A new YouGov survey published today shows that support for staying in the EU is at the highest level seen by the polling firm since the 2016 referendum.
The poll of 1,655 people conducted on Wednesday and Thursday this week shows staying in now has a 10-point lead over leaving the EU if the public is given a chance to decide whether to proceed with Brexit.
Support for staying in is now at 55% compared with 45% for leaving the EU once “don’t knows” are excluded.
The lead lengthens further to 14 points – 57% to 43% - when people are asked if they want to “accept the government’s deal to leave the EU” - or stay. This suggests that the argument over the reality over what Brexit has become, rather than abstract concept it was in 2016, is moving more and more voters away from leaving the EU.
In the week when Treasury figures showed the Government’s proposed deal would make the UK £100 billion-a-year poorer, five times as many voters (50%) now believe Brexit will weaken the economy than those who think it will make it stronger (10%).
And reports that the BBC is hoping to stage to a TV debate limited to Theresa May and Jeremy Corbyn are also viewed negatively by the public. By margins of more than two-to-one, those surveyed say the debate should include senior political figures both from those campaigning for a “no deal” Brexit and those who want a public vote with an option to stay.
Support for a People’s Vote to settle the issue is also running high with 55% of voters backing the idea, compared to 45% opposed. Significantly, three times as many voters - 18% - say the case for the public being given the final say on Brexit has been strengthened than those who say it has been weakened (6%).
Peter Kellner, a former President of YouGov and one of Britain’s most respected pollsters, said:
“These are significant results, and not just because Remain’s lead is the biggest yet. For the first time, more than one in five Leave voters is having second thoughts. While 88% of those who voted Remain two years ago would vote the same way in a new referendum, the equivalent figure for Leave voters is down to 79%.
“This means that 3.5 million Leave voters are having second thoughts - of whom 2 million have changed sides and would now vote Remain. (The remaining 1.5 million are now don’t knows or would not vote.)
“The big majorities among Labour voters both for Remain and a People’s Vote also send a clear message to the party’s MPs about the decisions they will shortly face in Parliament.
“Finally, the broadcasters should heed the fact that only a small minority back the May-Corbyn debates that have been proposed. Clear majorities demand the inclusion of advocates of both Staying in the EU and leaving without a deal being included as full participants.”
Notes to Editors
Polling data is here.