This morning there was a substantial YouGov poll on EU renegotiation in the Sun – the full tabs are here. YouGov have done regular tracker polls in the past on how people would vote in a referendum on the EU, which tend to show a slight majority for leaving as things are, but a hefty majority for staying in if David Cameron manages a renegotiation of some sort and recommends a yes vote. It raises the question though of what exactly would past muster as a renegotiation.

On the principle of renegotiation most people think it is desirable – three-quarters of people want to see some renegotiation of Britain’s relationship with the EU, but are split over how extensive it needs to be. 24% think our current relationship is broadly okay as it is, and just needs some reassurances and rule changes. 27% want to see more substantial renegotiation with opt outs or changes to EU powers. 25% think there needs to be massive and fundamental changes for EU membership to be in British interests. Asked what things they’d like to see as part of renegotiation, what powers they’d like to see returned, immigration unsurprisingly came out top (and the related issue of benefit rights for EU migrants came third).

However, whatever they might like to see, in practical terms only 15% think that other EU countries would agree to significant changes. 43% think only minor changes and clarifications are achievable, 24% think other EU countries wouldn’t agree to any changes at all.

So, how would people vote if there was only a modest renegotiation?

  • If David Cameron secures a major renegotiation of Britain’s relationship with the European Union, with substantial changes and opt outs then 52% of people say they would vote to stay in, 23% would still vote to leave.
  • Realistically however, the chances of David Cameron getting massive British opt outs are probably quite remote – more likely if it happens he’ll get some more modest rule changes and guarantees, but no major changes in which areas the EU has powers. In that scenario then the vote would be much closer – 39% say they would vote to stay, 38% would vote to leave.
  • Finally, if David Cameron secured no renegotiation at all and had to come back and hold a referendum on the relationship with the EU as it is now 32% say would vote to stay, 45% would vote to leave.

Of course, these are just snapshots of the present situation, not predictions of what would happen after a referendum campaign… a lot could change in an actual EU membership referendum campaign (remember early AV referendum polls!), but it underlines the importance of the renegotiation and how it ends up being framed in the public debate – a referendum in the wake of what is portrayed as a win that protects British interests would be very different from a referendum in the wake of a perceived failure to get a good deal for Britain.

Meanwhile, tonight’s regular daily YouGov poll for the Sun has topline figures of CON 34%, LAB 38%, LD 10%, UKIP 11%


174 Responses to “EU renegotiations and referendums”

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  1. “Asked what things they’d like to see as part of renegotiation, what powers they’d like to see returned, immigration unsurprisingly came out top (and the related issue of benefit rights for EU migrants came third)”
    _____

    Well its a bit late now, half of Eastern Europe are now in the EU with another 33 million about to join.

    On the benefits front. I don’t think the public will buy this 3 month malarkey for EU migrants, today they are 3 month sanctions for people who left a job voluntary although I don’t think it has been widely enforced,

  2. If there was a referendum on Britain’s
    membership of the European Union, how would
    you vote?

    The Scottish sample and it’s quite large only has 48% of Scots saying they would vote to stay in the EU and 33% wanting to leave with 15% undecided.

    Something for pro EU Salmond to ponder over?

  3. I wonder if Bulgaria is worried that 65 Million UK nationals can now swarm into their country.

    Incidentally people moving within the EU are not migrants it is a founding principle of the EU that Citizens of Member Country have free movement within it.

  4. “I wonder if Bulgaria is worried that 65 Million UK nationals can now swarm into their country”
    ____

    Not quite yet a few weeks to go although I can’t see them being as worried as the Spanish or French with all our older yins flocking over for the warmer climate.

  5. The 3-month benefit freeze as I understand it is only on job-seekers allowance. Nothing about child benefits etc, so EU immigrants can still claim for children they purport to have in theior own country.

  6. Good to see the under 40% are firmly in favour of staying in the EU even with no renegotiation. The over 60’s really are the selfish generation, most of the support for leaving is coming from them (62% out, 23% in), and of course they are more likely to think it won’t impact jobs – because they are mostly retired.

