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24 November 2015

The Independent: Majority of British public now wants a 'Brexit', poll reveals

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More than half of the public now want to leave the EU, according to a survey for The Independent - the first time this monthly survey has shown a majority for “Brexit.”. Shift of public opinion in aftermath of Paris attacks will be seen as reflection of anxiety over refugee crisis.

Although the poll results show a marked Eurosceptic shift since Paris, In campaigners believe that the outpouring of sympathy in Britain for France over the massacre will help rather than damage the pro-EU cause.

Some 52 per cent of people say Britain should leave the EU, while 48 per cent want to remain. 

When ORB asked the same question in June, July and September, a majority (55 per cent) wanted to stay and 45 per cent to quit on each occasion.  Last month, amid widespread media coverage of the refugee crisis, the margin narrowed slightly to 53 per cent in favour of staying in, with 47 per cent wanting out.

The latest survey highlights a stark divide between the generations ahead of the in/out referendum to be held by the end of 2017.  Some 69 per cent of 18-24 year-olds want to remain in the EU, while only 31 per cent want to leave. Support for EU membership declines steadily with age among older groups, with only 38 per cent of those aged 65 and over wanting to remain and 62 per cent in favour of leaving. [...]

Support for EU membership is highest in Scotland (60 per cent) and  Wales (56 per cent) and at its lowest in the South West (40 per cent) and Eastern England (43 per cent). [...]

The overall findings will worry pro-EU campaigners, who admit privately that the refugee crisis is shifting opinion against membership. There are also fears that the Out campaign, funded heavily by hedge funds opposed to EU regulation, enjoys a much bigger budget than the In brigade.  “We will have less but are much more likely to spend it better,” said one In camp insider, promising a professional effort than its rivals. 


However, Eurosceptics believe the In team looks “part of the establishment” and say that Dominic Cummings, the former Michael Gove aide in charge of the Out camp, is running a clever “insurgent” campaign.

The co-author of a new book on Ukip believes the migration crisis could boost the Out campaign by making immigration and identity key issues in the referendum. “Immigration is central to Euroscepticism in Britain,” said Matthew Goodwin, Professor of Politics at Kent University. He found that voters who believe that immigrants impact negatively on the economy, welfare state and culture are 16 times more likely to back “Brexit.” [...]

Full article on The Independent

© The Independent

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