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We want Brexit! Our big EU referendum survey results revealed

Staffordshire | News | Published:

The results are in – and there was a resounding winner in the Express & Star's huge survey over Britain's relationship with the EU.

The results of our survey should worry the Labour and Conservative leaders

A whopping 80 per cent of almost 8,000 readers who took part in the survey indicated that they will be voting for Britain to leave the EU in the June 23 referendum, while Boris Johnson was rated as the politician most likely to influence voters' decisions.

Our poll also saw immigration come out as the key issue for voters in the Black Country and Staffordshire, and more than eight in 10 people said they were not impressed with David Cameron's EU renegotiation deal.

The week-long online survey saw 7,538 online entrants, while 441 people sent in postal entries, with 96 per cent of respondents saying they intend to vote in the referendum.

  • MORE: Boris Johnson backs Express & Star readers
  • MORE: Local MPs mixed on survey's Brexit result
  • MORE: Express & Star Comment: Poll results will set off alarm bells

The figure, along with the popularity of the poll, demonstrates the importance that our readers place on the first vote on Britain's position in the union for a generation.

It was backed by high ranking politicians from both sides of the debate, including London Mayor Boris Johnson, Leader of the House of Commons Chris Grayling and Labour's shadow home secretary Andy Burnham.

Only 16 per cent of respondents said they were in favour of Britain continuing its membership of the EU.

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The results back up a recent survey that suggested parts of the Black Country, including Sandwell and Wolverhampton, were among the most Eurosceptic areas in the country.

It flies in the face of the national trend, which has seen four recent YouGov polls suggest that support for the 'remain' campaign has increased over the past two weeks and now holds a small lead over 'leave'.

In the survey we asked readers which politician was most likely to influence their decision on ballot day. And it was Boris Johnson that came out on top, receiving almost three times more votes than the Prime Minister in second place.

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Mr Johnson ruffled a few feathers in the Conservative Party when he declared his support for Brexit the day after Mr Cameron announced the date of the EU referendum.

His decision was criticised by many leading Tories, while the Prime Minister suggested during a Commons debate that the London Mayor had acted to further his own ambitions for a move into No. 10.

Our readers were least likely to be convinced by Jeremy Corbyn, who received just 12 per cent of the vote.

Unconvincing - Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn holds little sway over the opinions of most Express & Star readers

The Labour leader – who has frequently criticised the EU – has come under fire for marshalling a subdued campaign up to now.

Last week he was told by Labour MPs that the referendum could be lost unless the party – which is backing the 'remain' campaign – mounted a more passionate case.

The key issue that respondents said would influence their vote was immigration. More than 60 per cent of readers considered the influx of migrants into the UK to be the main talking point of the referendum.

This was more than three times as many people who cited the economy as the key issue, while just one in 10 people plumped for freedom of movement.

Up to now the 'remain' camp has focused its campaign on the economic benefits of staying in the EU, with Labour's Hilary Benn this week accusing Brexit backers of failing to lay out an adequate case for the future of British business outside of EU membership.

Meanwhile, Tory Chris Grayling told the Express & Star that leaving the union would see businesses benefit from greater access to a wider market.

But during his trip to Wolverhampton last month UKIP leader Nigel Farage told us he believed that most people in Britain were concerned with immigration above all other issues.

The question of Britain's trading conditions also saw our readers come out overwhelmingly in favour of leaving the EU.

Eight of every 10 respondents to the survey said that conditions for trade would improve if Britain left the union.

We also asked if people considered leaving the EU would see Britain become more secure against the threat of terrorism.

Again 'leave' came out on top, with almost seven in 10 respondents saying they felt security would improve if Britain had more control over its own borders.

Defence secretary Michael Fallon has claimed the UK will be taking a 'big gamble' with security if it leaves the EU.

But former Tory leader Iain Duncan Smith, one of six cabinet ministers campaigning for the UK to leave the EU, said the UK's membership exposed it to greater security risks.

One of the most one-sided responses to any of our questions came out when we asked whether you thought the Prime Minister had negotiated a good deal for Britain's continued membership of the EU.

The agreement saw an 'emergency brake' aimed at limiting migrants' access to benefits, new powers to stop suspected terrorists and criminals coming to the UK, and a 'red card' system allowing the House of Commons to join like-minded EU parliaments to block unwanted Brussels legislation

But critics slammed the deal as 'watered down', with some accusing the Prime Minister of a betrayal of the Conservative manifesto pledge, particularly over the issue of migrant benefits.

A total of 82 per cent of those who took part in the survey said they weren't happy with the deal, while only eight per cent backed the Prime Minister.

Our question over EU influence in the UK saw the vast majority of respondents saying they thought Europe interferes too much in home policy, while two thirds of those who completed our survey said Mr Cameron should step down as Prime Minister if the 'remain' camp loses the referendum.

Eurosceptic ministers have insisted that he should stay on after a defeat, and when asked if he would resign in such circumstances during Prime Minister's Questions this week Mr Cameron responded with a resounding 'no'.

But Tory MP Nadine Dorries has called for him to quit should Brexit prevail in the referendum.

And just one in five people thought that membership of the EU had benefited Staffordshire and the Black Country.

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