    We really do need to get the younger people out to the polls and voting so we can get a government focusing on policies that will grow our economy and not destroy it.

    I guess time will take care of that as these older folk are eventually replaced via generational churn.

  7. Oops, posted in the wrong thread:

    “The Mirror is rather strident in its headline today. Wonder if the food bank debate will become a big thing? https://pbs.twimg.com/media/BbzTrYMCQAA36Ef.png:large

  8. ALLAN CHRISTIE

    Re the geographical cross-breaks

    Discounting those who won’t vote, the cosmopolitan Scots would vote 50% to stay in the EU compared to only 34% voting to leave.

    That’s a little more pro-EU than cosmopolitan London with only 49% wanting to stay as opposed to 34% wanting to leave.

    Of course, these areas only make up 22% of the sample, so will be massively outvoted by the rest of England (with their appended Wales :-) ) where EU support is only 28% as opposed to 37% against staying in.

    It would seem, therefore, that your suggestion of pondering by party leaders on the EU issue is least appropriate for Salmond (and Harvie and Lamont and Davidson and Rennie)!

  9. Correction

    36% of the rest of England are for staying in EU, with 48% against.

    As AW has frequently pointed out, in polls people are normally largely in favour of referendums, where they can directly influence the decision (unless of course, they fear that they might lose!)

    In that context, the support for the Cameronian line is interesting. “Firm Ins” are against the renegotiation/referendum line by 49% to 42%, while “Firm Outs” are supportive by 64% to 27%. The largest support comes from the “Swing Voters” – 85% to 10%.

  10. I’ve been going over the EU poll over in my head while walking the dog this morning.

    If I were Mr Cameron, I would be very, very worried. The changes to be made to benefits system (with the support of Labour and the Lib Dems) for EU Migrants look to be minor tinkering. If my ‘EU’ compass was pointing to Mr Farage’s position, then I would consider the proposals to be totally inadequate and would prove that the only party who would offer a vision of Europe I support, is UKIP.

    Of course,a full public debate on this would probably reduce Labour VI a touch, but the breakdown of the poll by 2010 voter ID shows Conservative voters to be more likely to be attracted to UKIPs position than Labour.

    Labour are roughly 5 points ahead. The Conservatives need about a 3 point lead over Labour to tie on seats. The mathematics become even harder if, as I expect, this debate is likely to draw some Conservative VI to UKIP, given the debate up to the Euro elections.

    I think that a campaign by the Conservatives to take UKIP on over the EU would most likely be counter-productive for them. If I were a bookie, every day of such a campaign would result in me shortening Labour’s odds of winning in 2015 and lengthening those of the Conservatives.

    I think Mr Cameron best tactic is not have such a fight, and campaign on anything but the EU.

  11. Latest YouGov / The Sun results 18th December – Con 34%, Lab 38%, LD 10%, UKIP 11%; APP -27

    Five poll rolling average:

    Con 34
    Lab 38.8
    LD 9
    UKIP 11.8

    Lab Lead 4.8

  12. @Steve – “Incidentally people moving within the EU are not migrants it is a founding principle of the EU that Citizens of Member Country have free movement within it.”

    That’s an interesting point, which shows the disparity between EU theorists and normal people. Of course foreign nationals are migrants. A technical classification based on a legal treaty agreement frankly passes most normal people by.

  13. Alec
    I am entirely normal it isn’t a theory it is a fact.

    If in 2014 the Scots decide to opt for independence will the Million odd Scots in England and the 600,000 odd English People in Scotland suddenly be branded as foreigners and economic migrants in these respective countries will there be concerns about child benefit being paid to Children in England of People working in Scotland and vice versa?

    It’s a bit of a rhetorical question because apart from the abnormal most will understand that while we may be then separate countries we will have common interests and an interlinked society in the same way as few people label Republic of Ireland residents in the UK (all 533,000) as Foreigners or economic migrants.

    The Country which has benefited most by the free movement of People in the EU based on the number of it’s citizens who have taken advantage of it is the UK.

