New polling data finds staying in the EU is now the most popular outcome with voters

PUBLISHED: 11:46 26 March 2019 | UPDATED: 11:54 26 March 2019

The change in polling figures for Remain and Leave. Graph: Britain Elects.

The change in polling figures for Remain and Leave. Graph: Britain Elects.

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New data from the National Centre for Social Research (NatCen) shows that 54% of voters, who expressed a preference, would now vote to stay in the EU, compared to 46% who would support leaving.

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NatCen’s polling also shows that 63% of voters think Britain has got a bad deal out of the Brexit negotiations and 81% think the government are handling the negotiations badly.

The latest polling has been corroborated by British Social Attitudes Survey author Professor John Curtice who now acknowledges the data “is enough to raise doubts about whether, two and half years after the original ballot, leaving the EU necessarily continues to represent the view of a majority of the British public.”

He added that “had a second referendum been held last month, 55%would vote in favour of Remain. There must surely now be doubts that leaving is still the will of the people.”

Sir John added that Leave and Remain voters “are now largely united” in opposition to Theresa May’s Brexit deal.

He beleives that the referendum result no longer represents the will of the people - but said neither side can truly use that claim.

Peter Kellner, past president of YouGov, said that “the swing in public opinion towards supporting staying in the EU has been evident for some time” but now choosing between specific options “the lead for staying in the EU becomes even greater”.

He said: “This confirms that a new referendum, offering the choice of Remain and a specific form of Leave, would be significantly different from the contest three years ago, when the nature of ‘Leave’ was not defined, and people could imagine a Brexit of their dreams and vote for something that might never come true.

“It is also good to see Sir John Curtice acknowledging that support for a People’s Vote on whatever Brexit deal Parliament eventually settles on is growing and that polls over the last six months have shown that supporters of a People’s Vote or a Public Vote have outnumbered opponents of the people getting the final say.”

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