Anti-EU Sentiment Increases as Britons Demand Exit, Poll Shows

Rising anti-European Union sentiment and the threat that Britain will quit the bloc may boost nationalist candidates in next year’s European Parliament elections, a poll showed.

Pluralities in six countries said things are going in the “wrong direction” in the EU, with a majority in the U.K. favoring a pullout from the bloc if a referendum were held now, Gallup Europe said.

EU Parliament balloting in May 2014 risks “the strong mobilization of voters in favor of radical nationalist and anti-EU parties, which could result in a drastic change in the landscape of European democracy,” Gallup Europe said in a statement in Brussels today.

Economic ills and a sense of “disconnect” between the people and EU politicians are likely to depress turnout, making it easier for well-organized anti-EU forces to make inroads in the election, the pollsters said.

Gallup’s numbers showed that 55 percent in the U.K. would opt to leave the EU in a referendum with only 25 percent preferring to stay, a far wider margin for the “no” camp than in recent British polls.

British “no” voters eked out a 51 percent to 49 percent edge in a June 1-3 Survation Ltd. poll for Sky News. A ComRes Ltd. survey conducted May 22-24 yielded 41 percent wanting to go and 37 percent in favor of staying in.

One indication of the pan-European mood was that France delivered the highest “wrong direction” number, 62 percent. That topped the 56 percent in Britain who were dissatisfied with the EU.

Gallup Europe surveyed at least 750 people in Denmark, France, Germany, the Netherlands, Poland and the U.K. in May.

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