The rebellion that erupted in the British parliament within the ranks of the Conservative party over a referendum on the country’s membership in the European Union has caused pollsters to look again at where people stand on the question.
It appears that the mood is more in favour of having a plebiscite on EU membership, rather than a complete withdrawal.
“Polls successively over the years have shown public overwhelmingly want a say on continued membership of the EU, that’s not to say that they are supportive of a withdrawal… they just want their say,” says Andrew Hawkins, chairman of polling company ComRes .
While two thirds of the British public (68%) support the idea of a referendum on whether or not the UK remains a member of the EU, the general opinion is split 50-50 over a withdrawal from the EU, Mr. Hawkins told euronews’ London Correspondent Ali Sheikholeslami.
However, based on his experience, Hawkins said it is unlikely in a real referendum that withdrawal would win votes: “I suspect very strongly that the British people would vote to stay in the EU. It is simply too big a leap for them to take to say no we actually want to cut our ties with the EU. Once you scratch the surface, what the people actually want is to renegotiate the terms of membership.”
ComRes conducted 2001 online interviews among British adults between 21 and 23 October 2011. Data were weighted to be demographically representative of all British adults.
“The real shocking figure is that over half the British public feel that EU membership has been a costly mistake,” Hawkins said. The ComRes/ITV poll found that just one in four people (23%) agreed that overall, Britain’s membership of the EU has delivered more benefits than disadvantages to Britain.
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