A poll published today shows that as the predicted result narrows nearly half the public think that, contrary to his stated position, Prime Minister David Cameron should resign if Britain votes to leave the European Union (EU).
The Ipsos MORI Political Monitor poll found that 48 per cent of those surveyed believe David Cameron should resign in the event that the UK supports Brexit in the June referendum. On the other hand, 44 per cent of the 1,023 adults aged 18 and over interviewed by telephone between 19 and 22 March think he should stay on as Prime Minister.
Broken down by political party affiliation, the results showed support for him is strongest in his own Conservative Party and weakest in UKIP, as follows:
- 34 per cent of Conservatives say Mr. Cameron should resign, 63 per cent think he should continue;
- 38 per cent of Liberal Democrats say resign, 54 per cent continue;
- 56 per cent of Labour voters say go, 38 per cent think he should stay in office; and
- 70 per cent of UKIP supporters think Mr. Cameron should vacate 10 Downing Street, while 22 per cent think he should stay.
The findings will alarm supporters of Mr. Cameron who have strongly denied his political fate would be decided by the result of the In/Out vote. In the event of either a win for the Brexit campain or a narrow Remain victory, it is feared the referendum could be hijacked by his political opponents — both within and without the Tory Party — and turned into a referendum on his leadership.
The poll also shows that the Leave and Remain camps have all to play for, with the Remain campaign advantage cut in half in the past month. Although that may partly be accounted for by a change in methodology employed by the pollster, 49 per cent say they intend to vote Remain (down from 54 per cent in February) while 41 per cent say they will vote Leave (up from 36 per cent).
According to IPSOS Mori the results are even closer still if they apply further statistical filters that could have been used with accurate effect on previous occasions. They say:
“If we were to apply the same turnout filter that would have given us the most accurate results in the 2015 general election (combining stated likelihood to vote with how regularly people vote in previous elections), then the lead is much narrower, at 2 points (remain is on 48%, leave 46%).”
The pollster warns that estimating turnout is “one of the crucial challenges in polling at any election”, and even more so in a referendum where there are “no recent comparable precedents”.
Due to that statistical uncertainty the company warns:”The campaign may unfold unpredictably”.