ITV News poll: Big rise in those who want Britain to leave EU

Forty-nine per cent of Britons would vote to remain in the EU if a referendum was held tomorrow, an ITV News poll conducted by ComRes suggests.

ITV News deputy political editor Chris Ship reports:

However, the lead for the “remain” campaign has dropped from 18 points to eight since the last ComRes poll in January, with more people now saying they would back “Brexit”.

The poll comes at the start of a crucial week for the Prime Minister, culminating in an EU summit in Brussels where leaders will try to agree a deal over Britain’s renegotiated membership of the EU.

The previous survey was done before David Cameron’s renegotiation deal with Donald Tusk was announced. At the time, 54% backed remaining in the EU and 36% supported leaving, compared to 49% and 41% now.

The latest poll suggests 42% of those asked may still change their mind before the referendum.

It also suggests that the number of EU migrants entering Britain is the most important issue for voters, followed by control over Britain’s laws.

The results were gathered from interviews with 1,105 British adults between February 11 and 14, with those surveyed asked three questions:

If a referendum were held tomorrow on the UK’s membership of the European Union, how would you vote on the following question? “Should the UK remain a member of the European Union, or leave the European Union?”

Compared to the last ComRes poll in January, the proportion of people saying they would vote to remain in the EU has dropped from 54% to 49%, while the percentage backing leaving the union has increased from 36% to 41%.

The poll also suggests 70% of people who voted Labour at the last general election would vote to remain, while Conservative voters are more divided, with 45% supporting remaining and 48% leaving.

Have you definitely decided which way you will vote at the referendum or may you still change your mind?

Credit: Reuters

There appears to be a continuing “softness” towards the issue, with 42% of people who expressed a voting preference saying they may still change their mind.

A roughly similar proportion of current "remain" and "leave" voters said they may change their mind (42% and 41%).

Just over half (52%) of Conservative voters said they may change their mind about how they will vote in the referendum.

Thinking about the referendum on Britain’s membership of the EU, which three of the following will be the most important to you in deciding which way to vote?

  • Control over the number of EU migrants entering Britain - 53%

  • Control over Britain's laws - 43%

  • The economy - 38%

  • National security - 38%

  • Benefits for EU migrants - 26%

  • The ability of the UK and EU citizens to live and work across the EU - 23%

  • British influence on the global stage - 19%

  • Uncertainty of leaving the EU - 12%

  • None of these - 1%

  • Don't know - 3%

Among those who currently say they would vote to remain in the EU, 47% said the economy was the most important issue, while 76% of those who back leaving said controlling migrant numbers was.