Any referendum on a possible Brexit from the European Union (EU) would be far too close to call, according to a new opinion poll.
The survey, by Populus for the Financial Times, showed that 39 per cent of those polled would vote to leave the EU, with 40 per cent preferring to stay.
The anti-Europe party, Ukip, released its manifesto today, in which it set out policies which would be incompatible with EU membership, including restrictions on unskilled foreign labour.
The poll shows that, despite Ukip policies such as the above being rubbished by think tanks, a large proportion of the general public is likely to have sympathy with at least some of Nigel Farage’s ideas. Perhaps unsurprisingly, older participants in the Populus survey were more likely to be in favour of leaving. For those over 45, 47 per cent were in favour of a Brexit, with 35 per cent being against.
For those aged 18-44 the sentiment was reversed: 47 per cent were in favour of remaining, and 29 per cent wanted to leave. Anyone able to vote in the 1975 UK referendum on membership of the then European Economic Community would now be over 57, and firmly in the older category.
Any sympathy to Ukip’s cause is not likely to be enough however, as data from electionforecast.co.uk showed that Ukip is failing to win over supporters in its own target seats.