Public support for remaining in the European Union has reached its highest level since the bloc's creation, according to a new poll of voters.
An Ipsos MORI survey found that 75 per cent of people now support Britain’s membership of the EU with only 25 per cent wanting to leave.
The latest poll, conducted for the Evening Standard newspaper, will alarm eurosceptic campaigners as the Government raises the prospect of an early EU referendum.
David Cameron is committed to holding a vote before the end of 2017 but hinted during a recent visit to the Latvian capital of Riga that the poll could be held early.
“The sooner we get on with this, the better,” he told reporters at the EU summit last month.
66 per cent of voters said they would stay and 22 per cent said they would leave if people who said they didn’t know were not excluded. The poll means support is higher than it has ever been since the creation of the EU in 1993.
The surge in support for EU membership may have mixed consequences for Mr Cameron, who is trying to convince other European nations to renegotiate rules on freedom of movement and social security.
The lack of a credible threat to leave could make it more difficult to the prime minister to force the hands of his counterparts to save the union.
UK negotiators will be keenly aware that high support levels early in the campaign could therefore potentially back-fire and lead the PM to not deliver the goods on EU reform.
A narrative of failure around renegotiation could then damage support for membership as the poll approaches.
The PM was however given a boost today after a right-wing government was elected in Denmark on a eurosceptic programme.
The high support for EU membership comes despite lurid headlines over Greece’s continued membership of the euro.
During the previous peak of the Greek crisis support for EU membership reached a nadir, but this effect has yet to re-emerge with the country teetering on the brink of default.
Join our commenting forum
Join thought-provoking conversations, follow other Independent readers and see their replies