UK ministers continue to step up the rhetoric on EU reform this week, as the Chancellor uses his speech in Berlin to outline his priorities for Britain’s relationship with Eurozone members. The initial reaction in Germany appears to have been favourable, with German chancellor Angela Merkel expressing a clear desire for Britain to remain in the EU, and saying that British demands can be met “where justified”.
By contrast, the headline poll results remain consistent week-on-week: again, the ‘IN’ camp is slightly ahead, with 54% in favour of the UK remaining in the EU, while 46% are opposed.
An interesting, but so far little-discussed aspect of the polling data is the gender difference on the referendum question. It’s clear from previous analysis that there are significant divisions in attitudes by age, social background and party affiliation: as seen in previous polls, younger voters, those from higher socioeconomic grades, and Labour and Lib Dem voters are all significantly more likely to back the UK’s continued membership of the EU.
The contrast between male and female voters is less pronounced, but our polling has consistently shown a significant gap when it comes to undecided voters, with the proportion of women saying they don’t know generally around ten percentage points higher compared to their male counterparts. More broadly, the implication is that targeting particular sub-groups may be less about reaching those with already strong views, and more about establishing where there is most scope to influence the final vote.