    Pulling up the Drawbridge to Fortress Britain or England or Oxfordshire or your Road is negative and retrogressive.

    1000 Years ago people in villages throughout Britain considered that if you lived too more than the distance permitting you to travel to and from a market in a day you were a foreigner,do you want to go there again?
    There is no where in Europe which wouldn’t meet this criteria now.

    I would contend normal people don’t want this to happen.

  14. @Richard – fpt

    In 2009 Green’s share of the vote was 8.1% in EU Parliament elections (2 seats)… compare this to LD’s 13.8% (11 seats). YouGov had LDs polling at 19% on that day.

    In the 2013 locals LDs held on in areas where their support is concentrated (profiting from a Tory/UKIP split), but my hunch is that Greens were able to make headway in areas where LD aren’t now in contention… mopping up some LDs who weren’t prepared to back Labour.

    If I was Ed Miliband I’d be offering Caroline Lucas a cabinet seat in the “greenest government ever” (lol). She has had enough time as MP and MEP to know what can be acheived and how to go about it, plus she’s no longer party leader. Holding her seat would be a whole lot easier with some cooperation from Labour; Greens would then be able to concentrate their efforts on making a couple of gains elsewhere.

  15. Steve,

    Large numbers of Brits already live in Bulgaria, so I don’t think there are any restrictions to remove. There is no official number, but estimates suggest the number is comparable to the number of Bulgarians currently in the UK.

    I’ve not heard of any negative feeling toward Brits in Bulgaria but of course they are vulnerable to any backlash if hostility to Bulgarians over here increases.

  16. Richard
    As one of the generation you call selfish, and wish to die off, it probably comes as no surprise to find that I have no intention of dying off soon despite my cancer, nor do I agree we are selfish generation although I would agree that in some ways we are the lucky generation. Has it not occurred to you that with age comes a certain degree of wisdom. We were conned by Ted Heath into thinking we were going into a truly free market, but having seen the development of the EU over the years we can now see it for what it is, a bloated, over regulated bureaucracy, which is so corrupt that the books have never been approved by its auditors. The EU is bad for Britain and bad for Europe as an increasing number of its citizens perceive.

  17. Taking Anthony’s observation on polls on referenda – I think in the autumn of 1974 the polls favoured withdrawal from common Market around 60 – 40 which was almost the exact reverse of what happened in 1975 vote.

    To be honest the problem with this business may be that it will resolve nothing much and ultimately strengthen UKIP. Tactical referenda solve a party’s immediate political problem viz Wilson and Labour in 1970’s but at the end of the day those opposed to the EU and all it pomps will never be reconciled and it is a problem that the party ultimately must resolve internally – as Labour did in the 1980’s over the first of its a long decades out of power.

    At the end of the day the big trading blocks want bigger trading blocks and the EU makes geopolitical sense & our biggest ally wants us inside the tent – not outside ….I’ll avoid LBJ’s colourful analogy in its entirety.

    If I do not post before Merry Christmas and all the usual benedictions in this season of good will. I am very grateful for the postings on this site which are often thought provoking and interesting….not least Anthony’s….

    john

  18. “I guess time will take care of that as these older folk are eventually replaced via generational churn.”

    Or death, as its commonly known.

  19. @CMJ

    Interesting thoughts. I must get a dog.

    “If I were a bookie, every day of such a campaign would result in me shortening Labour’s odds of winning in 2015 and lengthening those of the Conservatives.”

    Just a thought from looking at how Lab and Con are dealing with the SNP. Cameron can’t very well stop Farage from doing his stuff, so adding my logic and your logic suggests that Cameron’s fortunes are not looking good. Should that happen, perhaps UKIP support will swell, and Miliband will have to offer a referendum in his 2015 manifesto (I’m pretty sure that the next party/politician to offer one and not deliver will suffer).

    In that sense, it seems Miliband has to not overdo the EU issue, lest he end up facing it himself.

    “I think Mr Cameron best tactic is not have such a fight, and campaign on anything but the EU.”

