UK voters leaning towards Brexit, Guardian poll reveals

Phone and online survey shows a 52-48 split in favour of leaving the EU as referendum campaign gathers steam

Public opinion has shifted towards the UK leaving the EU, two Guardian/ICM polls suggest as the referendum campaign picks up pace with voters split 52% -48% in favour of Brexit, whether surveyed online or by phone.

Previous polls have tended to show voters surveyed online to be more in favour of Britain leaving the EU. But in the latest ICM research, carried out for the Guardian, both methodologies yielded the same result a majority in favour of leaving.

Our poll rather unhinges a few accepted orthodoxies, said ICMs director, Martin Boon. It is only one poll but, in a rather unexpected reverse of polling assumptions so far, both our phone poll and our online poll are consistent on both vote intentions and on the EU referendum.

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In the phone poll of more than 1,000 adults, 45% said they favoured leaving the EU, and 42% remaining, with 13% saying they did not know. Once the dont knows were excluded, that left 52% in favour of Brexit, against 48% for remain.

Using online polling, 47% said they would like to leave and 44% remain, with 9% saying they were undecided. Excluding the latter, the result was the same as the phone method 52-48 in favour of leaving.

The result using the online method is almost unchanged, but the phone polling appears to be picking up a shift towards leaving the EU, despite a slew of warnings from the most senior members of the government about the economic risks of doing so.

When ICM carried out a poll for the Guardian in mid-May, remain had a 10 percentage point lead among those polled by phone, on 55% to 45%. The online method produced the same result as the latest one: 52% for leave compared with 48% for remain.

Priti Patel and Penny Mordaunt hold up Vote Leave posters with supporters in Portsmouth. Photograph: Matt Cardy/Getty Images

This latest result is likely to alarm the Stronger In Europe campaign, which had previously taken comfort from the tendency for phone polls to deliver a pro-remain verdict.

Boon said the polling suggested there would be a healthy turnout in the referendum. Asked how likely they were to vote on 23 June, more than 60% of respondents on both methods gave a score of 10 out of 10, which he said pointed to a turnout of 60-62%.

As well as checking voters intentions for the referendum, ICM asked which party they would vote for. The findings were almost unchanged compared with mid-May, with the phone poll showing the Conservatives on 36%, and Labour down 2 percentage points at 32%.

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Brexit parties

Support for Ukip appeared to have picked up, perhaps aided by the prominence of the partys leader, Nigel Farage, during the referendum campaign and the focus on immigration in the debate. The party scored 15% in the phone poll, up 2 percentage points from last time.

Gisela Stuart, the chair of Vote Leave and a Labour MP, told the Guardian recently that the partys backing for remaining in the EU was a recruiting agent for Ukip.

Support for Brexit is split along class and geographical lines, according to ICM. Among skilled manual workers, known by pollsters as C2s, support for Brexit is running as high as 62%. Scotland is for remain, while voters in England and Wales would back Brexit.

ICM Unlimited interviewed 1,004 people by phone, and 2,052 people online on 27-29 May 2016. Interviews were conducted across the country and in both cases the results have been weighted to the profile of all adults. ICM is a member of the British Polling Council and abides by its rules.

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Should parents leash their toddlers?

(CNN)The tragic death over the weekend of Harambe, the endangered lowland mountain gorilla shot dead at the Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical Garden after a 3-year-old boy fell into his enclosure, has touched off a roaring debate:

Is the zoo to blame for creating an inadequate enclosure, and then for needlessly killing Harambe when a tranquilizer might have been sufficient? Or is it the child’s parents‘ fault for letting the boy out of their sight long enough to have made his way in?
A petition calls for the Cincinnati Zoo, Ohio’s Hamilton County Child Protection Services and the Cincinnati Police Department to hold the parents responsible. Meanwhile, his mother defended herself in a Facebook post (since deleted) saying, basically, “accidents happen.”
The truth is that responsibility lies with a number of people. But the better question the incident raises may instead be: How can we prevent a similar tragedy from happening?


Leashing our responsibilities would simply give us even more freedom to be less present. Wrap a leash around your wrist, and guess what: You’ve still got two thumbs to text.
By all accounts, the Cincinnati Zoo enclosure was not unsafe. The 3-year-old who entered Harambe’s enclosure did not do so accidentally. Some onlookers reported hearing him tell his mother that he was going to go into the water.
Accessing the enclosure, meanwhile, required the child crawl through a series of barriers, through wires, and then across a moat. He was determined, and without adequate supervision by his parents or any number of the adults in the area he achieved his goal.
To the question of how can parents keep better track of their kids in these kinds of potentially dangerous places? The answer is, simply, parent. Do your job.

