EU Referendum: Majority of British Public Now Wants a 'Brexit', Poll Reveals
TEHRAN (Tasnim) - More than half of the public now want to leave the European Union, according to an opinion poll for The Independent – the first time the monthly survey has shown a majority for “Brexit.”
The survey of 2,000 people by ORB, conducted last Wednesday and Thursday in the wake of the Paris terrorist attacks, will be seen as a reflection of public anxiety about the EU’s migration crisis, The Independent reported early on Tuesday.
Anti-EU politicians including Nigel Farage have sought to make a link between the influx of Middle Eastern refugees to Europe and terrorism.
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.
A majority of the AB and C1 top two social groups want the UK to stay in the 28-nation bloc, but there is a majority in favour of leaving among the C2 skilled manual workers and bottom DE group.
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).
Some 54 per cent of people who voted Conservative at the May election want to leave the EU, as do 93 per cent of Ukip voters. But a majority of Labour, Liberal Democrat, SNP and Green supporters want to remain.
The respondents were given the choice only of the two options which will appear on the referendum ballot paper, to remain or leave. Previous data suggests that the level of undecided voters in the UK is currently around 18 per cent.