A poll has revealed that the massed ranks of establishment politicians are failing to convey their pro-European Union (EU) message, with Prime Minister David Cameron singled out as being one of the worst advocates for Remain.
The BMG Research poll, which will make difficult reading for Mr. Cameron and his allies in the Remain campaign, was commissioned by the Electoral Reform Society. It shows that in many cases ‘big names’ in the referendum debate have driven people into the Leave camp, or had virtually no effect at all.
Mr. Cameron’s influence has had a negative effect on his own campaign, making 29 per cent of respondents say they’re more likely to vote Leave — nearly double the 15 per cent who say he has made them more likely to vote Remain. At 56 per cent, over half of those polled said his contributions have had no impact on their vote.
Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn has not caused quite such a negative impact on his own side, with a marginally better 19 per cent of people more likely to vote Leave thanks to his contribution, compared to 13 per cent for the Remain side he supports.
However, in what must be an embarrassment to the Leader of Her Majesty’s Most Loyal Opposition, fully 68 per cent of the public say Mr. Corbyn has had no effect on them.
Notably, both Boris Johnson and Nigel Farage have managed to bring about their intended impact on the campaign.
Mr. Johnson has made 25 per cent of people more likely to vote Leave, compared to 20 per cent pushed towards Remain. For Mr. Farage the figures are 22 per cent Leave over 17 per cent Remain.
The poll also looked at the effect on the referendum campaign of contributions from American politicians, and once more it is not good news for establishment voices.
Barack Obama’s much-hyped contribution to the Remain campaign has actually made 24 per cent of people more likely to vote Leave, compared to just 16 per cent persuaded by him to be more likely to stay. With almost six in ten respondents saying they haven’t been affected by the President’s comments at all, his contribution to the debate is nearly as irrelevant as Jeremy Corbyn’s.
Understandably, given the fact he is not a two-term incumbent in the White House, Donald Trump’s contribution has had even less effect than President Obama’s. Nevertheless, it did at least have the intended effect, with 19 per cent more likely to Leave, compared to 10 for Remain.
Katie Ghose, Chief Executive of the Electoral Reform Society, pointed out: “Almost all interventions from heavy-hitting Leave and Remain figures have made people more likely to vote to Leave or had no impact, perhaps an indication in a campaign largely perceived as top-down and Westminster-dominated people are viewing Leave as the anti-establishment ‘option’.”