EU referendum: most business owners still back ‘remain’, but it’s now a closer call

Have you decided how you’re going to vote in the EU referendum? It seems that business owners are no longer so enthusiastic about remaining in Europe…

‘Remain’ lead shrinks as polling day draws closer

Britons go to the polls on the 23rd June, and new research shows that although most business people still want to stay in Europe, the margin has reduced in the last couple of months.

The latest figures from the British Chambers of Commerce (BCC), an independent business network, show that 54% of business owners say they want to stay, down from 60% in February. Most people claim they’re now unlikely to change their minds before polling day.

How will the EU referendum affect businesses?

Commenting on the results, the BCC’s Dr Adam Marshall said: “As the EU referendum campaign enters the final straight, the race for the business vote has clearly tightened.”

He added that few people think that the referendum campaign so far has had a big impact on their business, but that “significant numbers say that they expect significant impacts in the aftermath of the vote – particularly if Leave carries the day.”

The BCC surveyed over 2,200 businesspeople last month and the results also show that owners of large businesses are more likely to vote ‘remain’ than microbusiness owners. Unsurprisingly, businesses that trade with the EU are also more supportive of staying in Europe.

YouGov poll tells a similar story

General public opinion shows a similar trend, with the latest data from YouGov’s EU Referendum Tracker giving a slender lead to the remain campaign, with 42% saying they will vote to stay in and 40% saying they will vote to leave.

But can polls like this really be trusted? Last year’s general election showed that there’s often a gulf between how people say they’re going to vote and what they actually do when they get to the ballot box.

Politicians take the debate up a notch

Meanwhile, politicians on either side of the campaign have been ratcheting up the debate. George Osborne has warned that a British exit could threaten thousands of financial sector jobs, while Boris Johnson has cautioned that the new Living wage could act as a pull factor for immigrants if the UK remains in Europe.

How are you going to vote in June, and do you expect the referendum outcome to affect your business? Tell us in the comments.

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