— Mike Smithson (@MSmithsonPB) May 19, 2015
On the face of it the numbers look good for STAY but are they?
One of the things that the Tory victory on May 7th ensures is that during this parliament there will be an in/out referendum on Britain’s membership of the EU. The question is which way will it go?
A big campaigning lesson from the general election was how successfully the Tories were able to deploy the fear of the unknown factor in the closing few days. Labour and the Lib Dems in seats they were defending were simply not prepared and had no answer.
The same, I’d suggest, could happen in the coming EU referendum. When faced with a choice between the status quo and the unknown British voters have a long record of opting for the former. Fears about what tomorrow could bring are a very powerful campaign message and will be used extensively by those wanting us to stay.
The polls above, only one of which was carried out after GE15, presents a fairly consistent picture although in today’s context people will rightly question the validity of all political polling.
A factor that could change everything, of course, will be how Cameron’s negotiations with other European leaders on the where Britain has specific concerns are seen to have gone. My guess is that he’ll seek to present the the outcome as showing that sufficient progress has been made to enable him to report things in a positive light. If Cameron recommends LEAVE then in the current context that could happen.
One problem with referenda is that the actual issue being voted upon is sidelined and it becomes a vote on something else.
The bookies make STAY the 4/7 favourite.