David Cameron hasn’t actually given his long-delayed Europe speech, but today’s YouGov/Sunday Times poll shows the widespread media coverage and the debate around the speech is already having an effect upon public opinion.

At the start of the month YouGov was showing people would vote to leave the EU in a referendum by 46% to 31% who would vote to stay in – figures that were pretty typical of YouGov’s polling on EU referendums for the last year. Last week those figures had shifted to 42% get out to 36% stay in. This week they have moved even further and now 40% of people say they would vote to stay in compared to 34% who say they would vote to leave.

What appears to have happened is that normally people use an EU referendum question to express general disatisfaction with the EU, with the European Court of Human Rights (I know its different from the EU – most people don’t!), Eastern European immigration, bureaucracy, bans on straight bananas & bent cumcumbers and all the general media perception of the EU. In the last fortnight some will obviously have thought a little more about it as a referendum becomes a more likely possibility, as people like Richard Branson, the US Embassy, Ed Miliband, Vince Cable and David Cameron have all spoken of the importance of Britain being in Europe… and it has changed views.

That is not to say that Euroscepticism per se has faded away, it’s just support for leaving completely that has fallen. The poll still shows 58% of people support having a referendum on EU membership (though, usual caveat, they say that about everything), 59% of people say Cameron is right to try and bring some powers back from Europe and 58% of people say that this is the right time to raise the issue of Britain’s relationship with the EU.

The shift in views is also reflected in voting intentions. Topline Westminster voting intention today is CON 33%, LAB 42%, LDEM 11%, UKIP 7% – the seven point figure for UKIP is the lowest YouGov have shown for several months. More striking is voting intention in European elections, a week ago YouGov had UKIP support in a European election at 17%, figures now are CON 30%, LAB 38%, LDEM 13%, UKIP 12%. I would still expect UKIP to do much better than that in an actual European election (looking back at the 2009 polling they put on a lot of support in the run to the election itself), but it suggests the expected Cameron referendum promise is winning back some UKIP support.

It is also improving perceptions of Cameron himself. 40% think he is doing well as Prime Minister, 54% badly. These are his most positive (or least negative!) approval ratings since last March. Asked who they trust more on the issue of Europe Labour lead the Conservatives by 23% to 20%, with UKIP on 15%. People largely answered the question along party lines, but it does underline the fact that Europe is not necessarily an issue where the Conservatives have a natural lead, like say, immigration or crime. In contrast David Cameron has a solid lead on the party leader people would trust the most to negotiate in Europe – Cameron 26%, Miliband 18%, Farage 11%, Clegg 5%.


125 Responses to “YouGov/Sunday Times – CON 33, LAB 42, LD 11, UKIP 7”

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  1. IF UK GDP contracts by less than 0.5% , at least we can say we did better than Germany.

    (very small smiley)

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  2. Firms that should go bust but kept afloat by artificial money?

    A4E, G4S, Capita, Serco…how about any firm set up purely to suck taxpayers’ money into privatised pockets?

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  3. Kellner on “banging on about Europe”, and UKIP VI :-

    http://yougov.co.uk/news/2013/01/21/eu-vote-stay-40-leave-34/

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  4. @ Nick P

    I thought (rather wryly) that was the purpose of privatised pockets (to be lined by taxpayers’ money)… But your point raises one other way to deal with fiscal policy: the government instead of purchasing, provides services and products. I don’t have a problem with it in general, but it’s unlikely that you would find much public support for it.

    My remark about firms need to go bust is simply related to the asset value that needs to be reduced in the UK economy (if margins cannot be increased)

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  5. @ Anthony Wells

    Considering that in European elections all EU citizens resident in the UK can vote, is it reflected in the polling?

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  6. Does the Draft Bill on Scottish Independence referendum create some sort of case for the EU referendum in terms of eligibility to vote?

    Would be interesting if EU, Commonwealth citizens resident in the UK would have a say in leaving or staying…

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  7. @Laszlo

    I was originally going to answer No, till I looked up the law. It’s actually a precedent set by the 1997 devolution referendum. Enfranchisement seems pegged to that of Local Elections. And the franchise there is Resident British Citizens, Resident Commonwealth Citizens and Resident Citizens of EU Nations. (Again, important to note ‘EU Citizen’ isn’t something that exists under law)

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  8. JAYBLANC

    But AV referendum was on Westminster electoral roll (which caused some problems where there were simultaneous elections held on the Local Election electoral roll).

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  9. @OldNat

    The argument there is that it was a plebiscite of all those affected, those who vote in Westminster elections. But you can’t make the same argument to restrict it for EU membership.

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  10. One major issue is that a vote to withdraw from the EU would remove a significant swath of rights, including right to reside, from a population of people currently legally resident in the UK. Any move to disenfranchise them from voting on such a referendum might not survive a court challenge.

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  11. If we have a vote on the EU anyone who is eligible to vote at Westminster will be allowed to vote and that includes EU citizeans. One of the issues for the referendum is that a pole in Scotland will get a vote but not a scot in England.

