'Remain' retakes the lead in referendum campaign

March 05, 2016, 12:00 PM GMT+0

YouGov has recorded four consecutive leads for Remain since the last published poll, suggesting a movement towards the Remain side in the first two weeks of campaigning

While David Cameron was in Brussels attempting to renegotiate the terms of our relationship with the EU, media reports were all about mountains the Prime Minister had to climb in late night dinners with reluctant EU leaders, or the meagreness of what was on offer. Now the deal is done the focus is beginning to move to the larger issues at stake, and the Remain side has moved ahead.

As David Cameron closed the deal on February 19 campaigning kicked off with a YouGov poll on the front page of the Times showing the race nearly neck and neck: Leave had 38% of the vote and Remain had 37%. In the ten days since then YouGov has been conducting regular polls to gauge the relative success of the campaigns in their infancy. Remain has had four consecutive leads, averaging 40% since February 25, while Leave has averaged 37%.

The movement has not obviously come from any one demographic group, and there is no sign as yet that undecideds are beginning to make up their minds (don't knows are more or less constant, accounting for 18% on average).

While in week one of the campaign head counts of MPs coming out on either side of the debate and Boris Johnson's Brexit announcement kept journalists busy, this week the headlines have covered the particulars of the issue.

Disputes over whether Brexit would put upward or downward pressure on wages soon gave way to warnings from France that leaving the EU could jeapordise Britain's border at Calais. Stephan Shakespeare, YouGov CEO, says "The remain side has won the first two weeks of this campaign. As attention is turning away from Cameron vs Boris and towards the bigger issues at stake, it is fear of the unknown that is dominating minds"

The consistent lead for Remain this week is in line with our testing of the fundamentals, which to date favour Britain voting to stay in the EU. Read more about our expectations here:

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