Poll: Only 26 percent in Britain want out of Europe completely

May 28, 2013 at 12:19 AM
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LONDON, May 28 (UPI) -- Only 26 percent of British citizens want the country to get out of the European Union, a poll indicated.

The poll by ComRes for advocacy group Open Europe found 29 percent of respondents said Prime Minister David Cameron is the most likely leader to do well in negotiating with the EU on a new arrangement for Britain, The Guardian reported Monday. That compares with 14 percent who said Labor Leader Ed Miliband would be the best person for the job, 12 percent who picked Nigel Farage of the euroskeptic United Kingdom Independence Party and only 4 percent who went for Liberal Democrat leader Nick Clegg.

On the other hand, 20 percent said they did not believe any British leader would be successful in negotiations, and 20 percent did not know which one would be.

While UKIP's stand on Europe is its defining position, the poll found only 61 percent of its supporters say Britain should completely withdraw from the EU. That suggests the party's recent rise in the polls and success in elections has other reasons than unhappiness with the EU.

A renegotiated relationship with the EU is the most popular option, backed by 38 percent. While 26 percent would like to leave, 18 percent like the current relationship and 6 percent think Britain should join the eurozone.

About 55 percent of those polled would like an end to unrestricted immigration from the EU -- something that probably cannot be negotiated. Giving the British government more power to block EU laws and regulations was named by 42 percent, 36 percent want Britain to contribute less to the EU budget, and 32 percent want the EU to have less say in criminal justice in Britain.

While 37 percent say they would vote to stay in the EU if a referendum was held now, 41 percent said they would vote to leave. But 47 percent say they would support staying if the government negotiates a return of some of its powers, while 32 percent would want to leave.

The poll found, however, that 27 percent said they would vote for UKIP in upcoming European elections, compared with 25 percent for Labor and only 21 percent for the Conservatives.

"Whilst the Conservatives may be heading for a perfect storm in the EU elections, their overarching goal of a renegotiated position for the UK in the EU still enjoys substantial support from across the political spectrum," Mats Persson of Open Europe said.

ComRes surveyed 2,003 adults May 22-24.

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