely backfire when they end up going back to online polls, which one expects they will have to unless they plan to do telephone polls only until the vote itself. At that point the shift toward leave will be a headline, as any shift towards leave is a headline as most of the media and political class thought it unthinkable that it could happen and it isn’t a status quo. Hoisted by their own petard.

Perhaps an indicator of the its all over don’t even bother voting guys meta-narrative the remain side is implicitly relying on can be seen by the most recent ORB poll suggesting that only 20% of people think Brexit will happen. This has a huge effect: the feeling of futility, converse to the bandwagon effect, can kill off a campaign.

Hopefully, the next slew of polls will provide food for thought for the remain campaign, and real belief for the out campaign.