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Obama's Push for 'Remain' Prompted More 'Leave' Votes

Image: Obama's Push for 'Remain' Prompted More 'Leave' Votes
Britain's Prime Minister David Cameron.  (AP)

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Friday, 24 Jun 2016 09:59 AM Current | Bio | Archive

President Obama’s call on the U.K. to vote “remain” in the EU referendum Thursday probably helped supporters of the “leave” position to emerge triumphant.

That was the conclusion of at least one poll conducted days before the balloting that ended with a 52-to-48 percent vote and the subsequent resignation announcement of British Prime Minister David Cameron.

While in London in April, the president warned British voters that if they left the EU, they could anticipate the U.S. putting the U.K. “at the back of the queue” in future trade agreements.

The president reportedly used the strong language at the request of Cameron. (The ties between the two world leaders on this issue were close: Jim Messina, quarterback of Obama’s 2012 winning re-election, was a top adviser to the remain campaign backed by Cameron.)

But according to a just-completed BMG Research Poll commissioned by the U.K.’s Electoral Reform Society, 24 percent of voters were more likely to vote leave after Obama’s remarks, compared to just 16 percent persuaded by him to be vote remain. The same survey showed nearly 6out of 10 British voters said they were unaffected by the U.S. president’s remarks.

“Obama’s intervention met with a very negative reaction in the U.K., with the majority of those polled saying it made them less likely to vote remain,” Ben Harris-Quinney, chairman of the Bow Group, the oldest conservative think tank in Britain, told me.

Obama wasn’t the only American to weigh in on the British referendum. Donald Trump’s endorsement of the leave position also became an issue.

“The remain campaign has certainly tried to create a connection between leave and Trump,” said Graham Stewart, considered one of the premier British historians and best-known for his book "Burying Caesar," about the rivalry between Conservative Prime Ministers Neville Chamberlain and Winston Churchill.

Stewart explained to me that “this is partly because Trump is so unpopular in the U.K. that any hint that he and leave are part of the same worldview assists remain. Leave and Trump share a common distrust of the political establishment, but that's about as far as I would push it.”

BMG’s poll found that Trump’s endorsement meant 19 percent of British voters were likely to voter for leave, and 10 percent were more likely to vote for remain because of Trump’s position.

Trump, who was in Scotland on Friday, hailed the leave vote by voters as a step toward “taking back their country.”

John Gizzi is chief political columnist and White House correspondent for Newsmax.
 


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President Obama’s call on the U.K. to vote “remain” in the EU referendum Thursday probably helped supporters of the “leave” position to emerge triumphant.
brexit, uk, eu, remain, leave
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2016-59-24
Friday, 24 Jun 2016 09:59 AM
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