    Personally, I think all parties should face up to the issue, the people and the problems that come with running a country. They have been dodging this EU for 40 years (arguably), and should put it to bed. If the advantages far outweigh the disadvantages, they should say so. If that’s not the case, they should say so. In that sense, it’s very much like the ‘does Scotland subsidise, or get subsidised?’ issue. Too many opinions and not enough facts for people to decide (and I get the feeling that some like it that way for it to be going on this long).

  20. Hal
    Thanks for that.

    I wonder if they have the equivalent of a Farage scaremongering about potential movements of entire populations and a press twittering on about swamping and torrents and benefit scroungers

    IMO There is a worrying trend in the rise of quasi Xenophobic, nationalists parties in Europe ranging from the relatively moderate UKIP to the extreme Golden Dawn

  21. @RICHARD
    Wheteher we are the selfish generation or just – as TOH says – lucky, I don’t know.
    That aside I completely agree with you. For all its faults I’m a great supporter of the EU (despite having voted against it back then) and will be till the day I generationally churn.

  22. TOH
    I can only totally agree with your post at 9.04 particularly regarding your comment on Heath who not only misled the country about his European ambitions but was actually the worst Tory PM since Balfour (to whom incidentally I am distantly related). His constant U turns in government showed up his lack of commitment to any position that turned out to be difficult. It wasn’t much of a choice in those days, the alternative being Wilson the paranoid Fence sitter!

  23. Interesting how people are keenest on renegotiating the very things in Europe that are going to be non negotiable. Freedom of movement and residence is one of the key pillars of the EU

    There is very little likelihood of raising expectations of these things changing in advance of any referendum, so the Conservatives are only storing up trouble for themselves due to the disappointment factor.

  24. @RosieandDaisie

    “I guess time will take care of that as these older folk are eventually replaced via generational churn.”
    Or death, as its commonly known.”

    Death is no laughing matter, but I did chuckle, as I often do, at your post.

    Anodyne euphemisms are all the rage nowadays in the world of corpo-speak. In the business I work in there are plenty; “development opportunity” for demotion, “downsizing” for firing groups of workers, “outsourcing” for getting somebody else to do the work so you can “downsize” etc etc.

    We should all be eternally grateful that great poets like Dylan Thomas didn’t mangle the English language in such a way. “Rage, rage against the generational churn” doesn’t sound quite as good as “Rage, rage against the dying of the light” in his wonderful poem, “Do not go gentle into that good night.”

    @Anthony,

    What have you done to me? You’ve drained me of all my vivid colour and I feel somewhat anaemic now! I was much happier when I was red in both tooth and claw!!

  25. R&D “Or death, as its commonly known”

    I prefer to say, “gone to vote in the great polling booth in the sky”.

  26. ”Rage, rage against the generational churn,
    For it’s utterly unaffected by the money that you earn.
    In our neo-liberal paradise it’s simply unacceptable
    That free market economics can’t buy off that last receptacle.”

  27. Robert Newark

    Thanks I have often noticed we are in agreement. Yes, I think Heath was a truly awful Tory leader and I loved and totally agree with your description of Wilson.

  28. Colin Davis

    The original poem was much better. It sounds as though life has treated you badly, I hope not and wish you well for the future.

  29. Oh, thank you, TOH. I’m really touched – as indeed Dylan would have been. (Has perhaps a sense of humour escaped you, though – just for a few moments over Christmas?)

  30. Colin Davis

    Not so, but I am with Crossbat11, the original Dylan Thomas poem is so good that to paridy it is like sacriledge.

  31. Ooh, the circle turns

    Wilson – Fence Sitter
    Heath – U-turns
    Callaghan – Lib/Lab pact
    Thatcher – No, No, No.

    Blair / Brown – Fence Sitters (in that they ignored the referendum)
    Cameron – Does the odd U-turn
    Miliband / Clegg – Lib/Lab pact?
    (___________) – No, no, no.

    I’ll take a punt at Miliband / Alexander in 2015, and Gove in 201?, depending on the Lib/Lab pact’s length of service.

