The author of the poll urgescaution, saying the interview panel was skewed towards 'Remain'. Picture: REUTERS
The author of the poll urgescaution, saying the interview panel was skewed towards 'Remain'. Picture: REUTERS

London — Britons would choose to stay in the EU if given the option, according to an opinion poll on Wednesday that showed a six-point swing away from Brexit and the highest support for EU membership in such a survey since the 2016 referendum.

The author of the poll urged caution, however, saying the interview panel was skewed towards remain, and that some of the shift was among those who did not take part in the original Brexit referendum.

In the June 23 2016 referendum, 17.4-million voters, or 51.9% of the votes cast, backed leaving the EU while 16.1-million voters, or 48.1% of votes cast, favoured staying.

Many opinion polls were wrong about the result.

The new polling showed 59% of voters would now vote to remain in the bloc, versus 41% who would opt to leave.

The findings were published in an academic-led report on Wednesday by research bodies NatCen and The UK in a Changing Europe. That is the highest recorded support for "remain" in a series of five such surveys since the 2016 referendum and a large reversal of the actual 52%-48% vote to leave.

Polling expert John Curtice, the author of the report, cautioned that those interviewed reported they had voted 53% in favour of remain in the referendum — a five percentage point higher proportion than the actual vote.

"Nevertheless, this still means that there has apparently been a six-point swing from Leave to Remain, larger than that registered by any of our previous rounds of interviewing, and a figure that would seemingly point to a 54% [Remain] vote in any second referendum held now," Curtice said in the report.

Speaking at an event to launch the report, he said the findings were broadly in line with those of other pollsters, whom he said showed an average of 52.5% support for remain.

"The apparent thin lead that remain have is at least in part built on the potential sand of the responses of those who did not vote two years ago."