A new opinion poll commissioned by the UK’s Independent newspaper has given the “leave” campaign a 10-point lead for the June 23 European Union membership referendum—sending shockwaves through the political establishment and plunging the British Pound to new lows against the US dollar and the euro.
The poll is the second in a row to indicate such a potential result, although all other polls, as tracked by the Financial Times, indicate that the “remain” campaign is still ahead.
According to the Independent’s poll, taken with just 12 days to go, 55 percent of UK voters intend to vote for Britain to leave the EU.
The survey of 2,000 people found that the “leave” campaign had increased by four points since the last poll in April
The “remain” camp had dropped four points to 45 percent. The results were weighted to take account of people’s likelihood to vote.
The Independent said it was “by far the biggest lead the leave camp has enjoyed” since that paper had started polling on the topic a year ago, when the “remain” camp enjoyed a 10-point lead.
The poll found that even when the findings were not weighted for turnout, the “leave” campaign was still on 53 percent (up three points since April) and “remain” on 47 percent (down three).
The poll also found that “leave” voters were the ones most determined to vote. Some 78 percent of “leave” supporters said they will definitely vote, while only 66 percent of “remain” supporters say the same.
Speculating on the reasons for the change in opinion, the Independent said that the new poll results will “heighten fears in the remain campaign that it is losing ground among Labour [Party] supporters, who are seen as critical to securing victory.”
The poll found that 56 percent of people who voted for Labour at last year’s general election now back the ‘remain” campaign when turnout is taken into account, but a “dangerously high” 44 percent support the “leave” campaign.
The poll also said that “only 38 percent” of Conservative Party voters support the “stay” campaign, while 62 percent support the “leave” side.
If these projections hold true, they will spell a major political revolution in Britain—and will have the potential to break the grip of the traditional political party system in the UK.
According to the Independent, many voters “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 economic argument is possibly more important in real terms than the immigration “threat”—because immigration from within the EU has been comparatively small compared to the flood of Third World, non-EU nationals who have poured into the UK completely separately of the European Union’s “freedom of movement” regulations.
The Independent pointed out that 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 percent for “remain” and 48 percent for “leave.”
This “wisdom of the crowd” polling proved accurate during Ireland’s referendum on homosexual marriage last year, the Independent added.
The Financial Times poll tracker—which follows all opinion polls, telephone, online, and physically canvassed, has however stood firm at its prediction of a “remain” vote win, saying that currently 45 percent support staying in the EU, with 43 percent supporting the “leave” camp.