EU referendum: Election strategist Sir Lynton Crosby says vote is in the balance as risk remains key in winning support

James Nickerson
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Crosby said both campaigns need to become more personally relevant to voters (Source: Getty)

With less than 100 days to go until the EU referendum, the final outcome remains “in the balance”, Sir Lynton Crosby has cautioned.

Prime Minister David Cameron’s election strategist has said that the “key framework of the campaign is risk” and that “while much has been made of project fear, the reality is that voters see risk on both sides”.

Writing in the Telegraph, Crosby said: “The risk of leaving is the damage that could be caused to the UK economy. The risk of staying is the uncontrolled immigration that could result.”

The campaigns should take note of that because those who are undecided or may change their vote say their biggest hesitation to voting to Remain is immigration, while the biggest risk to those who are undecided or may change their vote is the potential damage to the economy.

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It’s also backed up by the fact under a third (31 per cent) of Remain voters are voting to secure the UK’s economic future, while just over a third (37 per cent) of leave voters are voting to secure the UK’s borders.

Yet Crosby said that many Leave voters do not believe their vote will make a difference, meaning their motivation for voting could tail off. Meanwhile, those who favour Remain largely believe the UK will vote to stay in the EU, meaning they may not turn up to vote.

“Poignantly, the challenge for both campaigns is the same: to raise the importance of the referendum outcome and demonstrate to their voters that there really is the potential for Leave to win,” he wrote.

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“One of the keys to winning a campaign is focusing on the strengths rather than the weaknesses that voters perceive,” he added. “For the Remain campaign this means demonstrating the importance of the economy, while for the leave campaign, this means demonstrating the impact of immigration. This is largely what we have seen so far.”

But what is missing is personal relevance to voters, which Crosby concluded may be reached by either side focusing on public services as it is only with a strong economy that you can pay for a good NHS, better schools, and more police. But it is also true that the more pressure you put on the NHS, schools, and the emergency services through greater use, the more they will suffer.

“What is clear is that this campaign has a long way to run, and despite what voters currently believe, the outcome really is in the balance.”

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