Tuesday

20th Aug 2019

Poll shows UK support for EU at 20-year high

  • Britons favour retaining EU membership by a 20 percent margin, according to new research. (Photo: Valentina Pop)

The rise of the UK Independence party has coincided with increased support for Britain remaining part of the EU, according to a survey published on Wednesday (22 October).

Fifty-six percent of Britons would vote to stay in the 28-country bloc, the highest level since 1991, the survey by pollsters Ipsos Mori found. Thirty-six percent said they would vote to leave, while 8 percent were undecided.

Read and decide

Join EUobserver today

Support quality EU news

Get instant access to all articles — and 18 year's of archives. 30 days free trial.

... or join as a group

The data marks a big shift since the depths of the eurozone crisis in 2011 and 2012 when a narrow majority of Britons favoured leaving the EU.

More than three out of every four Labour and Liberal Democrat voters back EU membership, along with one in two Conservatives.

“There is a polarisation in views," said Ipsos Mori's head of research Gideon Skinner. "UKIP supporters are twice as likely to say Europe is going to be important to their vote in the next election and are much more sceptical, while supporters of the other parties put the issue lower down on their list and are more in favour of membership,” he added.

Meanwhile, 43 percent of the 100 respondents wanted Britain's relationship with the EU to remain unchanged or involve more integration, while one in three called for Britain to revert to purely economic relations with the other 27 countries in the bloc.

According to Ipsos Mori's data, previous peaks in public support for EU membership amongst Britons were in the early 1980s and then between 1989 and 1992, when Britain was part of the Exchange Rate Mechanism (ERM), the forerunner to the euro.

The recent surge in support for Nigel Farage's UK Independence party, just over six months ahead of next May's general election, has sent both the Conservative and Labour parties into panic.

Having topped the poll at the European Parliament elections in May, UKIP won its first MP in the House of Commons on a 50 percent swing at the Clacton by-election earlier this month, and is widely tipped to win a second MP in November. The by-elections were caused by Conservative MPs Douglas Carswell and Mark Reckless defecting to UKIP and prompting snap polls.

Fearful of further defections so close to next May's general election, David Cameron is under increasing pressure from his Conservative party to proposed a cap on EU migration.

Cameron is expected to set out his proposal on reforming EU migration controls before Christmas, Westminster sources said.

Labour, too, has vowed to re-examine the EU's rules on freedom of movement in a bid to assuage public fears about so-called 'welfare tourism', whereby migrants access the UK's social benefits system and free health service.

Analysis

Survey spotlights pro-EU Brits, anti-EU Italians

The good news was that over 50 percent of Europeans have a favourable view of the EU. The bad news that most Europeans still think that the EU is remote, doesn't listen and is inefficient.

Cameron faces new EU referendum backlash

Cameron is facing a eurosceptic backlash inside his Conservative party, amid reports that up to 100 of his MPs will vote for Britain's withdrawal.

EU ends silence on Hong Kong protests

The EU, in league with Canada, has spoken out on the Hong Kong protests after months of silence in what one expert called "a clear expression of support for the protesters".

Exclusive

Selmayr did not keep formal records of lobby meetings

The German former secretary-general of the European Commission held some 21 meetings which were registered in the lobby register. But no documents appeared to exist summarising what was said.

Exclusive

Selmayr did not keep formal records of lobby meetings

The German former secretary-general of the European Commission held some 21 meetings which were registered in the lobby register. But no documents appeared to exist summarising what was said.

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. UNESDAUNESDA reduces added sugars 11.9% between 2015-2017
  2. International Partnership for Human RightsEU-Uzbekistan Human Rights Dialogue: EU to raise key fundamental rights issues
  3. Nordic Council of MinistersNo evidence that social media are harmful to young people
  4. Nordic Council of MinistersCanada to host the joint Nordic cultural initiative 2021
  5. Vote for the EU Sutainable Energy AwardsCast your vote for your favourite EUSEW Award finalist. You choose the winner of 2019 Citizen’s Award.
  6. Nordic Council of MinistersEducation gets refugees into work
  7. Counter BalanceSign the petition to help reform the EU’s Bank
  8. UNICEFChild rights organisations encourage candidates for EU elections to become Child Rights Champions
  9. UNESDAUNESDA Outlines 2019-2024 Aspirations: Sustainability, Responsibility, Competitiveness
  10. Counter BalanceRecord citizens’ input to EU bank’s consultation calls on EIB to abandon fossil fuels
  11. International Partnership for Human RightsAnnual EU-Turkmenistan Human Rights Dialogue takes place in Ashgabat
  12. Nordic Council of MinistersNew campaign: spot, capture and share Traces of North

Latest News

  1. EU ends silence on Hong Kong protests
  2. Is Salvini closing just harbours or also the rule of law?
  3. No-deal Brexit would seriously harm UK, leaked paper says
  4. Selmayr did not keep formal records of lobby meetings
  5. EU asked to solve migrant rescue deadlock
  6. Internal EU paper: Second Brexit vote was no longer 'distant dream'
  7. EU has 'zero incentive' to break open 'trilogue' deals
  8. Denmark plans import ban on EU-approved pesticide

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us