LONDON (Reuters) - Support among Britons for staying in the European Union has increased slightly since last month giving the “In” campaign a narrow lead ahead of a June referendum, an ORB poll for the Independent said on Thursday.
The poll of 2002 people was carried out after the deadly attacks in Brussels which some commentators believed might boost the “Out” campaign. Both sides have made security a key theme of the debate in recent days, arguing whether an exit would make Britain safer or less secure.
The online survey found 51 percent of voters wanted Britain to remain part of the 28-nation bloc with 49 percent wanting to leave. The country will vote in a referendum on June 23 to decide on Britain’s EU membership.
A similar ORB poll last month had 52 percent backing an EU exit and 48 percent supporting staying in the bloc.
Recent opinion surveys have produced contrasting pictures of which way the mood among Britons towards the EU is moving.
A telephone poll for Ipsos MORI on Tuesday showed the “In” campaign had an eight point lead over those wanting to leave, but that represented a sharp decline from the previous month.
Phone polls have tended to show comfortable leads for those wanting to stay in the EU, while online surveys have backing for the two campaigns running neck and neck.
The ORB survey found 81 percent agreed that the Brussels attacks showed a need for “EU nations to stand together against terrorism”.
It also showed a discrepancy between generations, with support for continued EU membership high among those aged 18 to 24 at 77 percent, compared to just 40 percent in the 65-year and over bracket.
However, younger people are considered much less likely to cast their vote on the day compared to older voters which could prove a factor in the final outcome.
Reporting by Michael Holden; editing by Stephen Addison