UK 'Leave' campaign ahead in two European Union referendum polls

London: Two new opinion polls out Tuesday show the campaign for Britain to leave the European Union ahead although a polling average still puts the "Remain" camp in the lead.

The findings surprised many commentators ahead of the 23 June referendum because most recent polls have given the "Remain" camp led by Prime Minister David Cameron a narrow lead.

A poster urging people to vote to leave the European Union in the uncoming referendum is seen in Peterborough, eastern England. AFP

A poster urging people to vote to leave the European Union in the uncoming referendum is seen in Peterborough, eastern England. AFP

One of the ICM polls for The Guardian newspaper was conducted online — where pollsters typically believe more voters say they want to leave the EU — and one was conducted by telephone.

The online vote showed 47 percent would like to leave while 44 percent backed Prime Minister David Cameron's "Remain" campaign. A further nine percent were undecided ahead of the 23 June vote.

In the telephone poll, 45 percent said they favoured leaving while 42 percent said they backed remaining. A total of 13 percent did not know.

It was only the third phone poll in the campaign to put the "Leave" camp ahead.

"Our poll rather unhinges a few accepted orthodoxies," ICM’s director, Martin Boon, told The Guardian.

"It is only one poll, but in a rather unexpected reverse of polling assumptions so far, both our phone poll and our online poll are consistent".

Once undecideds were excluded, both new polls gave 52 percent support for Brexit compared to 48 percent for "Remain".

In Tuesday's Daily Telegraph, Lynton Crosby — Cameron's campaign strategist at last year's general election — said an "increasing focus on lack of control over immigration" was key to what he said was a shifting mood.

"Leave" campaigners including former London mayor Boris Johnson last week seized on figures which put net migration into Britain at 333,000 last year to argue that it should pull out of the EU.

A poll of polls of the last six surveys maintained by the What UK Thinks academic project currently puts "Remain" on 51 percent and "Leave" on 49 percent.

Updated Date: Jun 01, 2016 07:48 AM

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