Richard North, 30/06/2014  

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The poll in the Mail yesterday is from Survation, which somewhat reduces its utility – not least because it is not comparable with previous results from different pollsters. And don't even bother with the general election voting intentions.

However, it does offer some small comfort in finding that when asked for voting intentions in an EU referendum, 47 percent of respondents wanted to leave the EU, compared with 39 in favour of staying in. At eight points, that is a slender enough lead, but at least it is a lead. We will have to see what other poll companies tell us though, before we can take anything as read.

The pollsters then go on to ask a now common question, as to voting intentions if Mr Cameron brings home the bacon with a successful renegotiation. In this case, as we have seen before, the lead reverses. A total of 41 percent would vote to stay in the EU, while a hardcore of 37 resolutely favour leaving.

But Survation goes on to add a new question, one we haven't seen asked before. Voters are quizzed on how they would respond if Mr Cameron fails to get a better deal for Britain. The number who want to leave rises to 49 percent, while those wishing to stay in falls to 31, a healthy 18-point margin.

This gets us to the point where a referendum is beginning to look winnable. In fact, if the verdict was delivered late into the campaign, it could just be enough.

The poll company also asks some detailed questions on voting intentions, including the reaction Juncker's nomination. With the survey work done on Friday, it is a bit early to gauge the reaction, but three in ten say his nomination means they are more likely to vote for "out". Only one in ten are more likely to want to remain in the EU.

More significantly, a substantial 41 percent say Mr Juncker's election makes it less likely that Mr Cameron can repatriate powers from Brussels, while only 15 percent say it is more likely the prime minister will succeed.

A further level of interest comes with questions ranking the reasons why people want to leave. Curbing immigration gets the top spot, followed by stopping EU migrants claiming welfare hand outs, ditching EU human rights laws, improved economic prospects and stopping the drift towards a Euro superstate. Fears of German domination of the EU is well down the list at number eight, only just ahead is a wish for "more trade with the rest of the world".

The lowly position of the "trade" is disturbing. It represent a complete failure to make the link between immigration and trade. As the previous piece illustrates, if we want to deal with immigration, trade is a potent weapon in our armoury.

Thus, we should not only be concerned that we have lost control of our borders, but also that we have lost control of our trade policy, having ceded it to the EU.

Given what we have got with this current poll though, there is some room for optimism. If we can get this far, with a better-argued case, we ought to be on to a winner.


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