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    Some interesting findings from the yougov EU referendum tracker.

    There has been a distinct shift in attitudes in the past few months towards being more likely to vote to stay in the EU in a referendum, despite the fact that the EU has been in the news more in the past few months particularly with the European elections.

    The first question is: If there was a referendum on Britain's membership of the European Union, how would you vote?

    Previously there had been a very big lead for the 'leave EU' option. In November 2012 it was 30% saying remain in EU and 51% saying leave EU. The lead was still 10 points at the start of 2014, but there has been a shift in opinions this year for some reason. Since March this year the tracker has been showing a narrow lead for remain in EU: at the moment it's 40-39, pretty much neck and neck. The don't know's have increased slightly.

    There is still all to play for if a referendum happens but something appears to have changed this year, possibly as a referendum seems more likely, that has eroded the leave EU lead. Some of those that used to say they'd vote to leave have switched to the don't know, and some have switched to remain in EU.

    The second question is: Imagine the British government under David Cameron renegotiated our relationship with Europe and said that Britain's interests were now protected, and David Cameron recommended that Britain remain a member of the European Union on the new terms. How would you then vote in a referendum on the issue?

    Here there's been quite a strong lead for remain in EU for a while. At the start of this year, it was 48% saying remain in EU, 29% saying leave EU. Now its 54% remain in EU, 23% leave EU.

    Interesting to see the potential influence people give David Cameron's recommendation. I think it's pretty certain that after the 'renegotiation', however cosmetic the changes are the PM will present this to the electorate as the right deal for Britain and recommend staying in. It would take a lot of political will for Cameron to recommend we leave the EU as then it would be painted as a failure on his part to secure a good deal for Britain.

    This does present a dilemma for the leave-EU movement as it shows they have a lot of work to do to win the referendum they have been calling for, and if there was a referendum where most people just took the PM's word for it and voted to remain in, it makes the leave-EU argument very difficult. Possibly kills it for about 30 years because staying in the EU will now have the legitimacy of a referendum.

    I am interested to see why public attitudes have become more favourable to staying in the EU this year, particularly in the period since March that has been where UKIP were dominating the headlines and there has been a rise of the right wing at the European elections. Possibly the UKIP effect has been divisive: they have rallied the committed leave-EU vote around them, but also some of the way they have presented themselves has not helped the cause with the wider electorate.
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    I think its inevitable we'll stay in. The EU is a complex issue and I don't think many people's view on it extend much beyond, undemocratic and essential for the economy. Things are looking up and Europe looks to be an important part of that compared to a while back where it was all over the place, and I think most people aren't willing to risk the economic security for the political side of things, the renegotiated membership question would seemingly confirm that. If people's worries over Britian's independence are calmed, its a clear in.

    I think its a while before the EU issue will come to a head. I do still think ultimately we are either going to leave or be the exception. The ultimate goal is a federalised Europe, which I don't think we are ever going to be part of. When it comes to losing the pound and handing over our taxation powers, I think the political side of things will be serious enough people are willing to risk it economically, and based on projections we'll probably have a lot more clout by the time that comes around.
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    This is clearly manipulated by the LibLabCon traitors and the Leftie-Liberal quisling MSM to disguise the fact that 99.99% of the population wish to see Bliar, Camoron and the entire EUSSR hung drawn and quartered by the Queen on Tower Bridge.

    Harrumph.
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    There will be no reform, Cameron knows that he will never get any meaningful reform and it will be easier for us to leave.

    If we don't leave we are heading towards a United States of Europe.
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    (Original post by Fizzel)
    I think its inevitable we'll stay in. The EU is a complex issue and I don't think many people's view on it extend much beyond, undemocratic and essential for the economy. Things are looking up and Europe looks to be an important part of that compared to a while back where it was all over the place, and I think most people aren't willing to risk the economic security for the political side of things, the renegotiated membership question would seemingly confirm that. If people's worries over Britian's independence are calmed, its a clear in.

    I think its a while before the EU issue will come to a head. I do still think ultimately we are either going to leave or be the exception. The ultimate goal is a federalised Europe, which I don't think we are ever going to be part of. When it comes to losing the pound and handing over our taxation powers, I think the political side of things will be serious enough people are willing to risk it economically, and based on projections we'll probably have a lot more clout by the time that comes around.
    Good post and I agree with your analysis there.

    I think if there's a Conservative government under Cameron that recommends staying in we will probably stay in unless something drastic changes. All three of the main parties will recommend staying in, the business community will recommend staying in and those that are calling for us to leave will be those at the fringes of the right and left: UKIP, the Daily Mail, some of the trade unions and Socialist Worker groups. As you say the issues are complex and I think a lot of those that don't already have a strong ideological position one way or the other just won't understand enough to make up their own mind and so will look at who is in each camp.

