Poll seized upon by Brexiteers actually shows Remain as most popular option

Anti-Brexit protestors outside the Houses of Parliament. Photograph: Victoria Jones/PA.

Anti-Brexit protestors outside the Houses of Parliament. Photograph: Victoria Jones/PA. - Credit: PA Wire/PA Images

A new poll Brexiteers have seized upon as showing the UK backs Brexit, actually reveals Remain is still the most popular option.

The poll, which was conducted by ComRes for a new Channel 5 documentary presented by Jeremy Vine, was heavily trailed by the presenter on his daytime television programme.

The headline figures from the survey of 26,000 people was reported as finding 50% wanted to leave the EU with 42% wanting to Remain. With 'don't knows' removed 54% would back Leave compared to 46% in support of Remain.

Vine claimed it was the "biggest survey since the referendum" and showed "whatever happens people do not want to stay".

The results have been shared by a number of prominent Brexiteers to counteract all of the latest polls which have pointed in the direction of Remain for some considerable time.

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But Anthony Wells, who works for rival pollster YouGov, said the polling came with "caveats" as it was a three-way poll.

He said it was an "unusual result" because every poll since mid-2017 has put Remain ahead.

He said the different methodology meant that it had given a different result - because it was adding together different Brexit options.

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"The reason is largely that some people who say they back leaving with a deal, will back remain if asked a straight remain/leave question," he tweeted.

The polling actually found that Remain is the strongest option with 42% of support, with support for a deal at 30% and no-deal Brexit support at 20%.

Wells added that there was "nothing fundamentally wrong" with the methodology, but he added a key part of a pollster's job should be to communicate the results with "proper caveats and explanations to allow people to understand it properly".

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