Boost for Cameron as Poll Shows Retirees, Tories Desert Brexit

  • Prime minister’s election guru credits campaign on economy
  • Leave campaign losing support among prevously strong backers

Prime Minister David Cameron’s campaign for Britain to stay in the European Union received a boost late Monday with a poll showing that older voters, previously found to back leaving the bloc, are switching to his side.

The ORB survey for the Daily Telegraph newspaper found 52 percent of voters aged over 65 plan to vote for staying in the EU compared to 44 percent backing a so-called Brexit. This contrasts with 34 percent who wanted to stay in a similar poll in March, when 62 percent backed leaving, and is particularly significant because older people are more likely to vote.

The survey, which showed a lead of 55 percent to 42 percent for remaining in the EU among those across all age groups who say they will definitely vote, also revealed growing support for staying in the bloc among men and backers of Cameron’s Conservative Party, both groups that had previously been shown to support leaving the EU.

While 60 percent of Tory voters backed Brexit in March, the latest poll shows 57 percent now plan to back staying in the EU. Lynton Crosby, who masterminded Cameron’s victorious general election campaign last year, described the switch in support as “good news for the Prime Minister” and a vindication of his relentless concentration on the economic risks of Brexit.

“The Remain campaign should view these advancements as affirmation that the focus and messaging of its campaign is working,” Crosby wrote in a commentary on the poll for the Telegraph. “If Leave are to regain any of their previous support now lost, they must start paying attention to the numbers and capitalize on their strengths –- their steadfast lead on immigration and the way uncontrolled immigration is seen more widely as a symbol of the country’s loss of control of its sovereignty to Europe, coupled with the enthusiasm of their base.”

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