    Now that’s all we need. A Conservative from Scotland. :))

  32. Is it such a terrible thing to be a fence sitter?Elizabeth 1st was famous for just
    That and yet she is claimed to be one of our greatest monarchs.Sometimes
    Fence sitting is pragmatism.

  33. TOH

    Is that your own attempt at parody, or just sacrilege?

  34. Norbold

    Sorry if my spelling offends you but I suffer from mild dyslexia as most who post on here know.

  35. Anne in Wales

    pragmatism is fine provided you do make a decision eventually and in time for it to be effective. Not how I, or I suspect Robert see Wilson’s time in office.

  36. There is no doubt in my mind at least that Ed Miliband’s announcement of an energy price freeze was politically astute. Whether it was economically literate I leave to others to judge. For a time it halted the decline in the lead Labour have enjoyed in the polls but now it appears that the previous trend has reasserted itself which in the light of the signs of life in the economy is not surprising. However having stated the obvious does not lead me to conclude that matters will now follow a predictable pattern up to and including the next election. There are a number of assumptions that some people make which in my view are a hostage to fortune. These include

    1 That the current Labour share of the vote ( 38%) is cast in tablets of stone and is therefore the minimum Labour will get at the election because left wing Liberal Democrats have nowhere else to go. I agree only that the latter are unlikely to return to The Lib Dems in significant numbers any time soon but these people are not sheep; if they do not find Labour’s economic policy & leadership convincing then large numbers of them may not vote at all. 38% is not a done deal.

    2 Likewise the assumption that the government of the day must recover from the ‘traditional’mid term blues is also misplaced. Today Tory voters not only have an alternative vehicle in the presence of UKIP but to me seem less inclined than in the past to actually turn out and vote on the day. Fear of the opposition won’t be enough to galvanise Tory voters into the ballot booth-to that extent tribal politics is not the force it once was. I know of several Tory inclined voters in my street who could not be bothered to vote in 2010-and this in a 4 way marginal seat!

    3 For all the misery of their poll ratings the Lib Dems are not going to surrender seats at the next election easily. They are tenacious fighters. And if the government do get credit from the voters for the economy why should the Lib Dems not share in that . Who says that only the Tories will get a boost?

    4 Personalities count more than they used to do although we are still far from presidential style elections. Whilst straining to avoid being partisan I do feel that Labour’s front bench is not firing on all cylinders. What has happened to Ed Balls? For a man with a double first and no lack of self confidence he has been surprisingly under par for much of the year at the dispatch box. Bringing back Alastair Darling would greatly improve Labour’s election prospects as well as preventing George Osbourne from dominating the economic debate.

    But as I have said before the result of the next election is wide open. The opera ain’t over until the fat lady sings-and she has not yet actually opened her mouth !!

  37. TOH & ROBERT

    Heartily concur with you both.

  38. Nick P

    Liked your ““gone to vote in the great polling booth in the sky”.
    I wonder when I eventually get there if I will find a party and leader that I can vote positively for as to my usual voting to keep out a party. I expect so.

  39. @Statgeek

    I agree we need to sort our relationship with the EU, look at the United Kingdom etc.

    I think the whole establishment is terrified to open the pandoras box. Our reltionship with the EU isn’t right. The regional forces the UK are unstoppable. Our political system is tarnished and increasing distant from real people. The old parties are tired dinosaurs.

    Once we begin to really look at the world, and we want from it, the establishment parties are dead in their current form. I think our electoral system would need to change.

    Are Cameron, Miliband and Clegg a trio of King Canutes?

  40. catmanjeff

    Your last sentence may well be right.

  41. NICK KEENE

    @”For a time it halted the decline in the lead Labour have enjoyed in the polls but now it appears that the previous trend has reasserted itself”

    My impression too.

    I would add that throwing Construction Companies into the pot along with Energy Companies & Telecoms companies begins to look like a rather simplistic attack on “Profit” per se, and the Private Sector in general.

    One wonders whether this is wise given his mistaken belief that the Private Sector would/could not replace the Public Sector job cuts.

