BREXIT POLLS: OPINION SWINGS TOWARD REMAIN AS VOTE APPROACHES

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LONDON (Alliance News) – Opinion polls swung back towards the Remain side of the Brexit debate over the weekend, with pollster YouGov suggesting the side pushing for the UK to stay in the European Union had gotten back the momentum seemingly lost in recent weeks.

The UK’s referendum on EU membership will be held on Thursday, with first results likely only late that night.

A poll by Survation on behalf of The Mail on Sunday showed Remain on 45% to 42% for the Leave side, a swing from the 45% to 42% lead the firm has showed for the Leave camp in its previous poll, undertaken last week on behalf of online trader IG Group Holdings.

The Survation poll is the first to have been conducted based on field work after the murder of Labour MP Jo Cox on Thursday. Both sides suspended campaigning following Cox’s murder, and Nigel Farage, leader of the UK Independence Party, suggested the Leave side had lost momentum following the incident. The field work was conducted on Friday and Saturday, and the poll was published on Sunday.

The notion that Leave has lost momentum was borne out by a poll by YouGov for The Sunday Times, which showed the Remain camp has swung to a one-point lead, having been seven-points behind only a week earlier.

YouGov found Remain at 44% and Leave at 43% in the latest poll, compared to 46% of respondents supporting Leave against 39% supporting Remain a week before.

Anthony Wells, YouGov’s director of political and social research, disputed the notion the murder of Jo Cox had impacted the results. “While there will be speculation about whether this movement is connected to the tragic death of Jo Cox, we do not think that it is…We are now in the final week of the referendum campaign, and the swing back towards the status quo appears to be in full force,” he said.

A second YouGov poll, for ITV’s Good Morning Britain, indicated an increase in support for Remain, but still showed Leave in the lead, albeit based on polling data collated slightly earlier than the poll for the Sunday Times. The poll for the Sunday Times was conducted on Thursday and Friday last week, while the poll for ITV was done on Wednesday and Thursday.

The poll for ITV showed the Leave camp with a 44% to 42% lead, but this was narrowed from a 45% to 41% lead a fortnight earlier.

The latest Opinium poll for The Observer, meanwhile, showed the two camps level on 44%, a slight gain for the Leave campaign against the previous poll conducted fortnight earlier. Two weeks ago, that poll showed the Remain side at 43% to 41% for Leave.

But the momentum swing to Remain also was seen in a UK-wide telephone poll by BMG Research on behalf of Scottish newspapers The Herald and Sunday Herald. That showed Remain at 46% and Leave at 43%.

The opinion poll shift towards the UK staying in the EU had a significant impact on markets on Monday morning. The FTSE 350 index was up 2.4% in early trading, while the pound was higher compared to Friday, quoted at USD1.4585 early Monday.

By Sam Unsted; samunsted@alliancenews.com; @SamUAtAlliance

Copyright 2016 Alliance News Limited. All Rights Reserved.

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