Supporters of Brexit are more likely to vote in the forthcoming referendum which could give the Leave campaign a decisive edge in the final result, a new Telegraph poll suggests.
Analysis of the survey by Sir Lynton Crosby shows that voters who want Britain to leave the European Union are more motivated than those who say they are in favour of staying in.
Writing exclusively for The Telegraph, the electoral strategist who helped secure David Cameron’s surprise win last year, says that victory now hinges on whichever campaign inspires people to turn out and vote
Writing exclusively for The Telegraph, the electoral strategist who helped secure David Cameron’s surprise win last year, says that victory now hinges on whichever campaign inspires people to turn out and vote.
Sir Lynton says that the final outcome “is in the balance” and that the choice facing voters is whether the economic risks of remaining in the EU are bigger or smaller than the implications of uncontrolled immigration.
He says that both campaigns should look to the impact of EU membership on public services if they are to convince the public of their arguments.
Sir Lynton writes that the Government’s “Project Fear” campaign may not ultimately prove successful because the public see risks in both leaving and staying in the EU.
Cameron’s adviser, who also helped Boris Johnson become London mayor and is close to both men, is not expected to join either campaign but will instead offer regular analysis for The Telegraph of opinion polls commissioned by the title.
Tuesday’s ORB poll finds that without taking into account people’s likelihood to vote, the campaigns are virtually tied, with Remain on 47 per cent and Leave on 49 per cent.
However, when likelihood to vote is taken into account, the Leave campaign would win on 52 per cent of the vote, with remain trailing on 45 per cent. It also reveals that one third of undecided voters (31 per cent) say their “biggest hesitation” in backing the Remain campaign is the “potential for uncontrolled or increased immigration” in the EU.
“Those voters who are undecided or likely to change their minds believe risks of both leave and remain to be real, and locked in deadlock,” Sir Lynton writes. “So how to increase the risk for one side or the other to get ahead? One way is to look to public services.
“The truth is that it is only with a strong economy you can pay for a good NHS, better schools, and more police. But it is also true that the more pressure you put on the NHS, schools, and the emergency services through greater use, the more they will suffer.”
Sir Lynton’s analysis of the poll will be closely watched in Westminster, where he is credited with not only Cameron’s 2015 victory but Boris Johnson’s two wins in the mayoral contest.
It came as David Cameron warned that Britain has just “100 days to secure our future” by voting to remain in the EU and that UK streets will be more dangerous if the country votes to leave.
Monday was also a day of further turmoil across Europe. Angela Merkel, the German chancellor, faced an electoral backlash over her immigration policies, while in Greece there were more chaotic scenes as migrants surged across a river border with Macedonia. Several refugees including a pregnant women drowned as they tried to force their way across the continent.
On Tuesday The Telegraph begins the first in a series of polls which seek to track the underlying mood of the nation on key issues around the referendum and the likelihood of people voting. Leave supporters are much more likely to say that they will get out and vote. According to the poll, 79 per cent of those intending to back a “Brexit” say they are certain to vote, with 72 per cent of Remain voters saying the same.
The analysis finds “a real risk” for Cameron’s campaign to keep Britain in the EU is “complacency” because over three quarters (76 per cent) of people expect the country to vote to stay in the bloc.
The survey also shows that Leave voters do not believe their vote will sufficiently affect the outcome of the vote, with 50 per cent believing the UK is likely to remain in the EU regardless.
Sir Lynton writes: “If as the election draws closer, Leave voters still do not believe their vote can affect the outcome, their engagement and motivation may tail off. Poignantly, the challenge for both campaigns is the same: to raise the importance of the referendum outcome and demonstrate to their voters that there really is the potential for Leave to win.”
Although the poll finds nearly a third of undecided voters are reluctant to vote for Remain because of concerns about immigration, a similar proportion of those undecided would be put off voting to leave because of the “damage it might cause to the UK economy”.
Sir Lynton writes: “While much has been made of ‘Project Fear’, the reality is that voters see risk on both sides.” (The Telegraph)