The public mood of Euroscepticism is hardening, according to the poll that finds 51 percent of respondents would vote to take Britain out of the EU, against just 40 percent who say they would vote to stay in.
This is the first time that poll results show that more than a half of British citizens are opposed to the EU, even though in autumn 2011 opinion was already leaning in the anti-European direction, by 49 percent against 40 percent.
The Guardian points out that the citizens’ stance toward Brussels has drastically changed in the last decade. When ICM asked a slightly differently worded question in May 2001, the public indicated that it wanted Britain to remain a member of Europe by 68 percent to 19 percent.
Even worse news for the pro-Europeans emerges when respondents were asked about how definite they were in their view, the paper writes.
Fully 36 percent say they would definitely vote to pull Britain out, against just 22 percent who definitely want to stay in. That compares with 18 percent who say they would probably want to stay in, and 15 percent who indicate that they would probably want to get out.
The deteriorating standing of the EU emerges at the end of a year in which it has won the Nobel peace prize for its success in bringing peace to a continent, but also – and perhaps more significantly – a year which has been marked by the crisis of the single currency moving from an acute to a chronic phase, the Guardian writes.
When voters were asked to provide a "school report grade" for the work of various institutions, the EU was awarded a D+, somewhat worse than the C- average mark awarded to both David Cameron and Ed Miliband.
ICM Research interviewed a random sample of 1002 adults over the age of 18 by telephone on December 19-23, 2012.