Recent numbers from YouGov and ICM deserve scrutinyby Peter Kellner / February 7, 2018 / Leave a comment
Buried in the detail of the latest ICM poll for the Guardian is a remarkable fact. Of the people who voted Remain in the EU referendum, only 32 per cent say they agree with Tony Blair’s stance on Brexit. Two-thirds of Remainers either disagree (24 per cent) or don’t take sides (43 per cent).
Successive polls have found that almost nine in ten Remain voters still want the UK to stay in the EU. So does Blair: he has been vocal and unambiguous in saying so. So why do so few of the voters who share his view say they agree with him?
We know that Blair is generally unpopular—though not as unpopular as his more vociferous critics would like. That may explain part of this poll finding, even though ICM did preface its question on Blair, and other senior politicians, with the phrase: “Putting aside your general views about these individuals…”
The larger part of the answer, I believe, is that millions of voters do not have the faintest idea what Blair thinks about Brexit. They don’t read the papers, or watch/listen to the TV and radio programmes where he has expounded his views at length; and they ignore the stories in the papers and on social media where they are reported more briefly.
This illustrates a fundamental truth about the state of public opinion in the early weeks of the year that is likely to set the course for Britain’s future for many decades. Vast numbers of voters, probably a majority, are paying little attention to the ebbs and flows of the Brexit debate. It’s not just Remain voters who have limited knowledge of the views of their sid…