Brexit support slides in leave-voting region: poll
An English region that could be crucial to a Conservative election victory and voted leave in the June 2016 referendum has swung against Brexit, according to a poll.
A YouGov survey said voters in the southwest now opposed Brexit amid the chaos of the negotiations and the mounting prospect of a no deal.
The poll, commissioned by the pro-EU People’s Vote campaign for another referendum, found a greater proportion of people wanted another chance to vote on Brexit, by a margin of 42 per cent to 35 per cent.
Meanwhile, the opposition Labour Party has been considering how to head off a concerted attempt by remain-supporting members to stage a vote at its annual conference calling for a second referendum, to avoid what would be an embarrassing defeat for leader Jeremy Corbyn.
And the president of the Royal Society and Nobel Prize-winning biologist Venki Ramakrishnan, meanwhile, said a no-deal Brexit would hammer the UK science industry.
YouGov asked respondents how they would vote if a fresh referendum were held and 46 per cent said they would remain, 43 per cent opted for leave and 6 per cent said they did not know and 6 per cent said they would not vote.
When don’t knows and would not vote were excluded, 51 per cent said they would vote remain, while 49 per cent claimed they would still vote leave.
At the 2016 referendum, around 53 per cent of voters in the southwest voted leave, while 47 backed remain.
The west country was seen as key to the surprise Conservative majority victory in the 2015 general election as the Liberal Democrats lost all of their 15 seats.
In 2017 the Tories held 47 seats in the southwest while losing four, three to Labour and one to the Liberal Democrats.
Peter Kellner, ex-YouGov president, said the poll was the first “significant test” of the southwest’s opinion on Brexit since the 2016 referendum and demonstrated that “attitudes are beginning to shift”.
The poll said 42 per cent of people would support a referendum when negotiations with Brussels were completed and 35 per cent said they would oppose it.
If talks broke down and the UK has to pick between staying in the EU or leaving without a deal, 47 per cent said they would prefer another vote while 27 per cent said they wanted MPs to decide.
“Voters in the southwest support a People’s Vote on any final Brexit deal negotiated by the government by a clear margin which rises much higher with the prospect of leaving the EU without any deal,” Kellner added.
“Opinion is still very polarised with big differences between the views of young people and older voters but it is interesting to see how many leave supporters have concerns about the possible impact of Brexit on their region.
“And the findings will put pressure on political parties as well. Labour voters in the southwest are at odds with their party’s official pro-Brexit position and this poll will make uncomfortable reading for local MPs who are toeing the party line.”
Pressure is growing for a people’s vote to be held in the new year. Picture credit: Eurasia Times