    Under a Labour government if there was a referendum the politics would be very different because the Conservatives would elect a Eurosceptic leader, the right wing press would unite behind him against Miliband, and so there would be a much stronger coalition against the EU and that could well result in a leave-EU verdict.
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    These polls need to be taken with a pinch of salt. The poll following Juncker's official appointment finds 47% want to leave and 39% want to remain in. Out of the 'don't knows', the majority (67%) are leaning towards voting to leave the EU.

    Even with the poll the OP posted, the latest shows a 1% difference between in and out. That's small enough to account for statistical error. In other words, too close to call. Also, the EU's official polling group - Eurobarometer - reveals the majority of Britain wants out.
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    Polls vary but yougov is a good survey company that does robust samples and tracks the same question over time rather than just running these one off polls. Any one poll could give a rogue result but when you track changes in the same poll over time you find the real story.

    Politicians will always say they take no notice of what the polls say if they don't like what they hear but deep down they do because polls generally tell it like it is.
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    A Labour victory next year would be the best news for Eurosceptics as it would discredit the Cameroon wing of the Tory Party and lead to an inevitable rightward shift. A 2020 general election under this scenario would quite probably present a clear choice between a pro-EU Labour Party and a Eurosceptic (as in "GET US OUT NOW!!!!!") Tory Party.
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    (Original post by MagicNMedicine)
    I am interested to see why public attitudes have become more favourable to staying in the EU this year, particularly in the period since March that has been where UKIP were dominating the headlines and there has been a rise of the right wing at the European elections.
    Probably because every second story isn't about their economies continuing to implode. Not that things are great now, but they stopped getting worse at least, and PIGS probably aren't going to default and destroy what is left of the world banking system. Possibly when the recession is 5 years or so behind us people will even start talking about joining the Euro again.

    What I think is much more worrying for the independence movement than the few percentage point drifts is the fact that introducing the 'renegotiation' produces such an enormous immediate shift, despite the fact that it isn't specified what, if anything, the renegotiation would provide. Pretty much no new information is added by this question yet it produces a 15ppt shift in voting intentions. That suggests most people don't really understand this issue, which makes it difficult to produce a stable majority in favour of a change to the status quo. Joining the EU would have had the same problem if we had voted on that, with a hostile government and establishment.

    For that reason, and some others, I don't think Britain is going to leave the EU until the government positively desires leaving. Cameron's government next term, if it materialises, will not, and so I think the chances of leaving are negligible. On the other hand, in the next 20 years there is going to be a crunch point where Britain either has to accept joining the Eurozone and probably major concessions on criminal justice and military and foreign policy, or accept a formal associate membership status. Associate member status sounds much more probable to me.

    I doubt anyone will campaign on the basis of wanting this change, but it will happen - whether the Conservatives or Labour happen to be in power at the time - and the de-facto withdrawal will happen much like the original entry, behind closed doors and without much public consultation or understanding. And when the sky is still in place the next morning most people will probably forget the EU exists.
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    (Original post by Observatory)
    Probably because every second story isn't about their economies continuing to implode. Not that things are great now, but they stopped getting worse at least, and PIGS probably aren't going to default and destroy what is left of the world banking system. Possibly when the recession is 5 years or so behind us people will even start talking about joining the Euro again.

    What I think is much more worrying for the independence movement than the few percentage point drifts is the fact that introducing the 'renegotiation' produces such an enormous immediate shift, despite the fact that it isn't specified what, if anything, the renegotiation would provide. Pretty much no new information is added by this question yet it produces a 15ppt shift in voting intentions. That suggests most people don't really understand this issue, which makes it difficult to produce a stable majority in favour of a change to the status quo. Joining the EU would have had the same problem if we had voted on that, with a hostile government and establishment.

    For that reason, and some others, I don't think Britain is going to leave the EU until the government positively desires leaving. Cameron's government next term, if it materialises, will not, and so I think the chances of leaving are negligible. On the other hand, in the next 20 years there is going to be a crunch point where Britain either has to accept joining the Eurozone and probably major concessions on criminal justice and military and foreign policy, or accept a formal associate membership status. Associate member status sounds much more probable to me.

    I doubt anyone will campaign on the basis of wanting this change, but it will happen - whether the Conservatives or Labour happen to be in power at the time - and the de-facto withdrawal will happen much like the original entry, behind closed doors and without much public consultation or understanding. And when the sky is still in place the next morning most people will probably forget the EU exists.
    I agree with this analysis.

