Over the weekend, I happened upon a YouGov poll that was conducted and released at the end of May on the EU referendum question. This one wasn’t your run of the mill polling on the subject – instead, people were asked to rank 30 different well known fictional characters from most likely to vote Remain to most likely to vote for Leave.
As we know, polling on the referendum has gone from difficult to understand, to all over the place, to downright wacky. With all of that, how can we really understand how the country will vote on June 23rd? We can’t, but things like the 30 characters poll may weirdly give us a better idea than the straight up question. Reason being, what goes into answering a “Remain” or “Leave” polling query contains all sorts of conscious things, whereas asking about where characters fit into the referendum equation gives us some idea of how the country subconsciously views the debate.
What is most interesting about the poll’s results is that most of the characters people see as being on the Remain side tend to be protagonists – good guys, in other words. Dr Who, James Bond, Mary Poppins. Meanwhile, the characters people associate with Leave are either bigoted, class obsessed, Little Englanders – Basil Fawlty, Hyacinth Bucket, Alan Partridge – or idiots: Ali G, Keith Lemon, David Brent. Cruella De Vil is solidly in the Leave camp according to the poll.
Again, one could be in danger of reading too much into this. But surely more of the blokes in this country would rather be James Bond than Basil Fawlty? The fact that we think of older people, men in particular, who have a distinct tendency to look backwards rather than forwards, tells me that the Leave camp’s early desire to associate leaving the EU with something exciting and new probably failed utterly. Which is why they had to resort to racism against Turks, I guess.
Anyhow, with just over a week to go, I find myself thinking about things outside of politics in relation to the EU referendum more and more. Will football violence on the continent help or hurt Remain? Will it have no bleeding difference? With the polls being no help, wild speculation is rife. You know things have gone south when you find yourself wishing that British people will want to emulate Dr Who more than Hyacinth Bucket come late June. Thanks for that, DC.