European Law Monitor

Make your voice heard!

newsLord Ashcrofts poll and Vote Leave's probable methodology

In November and December 2015 Lord Ashcroft carried out a major poll examining in detail the issues that were likely to be of relevance to people in the EU referendum.

Analysis of a 20,000-sample poll identified seven “segments” of voters with different backgrounds, motivations, priorities, and views on EU membership ranging from those who were certain to vote Remain to those who were certain to vote leave, and the full range of views inbetween. Potential Leave voters were characterised as "Nothing to Lose" who were certain to vote to leave, Global Britain, who were again very likely to vote Leave, and Hard Pressed Undecideds who were 52% likely to vote to Leave, but who might need to be persuaded.

The primary issues for leave voters were immigration, control of borders, migration/refugees, UK contributions and national security. Vote Leave appear to have prepared EU referendum campaign materials on the basis of this (and possibly other) research. For example

Immigration - This is covered by the Vote Leave leaflet "The EU immigration system is immoral and unfair"

Control of our borders - This is covered by the Vote Leave leaflet " Security - Vote Leave is the safer option"

Defence - This is covered in teh Vote Leave leaflet "Being in the EU undermines our defence".

Migration and Turkey - Information on this was sent out to every household in the country, in Vote Leaves EU referendum leaflet. This subject was also covered in the Vote Leave leaflet "Voting to stay is the risky option".

UK Contributions - Throughout the campaign, Vote Leave repeated ad nauseum that the cost of UK contributions to the EU was £350m a week, which is misleading as it doesn't include the rebate. It also featured prominently in the campaign leaflet "Why vote Leave on the 23rd June?".

Euro bailouts - This was covered in Vote Leaves leaflet "Voting to stay is the riskier option".

 Given that these campaign leaflets are the ones with the most factual errors and the most misleading, it could be alleged that Vote Leave prepared campaign materials which suggested that leaving the EU would deal with those concerns – irrespective of the factual accuracy of those assertions. Basically, they told people what they wanted to hear, irrespective of whether or not this was factually true, or likely to be acheivable in the event of a Brexit vote. The Vote Leave mantra of “Vote Leave – take back control” also appears to be based on this research, as a number of Leave voters felt a lack of control in their lives.


Type of voter according to Lord Ashcrofts poll methodology % of population  Declared likelihood to vote Leave Key issues % of people in this voter category who feel strongly about this issue How do these issues impact on how people feel?
Nothing to Lose 23% 95% Immigration 45% In this category, people feel a loss of control. Laws imposed from outside matters to 61%.
      Control of borders 32% Pressure on public services, effect on jobs and wages, and entitlement matters to this category of voter.
      Migration 33%  
      UK contributions 25%  
      National security 11%  
      Economic security 4%  
Global Britain 13% 81% Immigration 27%  
      Control of borders 22%  
      Migration/refugees 19%  
      UK contributions 18%  
      National security 12%  
      Economic security 9%  
Hard pressed undecideds 19% 52% Immigration 26% 51% of people in this category of voter felt a loss of control. This group were concerned about the effect of the EU on:
      Control of borders 17% Standards and quality of life
      Migration/refugees 17% Security
      UK contributions 11% Safety
      Free movement 11% Doing the right thing for future generations
      National security 11%  
      Economic security 7%