    The criteria is residency not nationality and Iam happy with that. Westminster could try to change it but it would end up in the courts including the ECHR , which no doubt UKIP would like because they could play it as foreigners telling us what to do!

    Peter.

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  12. EU Residents don’t get a vote in Westminister elections, only Local and European elections.

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  13. I wonder if the prospect of an Out vote in a UK wide referendum on EU membership in 2017 , will have any effect in the 2014 referendum in Scotland.?

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  14. As Jayblanc said citizens of the EU member states resident in the UK can vote only in local and European elections.

    “One major issue is that a vote to withdraw from the EU would remove a significant swath of rights, including right to reside, from a population of people currently legally resident in the UK. Any move to disenfranchise them from voting on such a referendum might not survive a court challenge.”

    It would be interesting, but more to it. If the UK left the EU, but became part of the EEA, then citizens of all EEA members retain the right to reside in the UK.

    I was really surprised, when in the last QT Farage argued that the only way to stop the Romanian and Bulgarian influx would be to leave the EU and would have the same status as Switzerland. However, Switzerland will have to allow the free movement and employment of the citizens of the two named nations at the same time as the UK. Shame on the panel that nobody challenged him on – lack of knowledge?

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  15. @Laszlo

    Indeed, the price extracted for remaining within the EEA after withdrawing from the EU may well be that we have to join the Schengen area. At which point we have to accept EU immigration, EU market regulations and likely have treaty obligations to meet due to US-EU relations… All after removing our voice from EU government.

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  16. One major issue is that a vote to withdraw from the EU would remove a significant swath of rights, including right to reside, from a population of people currently legally resident in the UK. Any move to disenfranchise them from voting on such a referendum might not survive a court challenge.

    -It would also remove the right of residency of 1.6 Million UK citizens living elsewhere in the EU,will they get a vote?

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  17. @ Colin,
    I suspect that it wont have much difference. Euroscepticism is just as high up here as it is in England – however, more focussed on problems with Fishing and Farming than immigration.

    More likely to move the outcome is the likelihood of a Tory victory in 2015….

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  18. @ Jayblanc

    Thanks, I didn’t think of Schengen. Probably the EU would try to enforce it (and with it the necessary legislation).

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  19. Interesting to note Teresa May’s announcement that British Citizenship will no longer be a requirement for leadership positions in the police force. What are we to read from that about Conservative internal politics over nationality…

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  20. @ Jayblanc

    “What are we to read from that about Conservative internal politics over nationality…”

    More about the need to sort out the problem. I recently came across the following problem. To sign a passport photo for identity, one has to have a British or Irish passport in Britain, but it is not a requirement in NI (only residency) and for signing the photo for naturalisation purposes it is not a requirement at all…

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  21. On Wednesday David Cameron will give his speech to anti-EU Tory MPs & UKIP considerers. Why do I say that? Because the inference now is that the UK will not begin to negotiate anything with the EU until 2015 & DC’s speech will be little more than an announcement of a policy which will be in the Conservative 2015 manifesto.

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  22. @SoCalLiberal

    I can’t track down in Hansard where there were debates about the formation of Boundary Commissions, so I can’t really answer the original question about how controversial this was. The House of Commons (Redistribution of Seats) Act 1944, through to Representation of the People Act 1949 seems to be when it happened – there had been so many bills which to combine enlarging the francise with redrawing boundaries that I assume this was seen as a most practical way forward.

    Some on here did comment during the November elections about how in some states it seemed quite noticable that the GOP were getting a lot of congressional districts on small majorities, while Democrats were getting big majorities in a few districts. It may not be the best example (the Wikipedia page for Gerrymandering probably gives better examples) but just look at the shape of Forida’s District 5 – one Democrat seat surrounded by six Republicans.

    On the off-chance that you hadn’t seen this article, it seems to draw on a fair amout of reseach papers relevant to US redistricting, in comparison with other countries:

    h
    ttp://aceproject.org/main/english/bd/onePage

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  23. @SoCalLiberal

    I can’t track down in Hansard where there were debates about the formation of Boundary Commissions, so I can’t really answer the original question about how controversial this was. The House of Commons (Redistribution of Seats) Act 1944, through to Representation of the People Act 1949 seems to be when it happened – there had been so many bills which to combine enlarging the francise with redrawing boundaries that I assume this was seen as a most practical way forward.

    Some on here did comment during the November elections about how in some states it seemed quite noticable that the GOP were getting a lot of congressional districts on small majorities, while Democrats were getting big majorities in a few districts. It may not be the best example (the Wikipedia page for Gerrym@ndering probably gives better examples) but just look at the shape of Forida’s District 5 – one Democrat seat surrounded by six Republicans.

    On the off-chance that you hadn’t seen this article, it seems to draw on a fair amout of reseach papers relevant to US redistricting, in comparison with other countries:

    h
    ttp://aceproject.org/main/english/bd/onePage

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  24. @Laszlo

    You and I may see it as simply placing expedient and required practicality over nationality. Others may see it as debasing nationality for expedience.

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  25. A new thread.

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