Last month, 68 per cent of respondents to our survey wanted a Canada Plus Plus Plus-type Brexit, or else no deal at all – in other words, a quite hard to very hard Brexit.
And this month, we have 72 per cent against the Prime Minister’s draft deal and 23 per cent for it.
In other words, the bulk of our Party member panel respondents want a hardish or clean Brexit, and see Theresa May’s draft deal as not delivering it – a view that many will have taken without reading the best part of 600 pages of which it consists.
But there you go. It’s salutory to look back to our final survey before the EU referendum, which showed 71 per cent of respondents either definitely for Leave or leaning to Leave, and 27 per cent either definitely for Remain or leaning to Remain.
What seems to have happened over time is that a very big slice of those Tory activists who voted Leave have solidified behind the clean or hardish Brexit that they probably always favoured in the first place.
It will be claimed that there is more support for the Prime Minister’s draft deal among Party members than this finding suggests, to which we make three responses.
First, the survey was opened on Thursday morning, and most responses arrived before May’s Commons statement and press conference of later that day, which might have made a difference at the margin. And, certainly, views may change.
Second, this is the much same panel that swung behind May’s joint report agreement of last December by 73 per cent to 22 per cent. It has not been reflexively hostile to everything she has done in the Brexit negotiations.
Finally, the survey results tend to end up in the same ball park as YouGov’s polls of party members, which are infrequent, but we regard as the gold standard. After all, theirs are opinion polls and ours is a self-selecting survey.
That said, the survey has a strong record, and the message that this result sends to Downing Street is: polls suggest that voters haven’t swung behind your deal, and seven out of ten Party members oppose it.