Voters feel more strongly about leaving the EU than they do about staying, according to an exclusive ComRes poll for The Independent. Asked how they would feel in the event of a Leave vote on Thursday, 44 per cent said they would be “delighted”, whereas only 28 per cent would feel the same about a Remain vote.
And if there were a vote to Remain, 44 per cent said they would be “disappointed”, while only 33 per cent said the same about a Leave result.
When it comes to the strongest negative reaction, however, the two sides are evenly balanced, with 27 per cent saying they would be “terrified” if Britain votes to remain, and 28 per cent who say the same about a vote to leave.
In the only reaction that favours Remain, 41 per cent said they would feel “anxious” in the event of a Leave vote, more than the 33 per cent who would feel the same about Remain.
Polling was carried out online on Wednesday and Thursday this week, with 192 out of 2,046 interviews carried out after the news of the attack on Jo Cox, the Labour MP. Andrew Hawkins, chairman of ComRes, suggested that the attack might have influenced responses: “Not all respondents will have learned of the attack immediately, and the results should be taken with a degree of caution, but across all emotions reaction to a Leave vote was more negative among those interviewed after 2pm on Thursday.”
The poll also asked which factors were most important in helping to decide how to vote in the referendum. The opinions of financial institutions and “politicians I respect the most” came bottom of the list, named by 32 and 28 per cent as important, while "which side is best for future generations" came top, named by 79 per cent.
Significantly, the economy, including “my family’s financial situation”, and the NHS (72-76 per cent) came out well ahead of “which side I think will be best at reducing immigration” (59 per cent).
The riskiness of the outcome was important to 59 per cent, while “the best outcome for the whole of Europe” was important to only 44 per cent, and “which side is most patriotic” was important to 35 per cent.
The poll’s figures for how people would vote in a general election may be of more interest than usual, because an early election is possible if Britain votes to leave the EU. ComRes give the Conservatives a five-point lead, 34 per cent to 29 per cent for Labour, down from six points last month.
Ukip’s support has increased by two points to 19 per cent.
ComRes did not ask respondents how they intended to vote on Thursday, because the company believes that – on the EU referendum question – online polling is not as reliable as phone polling. The company’s final phone poll will be published on the eve of the referendum.
ComRes interviewed 2,046 GB adults online on 15 and 16 June. Full details on the ComRes website.
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