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New EU Survey reveals Business vote tightening as Referendum campaign heads towards finish line

  • Final British Chambers of Commerce pre-Referendum survey shows that, with less than 50 days to go, a majority of businesspeople surveyed (54%) say they will vote for the UK to Remain in the European Union
  • Voting intentions have tightened amongst the businesspeople surveyed – with Leave now polling seven points higher (37%) than in the BCC’s February survey
  • Previous survey in February had Remain on 60%, Leave with 30%, and 10% don’t know
  • The vast majority – nearly 90% – of those businesspeople surveyed by the neutral business organisation are now also unlikely to change their vote

 

HULL & Humber Chamber of Commerce businesses contributed to a new national survey which reveals that nearly 90% of the senior businesspeople polled say they are now unlikely to change how they will vote before the June 23rd Referendum.

This major new British Chambers of Commerce survey indicates that 54.1% of businesspeople polled would vote to Remain, down from 60% in February 2016, and 37% would vote to Leave – up from 30% on the BCC’s previous survey.

 The data on voting intentions also shows some divisions based on size and export interests. Those trading with other EU markets express the strongest support for ‘Remain’, with the strongest levels of support for ‘Leave’ among those that do not. Businesspeople representing large firms are significantly more likely to vote ‘Remain’ than those in micro businesses.

 The findings, from an April 2016 survey of over 2,200 leading businesspeople, also show that individuals are now strongly committed to their voting preferences. Just 0.3% of respondents said they were uncommitted, and only 10.8% said they could change their mind.

Commenting on the results, Dr Adam Marshall, from the BCC, said:

“As the EU Referendum campaign enters the final straight, the race for the business vote has clearly tightened.

“Although a clear majority of the businesspeople we surveyed continue to express a preference to remain in the European Union, the gap between Remain and Leave has narrowed significantly in recent weeks.

“While only a minority of businesspeople report that the Referendum campaign has had a material impact on their firms to date, much larger numbers say they expect significant impacts in the aftermath of the vote.

“Whichever outcome prevails, Westminster must shift its attention back to the economy on June 24 without delay. Growth is softening, and Westminster’s Referendum ‘tunnel vision’ over the past year has meant that far too many key economic issues have been given short shrift or delayed altogether.”

Key findings in the survey:

Voting intentions: exporters (sellers to other countries) vs. non-exporters

April 2016

Both (n=2231)

Exporter (n=1506)

Non-exporter (n=682)

Vote to remain

54.1

59.5

42.8

Vote to leave

37

32.8

46.4

Wouldn’t vote

0.6

0.6

0.6

Don’t know

8.2

7.1

10.2

Voting intentions: exporters by export destination

 April 2016

All (n=2231)

Sell to EU only (n=497)

Sell to ROTW only (n=88)*

Sell to both  (n=921)

Non-exporter (n=682)

Vote to remain

54.1

62.1

46.7

59.3

42.8

Vote to leave

37

30.7

50.1

32.3

46.4

Wouldn’t vote

0.6

1.7

0.5

0.1

0.6

Don’t know

8.2

5.5

2.8

8.3

10.2

Voting intentions: by business size (number of employees)

 April 2016

All (n=2064)

Micro 0-9 (n=1055)

Small 10-49 (n=495)

Medium 50-249 (n=286)

Large 250+ (n=170)

Vote to remain

54.1

47.5

53.7

69.2

67.7

Vote to leave

37

42.1

37.6

24.8

28.6

Wouldn’t vote

0.6

0.7

0.1

0

0

Don’t know

8.2

9.7

8.5

5.9

3.7

NB – Differences in respondents occurred where businesspeople either did not specify size or export orientation, or did not answer the question.

*Figure should be treated with caution due to sample size.

BUSINESS IMPACTS

  • The majority of business leaders report that the Referendum has had no impact to date on various aspects of their business, from orders and sales (71.3%), recruitment (87.1%), and investment (79.6%), to total costs (80.3%)
  • If the UK were to leave the EU, 35.9% currently expect this would have a negative impact on their overall growth strategy (down slightly from 39% in February’s survey), 36.3% feel this would have no impact (unchanged from previous survey), while 15.9% believe it would have a positive impact (largely unchanged)
  • Asked for the first time about the impact of remaining a member of the EU, 12.8% currently expect this to have a negative impact on their overall growth strategy. Almost half (49.4%) feel it would have no impact, while nearly a third (30.1%) believe it would have a positive impact.

 VOTING INTENTIONS

  • 54.1% – a majority – of business leaders would vote to stay in the European Union, should the vote take place tomorrow. 37% would vote to leave.
  • This is a narrowing from the previous survey in February, which showed a 60-30-10 split in favour of Remain.
  • 88.9% of those surveyed are committed and unlikely to change their mind – just 10.8% could change their mind, while 0.3% are uncommitted.

LOCALLY IN THE HUMBER 

Local business leaders will be getting involved with the Europe Referendum debate on Wednesday 8th June, when local Members of Parliament David Davis and Melanie Onn join them for the opening of Chamber Expo 2016 at the Costello Stadium in Hull. 

David Hooper, External Affairs Manager at the Chamber, said: “We are expecting a good turnout for what we anticipate will be a lively debate on this key issue facing both the local area and the nation at large.”

 

 

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