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Brits Seem Evenly Divided on Brexit

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British Prime Minister David Cameron makes a statement appealing for people to vote to remain in the European Union outside 10 Downing Street in London, June 21, 2016. Britain votes whether to stay in the EU in a referendum on Thursday.
British Prime Minister David Cameron makes a statement appealing for people to vote to remain in the European Union outside 10 Downing Street in London, June 21, 2016. Britain votes whether to stay in the EU in a referendum on Thursday.

Opinion studies in Britain show almost equal support for staying and remaining in the European Union ahead of a vote on the issue Thursday.

British Prime Minister David Cameron made an appeal Tuesday for voters to support staying in the 28-member EU.

“Brits don't quit,” said Cameron in remarks outside his Downing Street office. He especially appealed to older voters who have been less supportive of the campaign to stay in the EU.

“It will just be you in that polling booth. Just you, taking a decision that will affect your future, your children's future, your grandchildren's future.” He added: “They can't undo the decision we take. If we vote out, that's it. It's irreversible.”

Cameron also spoke to Britons who did not vote for him and may not agree with his policies. “I know that not everyone has been happy with what I’ve done. But of this I am convinced. Indeed, of this, every living prime minister – whether Labor or Conservative – is convinced. Britain is better off inside the EU than out on our own.”

A pro-Brexit campaigner hands out leaflets at Liverpool Street station in London.
A pro-Brexit campaigner hands out leaflets at Liverpool Street station in London.

Cameron repeated his view that leaving the EU would harm Britain’s economy and national security for many years. He has said the move could eliminate half a million jobs and lead to inflation.

The British leader’s latest comments came as one opinion survey found a small drop in support for EU membership. The poll was carried out by the company Survation. It has the “Remain” campaign leading with 45 percent, while “Leave” got 44 percent.

Brexit vote is too close to call

Other surveys in recent days suggested the race is too close to call. British citizens will participate in the popular vote, or referendum, on Thursday.

The “Remain” campaign got last-minute support Tuesday from a famous couple, David and Victoria Beckham.

In a statement, the international soccer star compared the issue to the importance of a unified team in sports. “We live in a vibrant and connected world where together as a people we are strong. For our children and their children, we should be facing the problems of the world together and not alone.”

Beckham’s wife Victoria is a fashion designer and former singer for the Spice Girls. She voiced her support on Instagram. She did so after the “Leave” campaign used words she spoke in the past to make it seem like she agreed with Britain leaving the EU

“I believe in my country, I believe in a future for my children where we are stronger together and I support the #remain campaign,” Beckham wrote.

A securities firm's electronic stock indicator reflects pedestrians passing by in Tokyo, June 20, 2016. Global markets jumped Monday as polls suggest British voters on Thursday will choose to remain in the European Union.
A securities firm's electronic stock indicator reflects pedestrians passing by in Tokyo, June 20, 2016. Global markets jumped Monday as polls suggest British voters on Thursday will choose to remain in the European Union.

The “Leave” campaign says a main reason for Britain to leave the group is increased immigration. It says Britain cannot effectively control the number of immigrants because of current EU rules.

As part of its last-minute effort, the anti-EU Independence Party released a poster showing a traffic jam with the message, “The school over-run.” The party claims immigration has left nearly one-fourth of British primary schools full or overcrowded.

Vote could have economic impact

U.S. Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen spoke about the issue before the Senate Banking Committee. She said if Britain did vote to leave the EU, it “could have significant economic repercussions.”

Yellen was asked whether she thought Britain’s departure could cause a recession in the United States. “I don't think that is the most likely case, but we just don't really know what will happen and we will have to watch very carefully.”

With voting just days away, betting brokers are profiting from the referendum.

Last week, gambling bookmaker Skybet gave nearly even odds that Britain would leave the E.U. Now most companies are giving 3-1 odds against “Leave.”

I’m Bryan Lynn.

Bryan Lynn wrote this story for Learning English based on reporting from Zlatica Hoke and Jamie Dettmer of VOA with additional reports from the Associated Press and Reuters. Mario Ritter was the editor.

We want to hear from you. Which side do you think will win the ‘Brexit’ vote? Write to us in the Comments section, and visit our Facebook page

Words in This Story

irreversible – adj. not able to be changed or altered

view – n. an opinion or way of thinking

eliminate – v. to remove or get rid of

surveyn. the measuring of public opinion on a given topic

brokern. a person who sells goods or services for others

gamblingn. the playing of games of chance for money

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