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How would the public vote on the EU Referendum depending on David Cameron’s re-negotiations?

On 3 February 2016, European Commission President Donald Tusk released a draft decision regarding the EU’s re-negotiation with the UK in response to Prime Minister David Cameron’s demands ahead of an EU referendum. This draft proposes imposing an “emergency brake” on in-work benefits for EU migrants, giving more power to national parliaments to block EU laws, exempting Britain from the EU principle of “ever-closer union” between member states in future treaties, and promising to make the EU more competitive.


In a poll conducted from 15th-16th January 2016 on behalf of the Mail on Sunday, Survation asked 1,017 UK adults about their attitudes regarding the upcoming European Union referendum and the negotiations. A report on this survey can be found here, with full data tables here.


This poll found that 38% of likely voters would vote for the UK to remain in the EU, 42% would vote to leave, and 21% were undecided.

EU Ref full size

In this poll, we also asked participants about a hypothetical deal package, similar to that proposed by Mr Cameron and Mr Tusk. The question read:

David Cameron may secure a deal with Brussels along the following lines: curbing the benefits received by EU migrant workers to the UK, securing an opt-out for Britain to the EU’s move to ever-closer union, safeguards for countries like the UK which do not use the euro and cutting red tape for business. To what extent do you think this package of reforms would be a good or bad outcome of David Cameron’s re-negotiation?

The poll found that 46% thought the outcome would be good, 19% thought it would be bad, and 35% as neither good nor bad.


Of likely voters who indicated they were undecided, 57% thought the outcome would be good, only 7% thought it would be bad, and 37% as neither good nor bad.

Another question we asked was:

David Cameron is currently re-negotiating the UK’s membership of the EU and will then put the result of that re-negotiation to the British people in a referendum. To what extent will the outcome of the Prime Minister’s re-negotiations matter to your vote?


Nearly a quarter (24%) of those likely to vote indicated that they will definitely vote to “remain”, regardless of the outcome of the re-negotiations, and 28% would vote to “leave” regardless of the outcome. These numbers show a close race between ‘firm’ voters.


Interestingly, similar numbers of people are likely to switch sides from where they are currently leaning. 16% of likely voters who are currently leaning towards voting to “remain” might vote to “leave” depending on the re-negotiations, and 16% of voters who were leaning towards voting to “leave” might vote to “remain”. Further, 16% told us that they were completely undecided and would wait until the negotiations are complete before deciding. This finding shows that both sides are as likely to steal votes off the other depending on the results of the re-negotiations.


Of undecided voters, slightly more (16%) are currently leaning towards “leave” but might vote for “remain” than the other way round (11%). However, nearly three-quarters of undecided voters (73%) said that they remain undecided and will wait until the re-negotiations are complete before making their decision.


When asked which politician’s recommendation would have the most influence on their vote, David Cameron received the most support, with 15% of all Britons and 18% of undecided voters. 9% of Britons and 4% of undecided voters chose Jeremy Corbyn. 7% of Britons and 5% of undecided voters answered Boris Johnson, and 5% of both all and undecided voters answered Theresa May.


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