Despite the majority of the media tending to favour Brexit, and a more dynamic Leave campaign, the signs are that voters will choose to remain in the European Union on 23 June. The betting markets continue to think so. As with the Scottish Referendum, there will be plenty of spills and thrills along the way – including polls showing Leave ahead. But as we get closer to the date of the referendum, it is still likely that the undecideds and uncertains will switch to staying with the status quo – a common pattern in referenda. Out of those who are uncertain, or undecided, well over six in 10 say they tend to favour staying in the EU. The challenge that the Remain camp has is whipping up enough fear, and authority figures, to get those for whom this isn’t the be all and end all to the ballot box, as Remain voters are younger and less motivated than generally older Brexiteers. But fear is probably the best way to get them moving.
John Curtice, senior research fellow at The UK in a Changing Europe programme and at NatCen Social Research, says No.
If the Remain side’s Project Fear is working, support for Remain should be increasing. Of that there is little sign. During March, eight polling companies conducted at least one poll of voting intentions using the same method as they did in February. These eight put Remain on average on 53 per cent in February, Leave on 47 per cent (once Don’t Knows are left to one side). In March, these polls put Remain down slightly on 52 per cent, with Leave enjoying 48 per cent support. Of particular disappointment to Remain have been the results of recent polls conducted by phone. Hitherto, these have suggested (unlike polls done over the internet) that Remain enjoys a comfortable lead. Remain scored 59 per cent in these polls in February. They still put Remain ahead, but now point to a much tighter contest – Remain 55 per cent, Leave 45 per cent. And with 54 per cent support for Remain, yesterday’s poll in the Telegraph is consistent with that picture. Project Fear is simply not delivering its supposed dividend.