All ‘Brexit’ polls are wrong

London – When it comes to predicting the result of Britain’s European Union membership referendum, the telephone surveys showing a lead for the “Remain” side are probably closer to the mark, despite their flaws, according to a study.

Polls conducted online that suggest the race is too close to call and those done by phone are all missing important data, but the Internet polls are out by a wider margin, according to Matt Singh, co-author of the report released Tuesday, who called last year’s general election correctly on his Number Cruncher Politics blog.

According to Singh, the “blind spot” is a failure to weight the results according to the social attitudes of interviewees. At present, companies usually weight their samples for age, gender and how people voted in the past.

“The online samples have got too many socially conservative people, and the phone polls have got too many socially liberal people,” Singh said in an interview. “On the referendum, the true picture is closer to the phone polls, but they’re both wrong.”

The June 23 vote on a so-called Brexit is a worry for Britain’s polling companies, who were humiliated by their failure to predict the election result. With different polling methods yielding different results for the public attitude to the EU, they face the prospect of a second disaster.

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