Saturday 16 December 2017

Remain has just days to rally voters as new poll points to Brexit

Britain's Prime Minister David Cameron sips from an
Britain's Prime Minister David Cameron sips from an "I'm In" mug as he meets television presenters Jeremy Clarkson and James May during a visit to W Chump & Sons Ltd TV studio in west London. Photo: AFP/Getty Images

Freya Berry and Kylie MacLellan

IN. Out. Undecided. Brexit polls in the UK have swung to and fro for months, but the remain side has just days to rally support after another poll shock.

British support for leaving the European Union in next Thursday's referendum has risen to 53pc, a phone poll showed yesterday, the highest level of support recorded by the pollster for the 'leave' campaign in more than three years.

The survey by Ipsos Mori of 1,257 adults across Britain from June 11-14 showed 51pc of all voters wanted to leave the bloc and 49pc wanted to stay. But, when filtered for those likely to vote, the poll showed 53pc would vote to leave and 47pc to remain.

"With a week to go, 'leave' have outgunned 'remain' with a series of arguments on immigration and money that are often believed despite being flatly denied by the other side," said Ipsos Mori chief Executive Ben Page.

"Polls don't predict but pollsters sometimes do: personally I think that as in Scotland the status quo may triumph at the last minute. But it looks very close," Mr Page said.

Sterling slipped against the dollar just after the poll was published. Meanwhile, the probability of an in vote fell 5 percentage points to 60pc, according to betting odds supplied by Betfair.

It is the first time that the 'leave' campaign has come out ahead in the monthly Ipsos MORI survey since Prime Minister David Cameron pledged in 2013 to hold a referendum.

It marks a major turnaround since a May poll by Ipsos MORI, which found 37pc wanted to leave against 55pc who wanted to stay. When weighted for those likely to vote and excluding undecideds, the breakdown then was 60pc to remain and 40pc to quit, Ipsos Mori said.

The latest June figures were also filtered by those actually registered to vote, and weighted according to a voter's educational background, Ipsos MORI said.

A vote to end Britain's 43-year-old EU membership would spook investors by undermining post-World War Two attempts at European integration and placing a question mark over the future of the UK and its €2.6 trillion economy. Such is the concern that the US Federal Reserve cited it as a reason it delayed a rate rise this week.

Immigration, which 'leave' campaigners see as their top argument, has eclipsed concerns about the economy, which 'remain' campaigners see as their trump card, according to the poll.

It underscored mistrust of politicians on both sides of the campaign but especially strong scepticism towards the assertions made by David Cameron and chancellor George Osborne.

Just 17pc of people believed Mr Osborne's statement that households would lose £4,300 and be permanently poorer after a Brexit.

Almost half believe leading Brexit campaigner Boris Johnson is telling the truth when he says that Britain sends £350m a week to the EU - even though it has been criticised as misleading by pro-remain politicians and by independent experts. Ben Page said the 'leave' campaign had made immigration the main argument of the campaign over the past month, eclipsing the 'remain' campaign's warnings over the economic consequences of a Brexit.

"Immigration has become the argument, with the economy, remain's strongest card, becoming less relevant in the last month. Twenty percent of voters may change their minds, giving hope to both sides, although often undecideds (traditionally) don't bother to vote." (Reuters)

Irish Independent

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