Voters want double Euro referendum – Times poll

by Stephen Tall on March 11, 2008

It’s not that Lib Dem Voice doesn’t do polls… we’re just quite suspicious of those who want to treat each and every one with undue reverence. In particular, we try not to get excited by individual polls showing a sudden rise/fall in support for any political party. Chances are it’s a blip which tells you nothing about the next general election.

Still, there are some issues where opinion polls are all we have to go on in terms of judging wider public attitudes. So it’s interesting to note this paragraph from today’s Times poll asking about Europe:

The vast majority of voters (70 per cent) favour some sort of referendum on Europe, with just 19 per cent disagreeing. But there are big variations in preferences: 18 per cent want one just on the Lisbon treaty; 16 per cent one on whether Britain should stay in the EU, but not on the treaty; and 36 per cent a referendum on both in and out of the EU and on the treaty. Just 19 per cent do not believe there is a need for any referendum on the EU at present. Professionals and managers (28 per cent) and Labour voters (28 per cent) are the most likely to believe there is no need for a referendum. Only 15 per cent of Lib Dem voters back Mr Clegg’s position of just an in/out treaty.

Despite all the fuss last week – and the pillorying the Lib Dems took for their position – it seems the ‘in/out’ option (with 16%) is pretty much as popular as the Tories’ preferred option of a referendum solely on the Lisbon Treaty (18%). The runaway winner with 36% is the combination referendum, asking both about the Lisbon Treaty and the ‘in/out’ option.

It’s interesting to note that the Lib Dem policy of an ‘in/out’ referendum is less popular with Lib Dem voters than the public as a whole. I imagine this is because our voters are most likely to be pro-European, and so would regard a referendum on the UK’s membership to be driven by euroscepticism. I wonder if the pollsters told those they were questioning which party advocated which policy before they asked the question? It would, I suspect, make a difference.

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It would indeed make a difference. The competing Lib Dem and IWAR polls the other day were more or less irreconcilable until you noted that IWAR phrased their questions in a way which made it about approval of the Lib Dem policy on the issue, whereas the Lib Dem poll simply asked about the issue.

by Andy Hinton on March 12, 2008 at 2:22 pm. Reply #

Seems I’ve judged the public mood quite well (which is pretty rare !!).

Pretty clear to me that there’s a general feeling of irritation (or worse) out there among the public toward the political process – and “Europe” is a big part of that – but not the whole story.

Is it not time to “clear the air” (as it were) by a major national debate and view on:
a) the principle of European co-operation;
b) the TYPE of European co-operation that will earn public respect.

And if we don’t address all this I fear the whole public view of the political and/or democratic process may be seriously damaged – and the beneficiaries of THAT would be apathy, intolerance, populism, and the unsavouries of UKIPism and BNPism.

by crewegwyn on March 12, 2008 at 2:29 pm. Reply #

What about the unsavouries of the undemocratic Lib Dem, Tory and socialist parties. Let’s face facts.. if this country had a democratic referendum on the EU (in or out) the people of this country would vote OUT. You know this and they know this. It’s not a question of apathy, intolerance or populism, it’s about democracy, freedom and justice.
Time for change.

by BJH on April 15, 2008 at 2:56 am. Reply #

“if this country had a democratic referendum on the EU (in or out) the people of this country would vote OUT.”

I don’t agree. It’s all very well complaining about Europe and other subjects close to Daily Hell readers’ hearts when you’re down the Bigot’s Arms after a few Stellas, but given a simple choice most people would rather be in the European Union than out of it.

by asquith on April 15, 2008 at 7:48 am. Reply #

And anyway, it’s never been an issue that people take seriously in and of itself. That’s why UKIP and pals are always complaining about the public’s false consciousness (oh, sorry, “lack of awareness”) in not making it an issue.

by asquith on April 15, 2008 at 7:50 am. Reply #

I know you don’t agree, but it’s not about my opinion or yours, it’s about giving people a vote on who they want to run there country. We have never been asked (and I’m old enough to know). And please stop trying to make out that anyone who has an issue with the EU is a bigot.. or that the public are too thick.. it’s boring PC.
In 2 years time when your precious EU takes away your ability to vote (which it will do) maybe you can while away the time reading a poem by Pastor Martin Niemöller “First they came for the Jews”.

by BJH on April 15, 2008 at 12:22 pm. Reply #

I assure you the EU is not “precious” to me. Yes, I tend to support it more than I oppose it, but that’s not because I’m a member of the pro-EU-at-all-costs brigade.

Besides, as I said, I’d be happy to hold an in-or-out referendum. And as I said, I think a plurality would support membership, on a very low turnout.

by asquith on April 15, 2008 at 12:32 pm. Reply #

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