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Re: Election Maths : Paul Matthews has definitive background

It might be worth reviving this old thread to point out that the biggest consequence of the blunder by UK polling organisations in predicting the 2015 UK General Election result is probably that we ended up getting the EU Referendum out of it.

It seems clear from David Cameron's behaviour in 2016 that he would never really have wanted to hold the referendum on the EU in the first place. He appears to have been much less of a Eurosceptic than UK political commentators have told the public that he is for years.

The promise to hold a referendum on the EU came at the start of 2013 as I recall, as a means of reducing the threat of Conservative votes being lost to UKIP. The critical bit was whether the idea of holding a referendum managed to survive through to the Conservative party's 2015 election manifesto that would be written a few months before the election. The hung parliament situation that was being widely predicted by pollsters probably led to the commitment to hold a referendum making it into the manifesto. Cameron's best prospect in the 2015 election, according to the pollsters, seemed to be another coalition or alliance with the Lib Dems, and he could then rely on his Lib Dem colleagues to throw out the commitment to hold a referendum as part of any agreement to provide their support.

The pollsters didn't do particularly well in predicting the referendum result in 2016, but they did perform slightly better than they did for the 2015 General Election. They seemed to generate enough duff information about the referendum vote to make the Remain side overconfident.