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Europe in numbers

Brits may grumble about the EU, but if there were a referendum on membership, we would probably choose to stay

By Peter Kellner   July 2011

It looks like a contest between the polls and history; and despite being a pollster, my money is on history repeating itself. If there were a UK referendum on whether to leave the EU, we would vote to remain.

In the October 1974 general election, Labour promised a referendum on membership of the Common Market, as it was then called. At the time—and just like today—the public divided 3-2 for leaving. But when the referendum was held, the following June, we voted (as the final polls predicted) by almost 2-1 to stay in.

In the autumn of 1982, Gallup found…

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