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

PUBLISHED: 14:20 16 October 2019 | UPDATED: 14:34 16 October 2019

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

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

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.

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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.

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.

"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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