Will polling influence the outcome of the referendum?

Is polling influencing voters?
Is polling influencing voters?

The value of political polls has been called into question, following claims that the polls themselves can be too influential on voters.

The final poll for the EU referendum conducted on behalf of the Daily Telegraph by ORB has shown the Remain campaign attracted 53% of ‘definite’ voters while Leave had 46% – an eight point reversal on a similar poll conducted just days earlier.

This has led to a rallying of the FTSE 100 Index which has seen sterling approach its biggest one-day turnaround since 2009.

Carter Lemon Camerons solicitor Rufus Ballaster claims that some people are more likely to vote Leave if they think, due to poll results just released, that they will be outvoted by people who vote Remain.

He said: “The trouble with polls is that they can affect voting behaviour. Campaigns hope to do so, but I know people who are toying with voting Leave as they dislike how David Cameron has run the Referendum (and/or they just dislike David Cameron)…

“Markets hate uncertainty and we can hope that from 24 June 2016 this country will have greater stability as the outcome will be known one way or another.

“The swings in the currency markets and the stock market are unhelpful for businesses and it is impressive how low our unemployment statistics have got during such uncertain times.”

Mark Saunders, a partner at Wilder Coe LLP, also based in London, joined the argument saying that he had first-hand experience of the damaging effect of polls.

He said: “This last weekend I was fortunate to be at a conference of Integra International – a Global association of accounting firms. My colleagues in the association, from all over Europe, were united in their desire to see the UK remain within the EC and expressed real concern at last week’s polls which indicated that a Brexit was on the cards.

“There is just a chance that the debate which the Referendum has caused will make all members of the EU re-evaluate their position within Europe. But I hope that they will all decide, as I hope the people of the UK will, to remain in the EU and reform it – making it fit for purpose.”