Remain and leave supporters split on President Obama's EU intervention

New Ipsos MORI polling shows the British public are split on US President Barack Obama expressing his view on whether or not Britain should stay in the European Union. Half (49%) think that President Obama should express his view while 46% say that he should not.

New Ipsos MORI polling shows the British public are split on US President Barack Obama expressing his view on whether or not Britain should stay in the European Union. Half (49%) think that President Obama should express his view while 46% say that he should not.

 

Opinion strongly differs however when looking at who will vote to remain in European Union and those who will vote to leave (respondents were told that President Obama was expected to say that it is a matter for the British people to decide, but that the US supports a strong UK in the EU). Two in three (68%) remain voters say Mr Obama should express his view (28% say he should not) versus one in four (25%) leave supporters (72% say he should not). Labour supporters are also more likely to say that the President should express his view – 64% saying he should (34% say he should not). This compares to 45% of Conservative supporters (53% say he should not) and 16% of UKIP voters (81% say he should not). There is little difference between those who have definitely decided how they will vote in the referendum (51% say he should and 46% say he should not) and those who may change their mind (48% say he should and 50% say he should not) both groups also split.

Nevertheless the majority of the British public say that President Obama’s view will not be important to them in deciding how they will vote. Fifteen percent say his view will be important to them while 83% say that his view will not be very or at all important. Mr Obama’s views are more important to remain supporters than leave supporters (at 20% vs 7%), to the young rather than older people (24% of 18-34s vs 10% of 55+), and to those who may change their mind than those definitely decided (21% vs 12%).

Gideon Skinner, Head of Political Research at Ipsos MORI, said:

“President Obama may not change the minds of many leave supporters – indeed they want him to stay out of the debate. But he could play a bigger role in bolstering the views of those already leaning towards Remain.”

Technical note

Ipsos MORI interviewed a representative sample of 1,026 adults aged 18+ across Great Britain. Interviews were conducted by telephone 16-18 April 2016. Data are weighted to match the profile of the population.

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