Question: On the basis of what you know about the Government’s EU renegotiation plan, and your assessment of likely reactions to it here and abroad, are you more likely to vote to remain in or to leave the EU in the coming referendum?
When we last published results on our regular poll question to Party members about whether they are more likely to vote Remain or Leave in the EU referendum, 24 per cent lined up for Remain and 67 per cent for Leave.
Our last monthly poll was conducted the week before David Cameron’s negotiations with Donald Tusk produced draft proposals. It found 26 per cent for Remain and 67 per cent for Leave – in other words, no significant change.
So we re-ran the question in a special survey during the latter part of last week, after those talks, the publication of proposals, and the media reporting and commentary about both. We also put in, under the circumstances, a new “it makes no difference” category.
If you add the last figure to that for those likely to back Remain, you get 28 per cent (with rounding up) – pretty much the same figure as the Remain total last month.
That leaves the 71 per cent who are “more likely to vote for Britain to leave the EU”. This suggests that, in numerical terms, the Prime Minister’s renegotiation has made no difference whatsoever to the views of Party members and that, in political terms, it has received an unequivocal thumbs-down.
A word of caution. We do not yet have a formal deal for Cameron to throw his authority behind. It is reasonable to expect one to whittle down the Leave figure somewhat. And my sense is that this two-thirds-plus intention to back Brexit is on the high side.
None the less, the Prime Minister’s unfortunate remark last week about local Conservative Associations is in line with the headline point of our survey. More activists seem currently to be for Brexit than against it. It will be hard work for him to turn that round, if it can be done at all.