Politicians and analysts say economically the UK profits from the EU single market and it just makes sense to stay. However, the UK is not completely comfortable with all EU policies, evidenced by their decision to opt-out of adopting the euro and opting in on Schengen and justice/home affairs. EU President of European Parliament and German MEP, Martin Schulz’s opinion is the UK risks losing benefits of the EU budget which promotes UK priorities of, environmental protection, R&D, the digital economy, and development aid.
According to one EU Affairs Executive working in Brussels, history or world wars, geographic separation from Europe, and limited multi-language abilities aid in anti-EU sentiment.
In November 2012, an Observer Poll showed 56% of voters would vote to quit the EU if a referendum was held. Poll results indicated “28% of likely voters think the EU is a “good thing” while 45% think it is a “bad thing.” Referendum votes by party showed 68% of Conservatives would opt for the UK to leave the EU and 44% of Labour voters would also opt for the UK to get out. Approximately 47% of Liberal Democrats would prefer the UK remains in the EU.
However, in a 13 January 2013 field study, the polled the majority is in favour of holding a referendum on Britain’s membership v. exit of the EU. Now is the right time to negotiate more equitable terms. Most favoured Cameron renegotiating Britain’s relationship with Europe in an attempt to regain some of its power and control, and then hold a referendum on whether to approve the new relationship, or to leave the EU entirely. When asked how they would vote if Cameron assured Britain’s interests were protected, the majority (55%) indicated they would vote to have the UK stay a member of the EU.
It seems it’s anyone’s guess what the actual results of a referendum might be when it actually happens.