By Tim Bale, Paul Webb and Monica Poletti
Among the majority of membership which is over (in some cases a long way over) 35, the split between those who want to leave and those who want to stay resembles the split overall. That is, six out of ten want to leave, three out of ten want to stay and one in ten have yet to decide.
Among the precious minority of Conservative party members aged 18-34, however, things are much closer. True, some 52 per cent want out, but that leaves 41 per cent who want in. That should give any Tory with a serious eye to the future food, or even pause, for thought.
It seems like a lifetime ago, even though it was only a fortnight. Hardly was the printer-inkdry on David Cameron’s late deal in Brussels before the Brexit debate had moved on to the more fundamental questions involved in Britain’s decision to leave or to remain in the EU.
Anyone who’s ever gone to pre-natal classes may be familiar with the feeling. You spend weeks and months obsessing over the birth, only to find that it’s all over in a matter of hours–and now you’re into the really serious stuff.
None of this means, however, that we should forget about the deal altogether, not least because, before it was done anyway, many Conservatives were claiming that what Cameron came back with would help them make their minds up.
Indeed, when, with the help of YouGov, we surveyed grassroots Tories in April 2015, two-thirds of them told us that their vote would depend on the terms of the PM’s renegotiation.