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Populus Poll on Europe

John Rentoul

cameu1 Populus Poll on EuropePopulus has a poll taken online since David Cameron’s EU speech in The Times today. The report is behind the pay wall but the tables are not, and they contain more and more interesting information.

The main finding is that people would vote to leave the EU in a referendum by 53% to 47%, excluding don’t knows and adjusting for turnout, which is a 2½-point swing towards staying in from the last Populus on this question, in June 2012.

Asked how aware they were of the Prime Minister’s “recent speech on Britain’s future relations with Europe”, 36% said “very aware”, 46% said “somewhat aware” and 18% said “unaware”. (Translation: “noticed something”, “now you mention it…” and “is this an opinion poll?”.)

Most people thought that the Prime Minister ought to be allowed to make speeches about one of the most important questions of the nation’s future, and disagreed with the journalists’ consensus that normal people care only about immigration, crime and the price of petrol:

It is reasonable for David Cameron as the Prime Minister to devote a major speech to setting out his vision for Britain’s future relations with Europe whether I agree with that vision or not 63%

There are more immediate and important issues that David Cameron should be devoting a major speech to than setting out his vision for Britain’s future relations with Europe 37%

And most people admitted that how they might vote in a referendum would depend on the terms of membership that might be negotiated (which is why YouGov consistently finds a majority for staying in the EU on renegotiated terms if Cameron recommended it):

How I would vote in a future referendum on whether Britain should remain in the European Union or leave it depends largely on the terms of membership that a future British government might be able to renegotiate 61%

How I would vote in a future referendum on whether Britain should remain in the European Union or leave it has little or nothing to do with the terms of membership that a future British government might be able to renegotiate 39%

Which of the following party leaders would you trust most to renegotiate Britain’s membership of the European Union on terms that were more favourable to the UK?

David Cameron 36%

Ed Miliband 18%

Nigel Farage 10%

Nick Clegg 5%

None of the above 32%

Although Cameron does have a strong incumbency advantage on that question.

Finally, Populus asked: “Has David Cameron’s recent speech on Britain’s relations with Europe made it more or less likely that you’ll vote Conservative at the next Election or has it made no difference?” This is not normally a very useful question, because people are bad at reporting on changes in their own behaviour. For example, most of those who say “more likely” are people who already say they intend to vote Tory: 32% more likely, 4% less likely.

And those who might be most likely to change their vote, UKIP voters, say they are “less likely”: 8% more likely, 17% less likely.

What we need, and what we will get this weekend, are more voting intention polls.

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  • Junius

    Surely anyone who knew the slightest about the current debate, faced with the question ‘Which of the following party leaders would you trust most to renegotiate Britain’s membership of the European Union on terms that were more favourable to the UK?’, and presented with the name of Nigel Farage, would respond ‘But Mr Farage could not be induced to renegotiate under any circumstances. Do you take me for a halfwit?’

    Might None of the above at 32% persuade the Straight Kinda Guy to assume the responsibility if invited, do you think, Mr Rentoul? Or would nothing less than feeling the Hand of History on his shoulder persuade him to accept the poisoned chalice?

  • http://www.facebook.com/albert.cooper.507 Albert Cooper

    David Cameron Wriggling as an eel,and a Conservative and vote catching ..its unbeseeming,all to the glory of power…vote UKIP


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