Tuesday 8 March 2016 9:35 am

EU referendum: Low turnout on the vote feared by pressure group as just 16 per cent of public feel informed

Low turnout is feared in the impending EU referendum, as the public is ill-informed about the consequences, according to the Electoral Reform Society.

New polling shows that just one in six people feel well informed about the upcoming EU referendum, as 12 per cent feel "well informed" and a further four per cent feel "very well informed" about the vote on 23 June.

"These figures are a wake-up call to politicians, parties, public bodies and everyone involved in the referendum to do all they can to boost public knowledge and engagement in this crucial vote," said Katie Ghose, chief executive of the Electoral Reform Society.

Read more: EU referendum: Can we trust the numbers?

She added: "People want a real, informed debate about Britain’s relationship with the European Union, so let’s give it to them."

The Electoral Reform Society said there is a link between how informed people feel and their likelihood of voting.

The BMG Research polling also found that over double the number of 55-64 year olds feel well informed about the referendum compared to 18-24 year olds, suggesting that young people will be less likely to vote on polling day.

Read more: In the EU debate we should be wary of apocalyptic predictions

And men are also twice as likely to feel well informed than women.

The warning comes just weeks after the campaign proper kicked off, after Prime Minister David Cameron returned from Brussels with agreement from EU leaders on his proposals. 

The Remain campaign has regained the lead in early polling, yet this may not be a solid indication of how the referendum turns out. 

"The campaigns have a responsibility to listen to voters and engage with them, as well as broadcast their views. And in a close referendum, turnout will be key – so it’s in the campaigns’ interest to provide a platform for a rich and stimulating debate," Ghose added.