LONDON: A majority of Britons would vote to leave the European Union if given the chance, according to a survey published yesterday.
The Optimum Research poll in The Observer newspaper found that 34 percent would definitely vote to quit the 27-member bloc and 22 percent would probably do so, giving a total of 56 percent that would opt to leave the EU. Eleven percent would definitely vote to remain in the union, while a further 19 percent said they would probably cote to stay in — a total of 30 percent.
Some 14 percent said they did not know. Some 28 percent of those polled said Britain’s membership of the EU was generally a good thing, while 45 percent said it was generally a bad thing. EU leaders gather in Brussels on Thursday to try to thrash out the bloc’s budget for the 2014-2020 period, at which Britain will argue for a real terms freeze.
British Prime Minister David Cameron is pushing for a freeze in the trillion-euro budget, having threatened to veto any rise in spending.
Voters from Cameron’s Conservative Party were the most in favor of leaving the EU (68 percent), followed by the opposition Labour Party (44 percent) and Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg’s Liberal Democrats (39 percent).
The Conservatives and the Lib Dems form Britain’s coalition government.
The poll also found that 39 percent would vote for Labour in a general election. The Conservatives were on 32 percent, the anti-EU UK Independence Party on 10 percent, the Lib Dems on eight percent and other parties on 11 percent.
Optimum Research surveyed 1,957 adults online from Tuesday to Thursday.