    I think Cameron has pulled a good trick here. He wants to stay in the EU, he knows the eurosceptics main argument is "the British people haven't been consulted", but he also knows its a complicated issue that most people won't understand. So by offering a referendum but then claiming that there's been a renegotiation that means staying in is in Britain's interests, he drastically increases the chances of a stay-in-the-EU vote in a referendum. This then makes the eurosceptic argument much harder to make in the future: they will of course argue that the referendum was a sham because the renegotiation wasn't a renegotiation but this will look like clutching at straws.

    Where Cameron has possibly made a mistake is in the context of the Tory party: the party will rip itself apart over Europe and quite possibly split with the eurosceptic wing finding it unpalatable to remain in a Tory party advocating Britain staying in the EU.

    But going forward I think there will be a gradual drift in the EU towards greater focus on the Eurozone countries, and those outside will inevitably have some sort of associate status which ironically is what a lot of the eurosceptics would like us to have anyway. I think to be fully in we would probably have to join the Euro and I can't see the UK being in a position where joining the Euro would be attractive, any time soon.
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    (Original post by MagicNMedicine)
    I agree with this analysis.

    I think Cameron has pulled a good trick here. He wants to stay in the EU, he knows the eurosceptics main argument is "the British people haven't been consulted", but he also knows its a complicated issue that most people won't understand. So by offering a referendum but then claiming that there's been a renegotiation that means staying in is in Britain's interests, he drastically increases the chances of a stay-in-the-EU vote in a referendum. This then makes the eurosceptic argument much harder to make in the future: they will of course argue that the referendum was a sham because the renegotiation wasn't a renegotiation but this will look like clutching at straws.

    Where Cameron has possibly made a mistake is in the context of the Tory party: the party will rip itself apart over Europe and quite possibly split with the eurosceptic wing finding it unpalatable to remain in a Tory party advocating Britain staying in the EU.
    Can't really argue with that. Although I think he's played it in such a ham-fisted way that he has gained few of the advantages he could have and no doubt wanted to gain. The referendum pledges have been obviously forced and the pro-referendum movement doesn't trust Cameron, so none of this has won him many friends on that side of the table. On the other hand, the symbolism has angered the centrist base on whom he depends. It's become an inverse gay marriage for him: the people who would have decided their votes on the point of symbolism of gay marriage vs civil partnership are almost certainly not going to vote Tory anyway, but it upsets the blue rinse brigade who are actually a major component of the Conservative vote. Alienating friends without persuading or defeating enemies.

    Cameron could only have won doing this if he had led the charge on the referendum, rather than following it, which would at least have neutralised his enemies.

    What Cameron I think should have done in the circumstances he actually faced is argued for staying in the EU, if he believed that. What I read from the Juncker move, though, is that Cameron really believes there's a constituency on the continent for a looser union and not just ending, but seriously reversing integration, not for a select few but for all members. If that is true, then Cameron is one of the people who simply doesn't understand what is going on. That means he can and probably will make more actions that at least appear irrational, and that makes the scenario much more difficult to predict.

    But going forward I think there will be a gradual drift in the EU towards greater focus on the Eurozone countries, and those outside will inevitably have some sort of associate status which ironically is what a lot of the eurosceptics would like us to have anyway. I think to be fully in we would probably have to join the Euro and I can't see the UK being in a position where joining the Euro would be attractive, any time soon.
    I agree with that too. And I think it goes further: while associate status is the first step, since it's in everyone's interest for the change to not seem too fast or radical, if it's symbolically admitted we're not really in, do we really still want the customs union, omnilaws, and all associated baggage? Most people here - even EU supporters - seem to view that as some kind of entry fee, not a positive in itself. So if our fee leaves us standing at the door anyway, why not go EFTA like Iceland, or just bilateral trade agreements like Switzerland or South Korea?
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    Despite being somewhere between 'In' and 'Undecided' (albeit not for the reasons most people put across) I have never doubted that anything but an 'In' vote will occur. The issue of EU membership covers by their own admission 52 policy areas and is incredibly complex. While a vocal minority truly hates the EU for democratic, economic or immigration reasons (and probably outnumbers the federalists), i'd wager that an even larger number of people are either indifferent, undecided or simply not willing to take the risk and no matter what polls estimating how the 'Don't knows' will vote say, England is not a radical country and so I'd wager significant sums that the old adage would prove correct.. "Don't knows vote no (to change)". I think this will occur regardless of a renegotiation.