  42. CB11
    @”What have you done to me? You’ve drained me of all my vivid colour and I feel somewhat anaemic now! I was much happier when I was red in both tooth and claw!!”

    I suspect that you only have yourself to blame.

    I must say, the inability to filter scan on the basis of coloured background & name is causing a degree of re-adjustment in reading here.

  43. @Nick Keene

    “That the current Labour share of the vote ( 38%) is cast in tablets of stone and is therefore the minimum Labour will get at the election because left wing Liberal Democrats have nowhere else to go.”

    September this year we had the polls going 37, 37, 36, 35, while the Con VI went 34, 33, 36, 34. The 38% level is solid, but it isn’t solid if the economy and the political fortunes of the Conservatives pick up in the next 12 months.

    I think I predicted 35/35 in 2015, just to be non-partisan and divisive :)) To be honest I can see Labour getting anywhere between 32% and 44% and the Conservatives getting 30% to 40% (I doubt even the economy will be more generous to them), but they have to go out and win it. At present it’s theirs to lose.

  44. @TOHoward
    No, it’s not right. Canute knew what he was doing, and that the tide would come in.

  45. Dave

    I think they do all realise the old 2 or 3 party thing is on its way out

  46. @MrNameless

    The Commons was atrocious yesterday & for the SoS & his team to sneak out 15 minutes after McVey (careful, must not call her by her commonly known title) had finished her speech & not listen to the debate was disgraceful.

    The front page of the Mirror should remind our MPs that they can be seen & heard by the very people they expect to vote for them.

    Did you also see that one third of disabled tenants who had applied for discretionary housing payments to help with the cost of the bedroom tax, had been rejected ?

  47. Hi Nick Keene:

    ”That the current Labour share of the vote ( 38%) is cast in tablets of stone and is therefore the minimum Labour will get at the election because left wing Liberal Democrats have nowhere else to go. I agree only that the latter are unlikely to return to The Lib Dems in significant numbers any time soon but these people are not sheep; if they do not find Labour’s economic policy & leadership convincing then large numbers of them may not vote at all. 38% is not a done deal.”

    Fair point at the end there. But it’s not hard to show that austerity is not the only option, or (morally) that austerity means pain and that some shoulders are better able to bear pain than others. Also, the 38 per cent aren’t interesting because they are a number. They are interesting because they have been so constant. So it’s more likely (isn’t it|?) that Labour would have to shoot itself in the foot to achieve the outcome of which you speak. Labour could of course do that. That’s the future for you. But I wouldn’t found my hopes on it if I were a right-winger.

    And hi Nick and Statgeek:

    ”For a time it halted the decline in the lead Labour have enjoyed in the polls but now it appears that the previous trend has reasserted itself which in the light of the signs of life in the economy is not surprising.”

    ”The 38% level is solid, but it isn’t solid if the economy and the political fortunes of the Conservatives pick up in the next 12 months…”

    I can see the Conservative fortunes picking up if they manage to sell ‘the economy has turned around’ effectively. It isn’t only the Tories who will campaign between now and 2015, however, and that story is questionable. So, if the constancy of Labour’s 38 really does indicate a group of people who find neo-liberalism (and the way austerity has been achieved) unpalatable, a rise in Conservative fortunes is unlikely to shift them, isn’t it?

    The weakness in my position is going to lie in the fact that I haven’t explained the constancy of Labour’s 38 per cent correctly – and that, of course, is very possible.

  48. “Gove in 201?”
    I feel generational churn coming on in 201?-1

  49. Colin Davis

    You cannot help injecting “morally or morality* into your posts. I think it perfectly possible to claim that austerity is moral in the current circumstances.

    “So, if the constancy of Labour’s 38 really does indicate a group of people who find neo-liberalism (and the way austerity has been achieved) unpalatable, a rise in Conservative fortunes is unlikely to shift them, isn’t it?”

    Your assuming the current Labour 38% all think likeyou I am sure a lot don’t and its that group that will cause the drop to nearer 30% as we approach the election for the reasions i gave yesterday. IMO of course

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