An exclusive BMG poll commissioned by the Electoral Reform Society has found that the number of people who feel well informed about the EU referendum has actually fallen, just two weeks after the governments leaflet – making the case for staying in the EU – reached more than 26 million homes.
The results revealed that the number of people who said they have been contacted about the EU referendum by a leaflet spiked from just 25% in March to almost two thirds (63%) in April, just a couple of weeks after the government’s pro-EU leaflet to every UK household.
However, BMG Research tracking data for the Electoral Reform Society also shows that just over one in five feel ‘well informed’ about the EU referendum (21%) in April, a two percentage point drop from the end of March (23%) despite receiving the Governments leaflet. Almost four in ten feel ‘poorly informed’ (38%) and a similar proportion feel ‘about average’ (42%).
Despite low numbers feeling well informed, almost seven in ten claim to be interested or very interested in the EU referendum (69%); just 12% are not interested and 17% are neither interested or uninterested (2% don’t know).
Katie Ghose, Chief Executive of the Electoral Reform Society, said: “Leaflets are all well and good, but clearly they are not enough to create the kind of genuinely informed and engaging EU debate the public deserves – as this poll demonstrates. We need a dynamic campaign rather than just one-sided mail-drops – voters want to be able to compare information from both sides so that they know the full story.
“These findings show that voters’ need for an informed debate isn’t being met by the campaigns at present, and the Government’s huge leaflet drop appears to have had little effect. The lack of a well-informed conversation isn’t because people don’t care – 69% of people say they are interested or very interested in the referendum. So there is huge scope for creating a lively national conversation.
“As well as hearing the clear facts and arguments from both sides, we want to see a vibrant referendum debate – not just one-sided government leaflets but conversations in communities, colleges and workplaces across the UK about this crucial issue. That’s what got people out to vote in the Scottish independence referendum, and that’s what we need across the UK between now and 23rd June.
“Today we are launching a new online tool, ‘Better Referendum’, to give people both sides of the argument, presented clearly in one place. But more than that, people will be able to use the toolkit to debate the issues in their own communities. With younger voters at particular risk of missing out through under-registration or feeling under-informed action is essential. Let’s liven up this debate from the grassroots up so that we have a referendum that actually inspires people to get out there and vote.”
An article based on these polling results, released by the Electoral Reform Society, can be found here
The Electoral Reform Society and leading universities have released a new online democratic tool for the EU vote, Better Referendum which allows people to organise EU debates in their local area rather than relying on what they describe as ‘one-sided’ leaflets.
Data tables containing a breakdown of the results can be found here.
For any other results from our polling series, please feel free to get in touch with BMG by email or phone.
0121 333 6006
Lauren Harris – Research Executive