UK groups campaigning for Britain’s exit from the European Union (EU) extended its lead with two new opinion polls today indicating that most of the British wanted to leave from the 28-nation-bloc, a week ahead of the June 23 referendum.
An Ipsos MORI survey for the ‘Evening Standard’ newspaper shows those in favour of leaving the EU have now grabbed 53 per cent of the vote-share and those wanting to remain at 47 per cent. This gives Leave a 10 per cent lead compared to the previous poll, with Remain down 10 per cent.
Another phone-based survey carried out by Survation and IG found the Leave camp had extended its lead to 45 per cent with remain falling to 42 per cent.
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The figures just a week before the June 23 referendum will worry the “Britain Stronger in Europe” camp, led by British Prime Minister David Cameron.
The latest surveys resonate with the opinion polls in the past week by ORB, ICM, and YouGov, which also show the Vote Leave campaign gaining ground over Remain.
Supplementary questions in the polls indicate that key economic arguments made by Vote Leave are connecting with voters.
“The Leave campaign is getting their messages across, especially on the key public concern on immigration. But the Remain camp is finding it much harder to convince people that their core economic messages, both on the risks of Brexit and the benefits of staying, is going to have a personal impact on their lives,” said Gideon Skinner, Ipsos MORI head of political research.
The bookies have also slashed the odds on Brexit after a surge in bets on Britain voting to quit the EU.
William Hill, one of the UK’s leading bookmakers, was offering Leave odds at 11-8 and Remain odds at 4-7 today.
A William Hill spokesperson said: “We are taking a higher percentage of individual bets for ‘Leave’ than ever before, and a significantly lower percentage of the overall stake money is for ‘Remain’ than for nearly two months.”
Meanwhile, the clash between the two camps continued to intensify as senior Conservative party leaders accused the Bank of England and the UK Treasury of “peddling phoney forecasts” to scare people into voting to stay in the EU.
The UK Treasury has claimed a Leave vote would tip the UK into a year-long recession, while Bank of England governor Mark Carney has said the risks of leaving “could possibly include a technical recession”.
Cameron said: “It is deeply concerning that the Leave campaign is criticising the independent Bank of England. We should listen to experts when they warn us of the dangers to our economy of leaving the European Union.”
Former UK chancellors Lord Lamont and Lord Lawson and Conservative party leaders Iain Duncan Smith and Lord Howard wrote countered in a letter to the ‘Daily Telegraph’: “There has been startling dishonesty in the economic debate, with a woeful failure on the part of the Bank of England, the Treasury and other official sources to present a fair and balanced analysis.”