    Agree largely with other posts in this thread which are namely that the Tories will rip themselves apart (their is true hatred for the EU from some of the Ukip type MP's and I question whether they can keep it civil), I believe two MP groups have already formed with the numbers around 60 for 'In' and 130 for 'Out'.

    I also agree that the EU does desire to become a federal state and that at some point (it looks like a decade or two at the moment) we will have to be fully committed or leave. I don't really view that as a bad thing though since one of the EU's consistent problems is that they like half measures.
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    (Original post by Observatory)
    What Cameron I think should have done in the circumstances he actually faced is argued for staying in the EU, if he believed that. What I read from the Juncker move, though, is that Cameron really believes there's a constituency on the continent for a looser union and not just ending, but seriously reversing integration, not for a select few but for all members. If that is true, then Cameron is one of the people who simply doesn't understand what is going on. That means he can and probably will make more actions that at least appear irrational, and that makes the scenario much more difficult to predict.

    I agree with that too. And I think it goes further: while associate status is the first step, since it's in everyone's interest for the change to not seem too fast or radical, if it's symbolically admitted we're not really in, do we really still want the customs union, omnilaws, and all associated baggage? Most people here - even EU supporters - seem to view that as some kind of entry fee, not a positive in itself. So if our fee leaves us standing at the door anyway, why not go EFTA like Iceland, or just bilateral trade agreements like Switzerland or South Korea?
    I think that Cameron primarily wanted to rally his back benches, to go forward without a candidate was ludicrous and I think he's smart enough that if he really opposed Juncker that much then he'd have essentially selected a candidate last summer with Merkel and Hollande before the parliament selected theirs. I do agree though that he thinks there's a constituency that wants more of a trade agreement but like many skeptics on here I wonder if he makes the mistake of thinking it's larger than it is. Either that or he severely misjudged Merkel.

    I'm not so sure that would occur. While laws from Brussels and protectionism miff a few people the only issue that resonates on the EU is immigration and I don't see that changing. A lot of people really overestimate how much the sovereignty stuff appeals to the electorate I feel. Of course in such a scenario the fact that we have a loose arrangement may remove the need for a referendum if it were to occur on the grounds of representative democracy but that probably could not come from the right given that they've been banging on about how undemocratic not having a referendum is.
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    (Original post by Rakas21)
    I think that Cameron primarily wanted to rally his back benches, to go forward without a candidate was ludicrous and I think he's smart enough that if he really opposed Juncker that much then he'd have essentially selected a candidate last summer with Merkel and Hollande before the parliament selected theirs. I do agree though that he thinks there's a constituency that wants more of a trade agreement but like many skeptics on here I wonder if he makes the mistake of thinking it's larger than it is. Either that or he severely misjudged Merkel.
    He thinks it's larger than no one but us, so certainly he thinks it's larger than it is. As for dumping Juncker before the election...

    Spitzenkandidat process is popular in Germany (it is a German word after all), as it is regarded as a way of granting legitimacy to the EU institutions, including the Parliament but especially the powerful Commission. It was the Spitzenkandidat principle, more than anything else, that tied Merkel to Junker. This was a function of German internal politics. So this means selecting a different EPP candidate. Two problems with that. First, neither Cameron nor Hollande are members of EPP parties. Second, everyone expected Schulz to win, a German socialist. So who of the socialist Hollande or German Merkel are going to try to somehow unseat him in favour of a rival candidate selected by a prominent leader of (at that time) a small fringe party with no representatives from either country? And that's ignoring the fact that Schulz was a man of considerable power and influence in his own right; the President of the European Parliament, a position he has retained despite "losing" the election. This is just a silly idea and the fact that the Conservatives considered this (and things like it) suggests they just don't understand the EU at all.

    I'm not so sure that would occur. While laws from Brussels and protectionism miff a few people the only issue that resonates on the EU is immigration and I don't see that changing. A lot of people really overestimate how much the sovereignty stuff appeals to the electorate I feel. Of course in such a scenario the fact that we have a loose arrangement may remove the need for a referendum if it were to occur on the grounds of representative democracy but that probably could not come from the right given that they've been banging on about how undemocratic not having a referendum is.
    It's not about the electorate, it's about The People Who Matter*. These people want to be in the EU because, as I believe you said at one time in the past, they believe it will coalesce into a great power through which they can live out their childhood dreams of taking over the world global thermonuclear war writing angry memos to Syrian peasant militas or whatever. Once on the outside that is all gone. So why would even current Europhiles continue to support the associate membership? Of course, there will be a hard core holding on to any association in the hope of eventual readmission, but the other 70-80%?
 
 
 
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