- What UK Thinks: Remain 54 / Leave 46
- ORB poll for The Telegraph: one in five still undecided
- Obama’s intervention yet to make a notable impact
There are still two months until the EU referendum and the latest round of polls show the continuation of a worrying trend for the Leave campaign — it isn’t winning.
What UK Thinks’ most recent EU Poll of Polls has given Remain a lead of eight points (54% > 46%) — this number is an average taken across six polls released between the 12th and 19th of April.
Remain isn’t exactly in a commanding position, but it is consolidating its lead. David Cameron and Remain advocates look reasonably comfortable and a surge in support for a Brexit doesn’t appear to be forthcoming.
As the graph below illustrates, this development is nothing new. The campaign for Britain to remain part of the 28-nation bloc has consistently polled higher than Leave, and although the winning margin isn’t huge, it continues to remain intact.
The Leave campaign needs a surge. If Vote Leave — the official Brexit campaign — is to persuade enough British people to pull the country out of the EU on June 23, then its next move needs to be an offensive one to capture the undecided vote.
According to the latest ORB poll for The Telegraph, 21% of respondents (one in five) were undecided or likely to change their minds before voting day. In a referendum where the winning margin remains modest, this 21% could be a hugely significant chunk of the turnout. Leave needs to target this group and win it.
Why? Because other important factors are starting to shift in favour of Remain. For example, the newest ORB survey showed that those who support Britain staying in the EU were just about as likely to participate in the referendum as those who want a Brexit (66 – 70%). Four points is the smallest the gap ORB has found between the two groups in weeks. In fact, a look at its last four surveys shows that this gap has been getting gradually smaller, as reflected by these figures:
How certain are you to turn out and vote Leave or Remain?
March 15: Remain 72 / Leave 79 (7 point difference)
April 5: Remain 61 / Leave 70 (9 point difference)
April 19: Remain: 65 / Leave 70 (5 point difference)
April 26: Remain 66 / Leave 70 (4 point difference)
The notion that Brexit-backers are much more likely to participate than Remain supporters doesn’t appear to be true at the moment.
Then there’s the possibility of Barack Obama’s intervention having a positive effect for Remain. The What UK Thinks poll of polls is based on surveys published between the 12th and 19th of April. The US President only arrived in London on the 22nd and the BBC interview in which he claimed Britain could face a 10-year wait to strike trade deals with the US if it was to leave the EU was aired on the 24th.
This means the impact of the President’s warnings on public opinion is really yet to be seen and future surveys could yield even worse results for Brexiteers.
With just 8 weeks to go until June 23, an 8 point deficit may feel like a lot for Leave to overcome in not a lot of time. However, a significant portion of the British public is yet to be convinced, and this means an opportunity still remains for Leave to make up some vital ground.