June 2016 – EUROPEAN UNION – The campaign to take Britain out of the EU has opened up a remarkable 10-point lead over the Remain camp, according to an exclusive poll for The Independent. The survey of 2,000 people by ORB found that 55 per cent believe the UK should leave the EU (up four points since our last poll in April), while 45 per cent want it to remain (down four points). These figures are weighted to take account of people’s likelihood to vote. It is by far the biggest lead the Leave camp has enjoyed since ORB began polling the EU issue for The Independent a year ago, when it was Remain who enjoyed a 10-point lead. Now the tables have turned.
Even when the findings are not weighted for turnout, Leave is on 53 per cent (up three points since April) and Remain on 47 per cent (down three). The online poll, taken on Wednesday and Thursday, suggests the Out camp has achieved momentum at the critical time ahead of the 23 June referendum. Differential turnout could prove crucial. ORB found that 78 per cent of Leave supporters say they will definitely vote – describing themselves as a “10” on a scale of 0-10, while only 66 per cent of Remain supporters say the same.
The results will heighten fears in the Remain campaign that it is losing ground among Labour supporters, who are seen as critical to securing victory for it. According to ORB, 56 per cent of people who voted for Labour at last year’s general election now back Remain when turnout is taken into account, but a dangerously high 44 per cent support Leave. Only 38 per cent of Tory voters endorse David Cameron’s stance by backing Remain, while 62 per cent support Leave.
Many people seem ready to vote for Brexit even though the poll shows they believe it involves some risk and think the economy is more important than immigration – widely seen as the Leave camp’s trump card. The one crumb of comfort for the Remain camp is that when people were asked to predict the referendum result, the average figures were 52 per cent for Remain and 48 per cent for Leave. This “wisdom of the crowd” polling proved accurate during Ireland’s referendum on gay marriage last year.
The ORB survey highlights the stark generational differences over the EU. Seven out of 10 people aged 18-24 back Remain and 30 per cent Leave. Support for Leave rises up the age scale to 64 per cent among those aged 55 and over (figures weighted for turnout). Crucially, just over half (56 per cent) of 18-24 year-olds say they will definitely vote, compared to more than 80 per cent of those aged 55 and over.
Support for EU membership is highest in Scotland, with 60 per cent backing Remain. But a majority of people in every other region of Great Britain favor withdrawal when turnout is taken into account. In London, seen as a strong area for the Remain campaign, only 44 per cent back staying in the EU and 56 per cent favor voting to leave. This is due to the turnout factor. Only 66 per cent of people in London say they will definitely vote, the lowest of any region. –The Independent