Sentiment Shifts to Leave - By a Margin

There is now no doubt that Leave has moved ahead in the polls. Betfair briefly gave Remain only a 55% chance of winning.

Brexit may even have achieved momentum. However, the lead is slight, it depends on voter turnout and it is now faced with an onslaught from the Labour Establishment which will no doubt persuade a number of tribal wobblers to stick with the devil they think they know. But what is happening under the bonnet? Does a Labour Party that resolutely refuses to talk about immigration have any credibility with the relatively low paid in the economic front line?

There is not an enormous change in party support other than that the Liberal Democrats appear to be returning to their Remain roots. Northerners and the Welsh also seem to be more likely to Remain than they did a week or so ago (the Welsh having lost their appetite for Leave, no doubt, as the Labour Party starts putting some pressure on its core supporters). The Leave surge appears to be a matter of class politics that cuts across all other categories even in Scotland where we definitely see a rise in Leave sentiment which does not surprise us from recent anecdotal evidence.

The shift in sentiment is centred on the skilled and unskilled working class. This may be pushed a little further along by the Sun's early endorsement. A Labour spokesperson was dismissive of its effect on the radio earlier today while other Labour people seem to think that there is no working class left at all. Yet a significant number of young voters are also having second thoughts about Remain even if there is a corresponding drop in older voter support for Leave - no doubt on 'pension scares' and on market fears, areas where they have more of an immediate stake.

All things being equal, the Prime Minister's economic scare strategy would have worked if it had not been for the cultural and economic resentments of lower income groups in both Scotland and England. Here is the elephant in the room - the political effects of 'free movement of labour' on the most economically vulnerable, ignored for ideological reasons on the Left. How very frustrating this must be to Remain campaigners. Strip out the fears of the working class and they would be walking to victory by now. They had assumed those fears were containable as 'nutty UKIP'.

Remain have only nine days to win sufficient lower income voters, having taken them for granted for far too long. The Government is forced to rely on an uncharismatic Labour Party just as a number of interesting working-class-directed Labour politicians have backed Leave (both from the Left such as Skinner and Cryer and from the Right such as Mann and Field) while the charismatic Boris, the cheeky chappy, exudes noblesse oblige and offers a rather lively celebrity politics on his battle bus. Wisely, Remain quickly dropped its daft strategy of targeting him personally.

Will the Great Unwashed thwart the 'enrichissez-vous' desires of the middle class and have to be taught a lesson with a second referendum? Some experienced local political activists, based on personal canvassing, are already convinced that the will to vote is there in working class Brexiters. Some even expect a 'landslide' in defiance of the pollsters, much as we saw with Labour in 1997. We would not go so far. Remain might just haul themselves back from the brink on economic fears. But anyone reading this should dust off their Brexit Plan B and not be complacent.