Days Before the Brexit Vote, Polls Show British Voters Are Sharply Divided on Staying in the EU

Polls show the 'remain' and 'leave' campaigns in dead heat.

ByABC News
June 20, 2016, 12:50 PM

— London -- With only three days left until British voters decide whether the United Kingdom will stay in or leave the European Union, polls show that the campaigns on the two sides of the issue are neck-and-neck.

Although earlier polls had forecast that a majority would vote in the June 23 referendum to leave the EU -- known as “Brexit” – a series of new polls paint a different picture.

All the most recent polls were released Saturday evening, a couple of days after the killing of British Parliament Member Jo Cox, who supported remaining in the EU. The murder suspect Thomas Mair has been linked to right-wing extremism and gave his name as “death to traitors, freedom for Britain" when he appeared in court Saturday.

A new Opinium poll for the Observer says that the leave and remain camps are tied at 44 percent each.

YouGov has published two new polls that predict a close race. In contrast to the leave campaign's previous clear lead in polling, both of YouGov’s polls show the race neck-and-neck: the remain campaign had a one-point lead in a poll for the Sunday Times while the leave camp had a two-point lead in a poll for Good Morning Britain.

The remain side is up by three points, according to a Survation telephone poll for the Mail On Sunday.

The camp that backs staying in the EU has also received fresh support from top business executives as well as Nobel-prize winning economists. Richard Scudamore, chairman of the Premier League association of English soccer clubs, said today that the 20 clubs in the top tier wanted to remain in the EU. “The real reason we have concluded that remain is best is because of our outlook. We are a global export. We look outwards,” he told the BBC.

Ten of the world’s leading economists warned yesterday against leaving the EU in an open letter to The Guardian.

“We believe that the UK would be better off economically inside the EU. British firms and workers need full access to the single market,” the economists wrote. “In addition, Brexit would create major uncertainty about Britain’s alternative future trading arrangements, both with the rest of Europe and with important markets like the USA, Canada and China.”

The letter was signed by George Akerlof, Kenneth Arrow, Angus Deaton, Peter Diamond, James Heckman, Eric Maskin, James Mirrlees, Christopher Pissarides, Robert Solow, Jean Tirole, all winners of the Nobel Prize.