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Brexit in the balance: Britain's older voters become more eurosceptic


2 min read Partner content

New poll reveals a swing towards euroscepticism among older voters.

An exclusive Populus poll for Saga has shown that 93% of over 50s plan to vote in the coming referendum.  Whilst there is still all to play for their opinion could have a significant impact on the result with anti-EU opinion amongst over 50s rising by three percentage points in just three months.

Asked how they would vote if an EU referendum were held tomorrow, Saga’s monthly poll of 9,042 respondents showed that 43% said they would vote to leave – up from 40% in October.  A further 14% were unsure – down from 15%.

The survey carried out between 15 and 22 December reveals the same percentage (43 %) would vote to stay in Europe – down from 45% in the previous poll.

Strongest support for Europe came from those in their 50s with 46% saying the UK should remain in the EU.  This falls to 39% for those in their 70s.

Support for EU membership is gender neutral (43% men c.f. 44% women).  However, men are more likely to have a negative view with 46% wanting to leave - compared with 38% of women.

Support for EU membership increases with socio-economic group – 50% of those in socio economic group AB support  EU membership, this declines to 27% amongst those in DE category.

Across the UK, Scotland’s older votes were the most pro-Europe with 58% saying they would vote in favour of saying in.  London was the most pro-EU region in England with 47% wanting to remain in the EU.

The most anti-Europe sentiment was expressed in East Anglia with 47% saying they would vote no, closely followed by the East Midlands and North East on 46%.  The region with the most that were undecided was the North West with 17%.

Saga’s director of communications Paul Green said: 

“These survey findings are very important for those campaigning for and against the UK’s membership of the European Union.  With more than nine out of ten over 50s planning to take part in the referendum (93%**) - compared to just over three -quarters (76%) of those aged 18-49, it will be how well the campaign groups make the case to the nation’s  over 50s that could determine the outcome of this referendum.”

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