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Friday, June 12, 2009

Euro election results reflect... views on Europe

There's loads of interesting stuff in this new YouGov poll for Channel 4. 32,268 people were polled online between 29th May and 4th June, right before the elections.

Some notable EU questions:

Q: If you do vote in the European Parliament elections will you be voting mainly...?

To influence the composition of the European Parliament - 23%
To express your views on the political scene here in Britain - 30%
To express your views on Britain's relations with Europe - 35%
Not sure - 12%

It's no surprise that most people were not - shock horror! - voting to actually influence the makeup of the European Parliament, but it is very interesting to see that people did in fact use the vote to express their views on Britain's relations with Europe. A very common complaint from the Commission, the European Parliament, Labour, Lib Dems and all the other ever closer unionists is that people use European elections not to think about Europe but to deliver a verdict on the current domestic situation. This is especially true this year, with the UK political scene in meltdown and everyone talking about the (mostly UKIP) 'protest vote'. These results turn that argument on its head.

Secondly, the poll also showed that 39 percent agree with the statement “The UK should withdraw completely from the European Union”, compared to 38 percent who disagreed, and 16 percent who said they neither agreed nor disagreed. 22 percent agreed strongly.

And it shows that while the vast majority of people think that rules governing trade with the rest of the world , and measures to combat pollution, climate change and global warming should be decided at EU level, rather than by each country on its own, an overwhelming majority (78%) believe that immigration policies should be decided not by the EU as a whole but by individual countries. (A seperate question finds that 61% of people agree that "All further immigration to the UK should be halted.")

Only 27 percent agreed that “The existence of the EU promotes prosperity throughout Europe”, compared with 37 percent who disagreed. 80 percent agreed there was some truth in the statement: “A great majority of the important decisions that affect our daily life are taken by the European Union, not by Britain’s parliaments, assemblies or councils.”

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