Poll shows that Jeremy Corbyn can influence EU referendum

04 April 2016
A recent poll suggests that Jeremy Corbyn could significantly influence the outcome of the EU referendum vote by taking a stronger stance. The Labour leader faces pressure to take a more pro-EU stance in order to mobilise his party's supporters to vote.
The poll by Greenberg Quinlan Rosner Research shows that Mr Corbyn is by and far the most popular figure in the debate for his party’s voters. Around six million of Labour’s voters have said that they would vote for Remain, however just over half of this number have confirmed their intention to actually vote in the referendum. Therefore, researchers have stated that if Mr Corbyn were to vocalise his commitment to the Remain campaign, this could be the key to persuading Labour voters to turnout and ultimately swing the vote.
Evidence from the poll, which was commissioned by the Fabian Society, shows that the reasons that are being promoted for leaving the EU hold more influence over voters. When it comes to the initial response of voters to the EU debate, then the Remain camp lead by 45-40. However, when the voters were able to hear the main arguments for each campaign, Leave moved ahead to tie the vote at 42-42. As a result, David Cameron and the Remain campaign have been warned by Union leaders that they are likely to lose the referendum. They called on Mr Cameron to change tact in regards to arguments put forward for remaining in the EU. They said that the focus should be changed to the needs of ordinary workers, rather than business leaders and the City.
During his leadership campaign, Mr Corbyn demonstrated ambivalence on the EU and in the past has also been known to be a Eurosceptic. He has more recently put forward his official backing for the Remain campaign, but overall he has kept a low profile in the EU debate. However, the GQRR poll found that Mr Corbyn has a net approval rating of +17, which shows Labour voters consider him to be the most trusted figure in the debate; far ahead of Alan Johnson, the party’s official campaign chief with -10.
Another significant concern for the Remain campaign is that Leave voters usually show greater loyalty to the cause and are therefore more likely to turn up at the polls. The GQRR poll, which surveyed more than 2,200 people, found that out of all the voters who are very likely to vote, the Leave campaign has a 47-45 lead.
The Fabian Society general secretary Andrew Harrop said: “Leave's arguments appear to have more power to persuade than the arguments being used by Remain and their voters are more motivated to vote. Without action from Remain, the EU race could shift in Leave's favour.”
The poll showed that among Labour voters, the security of British jobs appears to be the main concern in regards to the EU debate. TUC General Secretary Frances O’Grady said that the research indicated that British workers will have an important say in the referendum and therefore the Remain campaign should focus on jobs and workers’ rights. She said: “This report also poses a challenge to Leave campaigners. They must come clean with workers that Brexit will mean the loss of European guarantees for important rights and protections at work.”
Alan Johnson, leader of the ‘Labour in for Britain’ campaign, has said that the party is not complacent in its stance on the referendum. Johnson stated: “If we want the UK to be a fairer and (in a) more progressive place we need to remain in the EU, and that's why Jeremy Corbyn, myself and the entire Labour Party movement will continue to make that case and why we believe Labour supporters should vote to Remain on the 23rd June.”


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