Brexit takes lead in new poll as concerns grow about young voter turnout

Posted On: 
3rd April 2016

Those calling for Brexit are four-points ahead of the campaign to remain in the EU according to a new poll, which suggests young voter turnout at the referendum could have a vital impact.

The EU referendum will be held on 23 June
PA Images

An online Opinium survey for the Observer found the Brexit campaign on 43% to Remain’s 39%.

Some 18% of voters were undecided, with 1% yet to clarify which side they support.

The poll also found that people in the 18-34 age group were nearly twice as likely to vote to remain in the EU, with 53% backing staying in and 29% against.

But only 52% of the demographic said they were certain to vote on 23 June.

In contrast, 54% of voters aged 55 and above said they wanted a Brexit with 30% looking to stay in a reformed European Union.

Of these people, 81% of the group were certain to vote in the referendum.

Adam Drummond of Opinium said: “This shows how important turnout levels are going to be, particularly given the disparity between how likely the young and the old are to vote.

“Young people are much more pro-EU but much less likely to bother voting, meaning that a key element of Remain’s coalition is looking flaky.”

A spokesperson for Britain Strong in Europe said: “Young people have the most at stake in this referendum. It is their futures that are on the ballot paper. We will leave no stone unturned in our bid to get young people out to vote.”

Tory MP Ken Clarke, who is backing the campaign to remain in the EU, expressed concern about the survey's findings.

“That poll is very worrying because it attributes that to the fact that young people have not been engaged in it and are unlikely to vote," he told Radio 5 Live Pienaar's Politics.

"This vote – it’s an extraordinary question to put [in a poll]… because it covers our foreign policy, industrial policy, monetary policy, fiscal policy for the next two, three generations for our children and grandchildren. Now it’s them who are going to be living with the consequences of the vote that seem least inclined to turn out to vote.

“I can’t think of a more disastrous way of resolving the future of the country. Of course the short-term effects of having Brexit in the present state of the global economy, the European economy, the British economy would be catastrophic.”


Elsewhere in the survey, 47% of voters said they believed Jeremy Corbyn was in favour of remaining in the EU, while 40% said they did not know his stance.

Some 12% claimed the Labour leader was in favour of leaving the bloc.

Meanwhile, 78% of voters said they were aware David Cameron wants to stay in a reformed EU.