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North Korean state media op-ed calls Trump ‘wise,’ Clinton ‘dull’

(CNN)A North Korean state media website on Tuesday published an op-ed praising Donald Trump, who said two weeks ago he would be willing to speak directly to Pyongyang’s young leader, Kim Jong Un.

Writing in DPRK Today, a self-described Chinese North Korean scholar named Han Yong Mook called the presumptive Republican nominee “wise” and a “far-sighted presidential candidate.”
“The president that U.S. citizens must vote for is not that dull Hillary — who claimed to adapt the Iranian model to resolve nuclear issues on the Korean Peninsula — but Trump, who spoke of holding direct conversation with North Korea,” he wrote.
The piece, translated by NK Today, an independent news site focused on North Korea, highlighted Trump’s skepticism of American alliances in East Asia. The billionaire businessman also mused about withdrawing some or all of the more than 75,000 U.S. troops currently stationed in South Korea and Japan.
“Japan is better if it protects itself against this maniac of North Korea,” Trump told CNN’s Anderson Cooper in March. “We are better off, frankly, if South Korea is going to start protecting itself … they have to protect themselves or they have to pay us.”
“Who knew that the slogan ‘Yankee Go Home’ would come true like this?,” the DPRK Today article said. “The day when the ‘Yankee Go Home’ slogan becomes real would be the day of Korean Unification.”
The Heritage Foundation’s Bruce Klingner, a former CIA officer, told CNN that Pyongyang would welcome any move — by any potential leader — to effectively weaken the U.S. relationship with South Korea and Japan.
“North Korea has had a long standing objective to divide the U.S. from its allies, to remove U.S. forces or at least reduce them on the peninsula,” he said. “If they see a future policy-maker as advocating the removal of U.S. forces, that fulfills their objectives, so they would be in favor of anyone who’s willing to do that.”
The North Korean regime does not publicly support reunification of the Korean Peninsula and in the last week forcefully rejected Trump’s initial nod at new engagement, calling it a “kind of propaganda or advertisement.”
“This is useless, just a gesture for the presidential election,” So Se Pyong, North Korea’s ambassador to the U.N., told Reuters last week. “There is no meaning, no sincerity.”

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‘Mayhem’ as authorities try to capture 137 tigers at Thai temple

Bangkok (CNN)Authorities armed with tranquilizer guns are still trying to capture dozens of tigers at a controversial Buddhist temple in Thailand after monks allegedly set some free to delay the process.

“Yesterday was mayhem,” Wildlife Conservation Office (WCO) director Teunjai Noochdumrong told CNN Tuesday.
“When our vet team arrived, there were tigers roaming around everywhere,” Noochdumrong said. “Looks like the temple intentionally let these tigers out, trying to obstruct our work.”
The “Tiger Temple,” in Kanchanaburi Province west of Bangkok, has long been popular with tourists, who could walk among the tigers and pose for photos. Thailand’s Wildlife Conservation Office (WCO) said the temple’s 137 tigers posed a danger to visitors and that they were being mistreated.


The temple also charged tourists to enter the compound and walk with the big cats, however Pakcharoong said the money was used to pay for the tigers’ care.
“We have to do that because that is how we earn the money and use that money to take care and raise our tigers,” said Pakcharoong.

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Rolling Stone’s Ronnie Wood becomes dad to twins — at 68

(CNN)Papa was a Rolling Stone.

Rolling Stone guitarist Ron Wood welcomed kid no. 5 and 6 into the world when his wife, Sally, gave birth to twins Monday.
That’s a pretty neat early birthday gift for a man who turns 69 later this week. Yes, 69.
But Wood isn’t alone in the “no, that’s not my grandchild, that’s my child” club.
Other celebs who’ve had kids well into their 60s — and beyond — include Wood’s old friend Rod Stewart, Paul McCartney, media mogul Rupert Murdoch and actor Robert De Niro.
In Wood’s case, the mother of the twins — third wife, Sally Humphreys — is younger than his oldest child.
The twin girls, named Gracie Jane and Alice Rose, “are perfect,” Stones’ publicist Bernard Doherty said.
On Sunday, the day before the girls were born, Wood tweeted a pic of him with a dog “waiting” for their arrival.

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California governor Brown endorses Clinton

(CNN)California Governor Jerry Brown lent his support to Hillary Clinton Tuesday, saying it was the only way to “stop the dangerous candidacy of Donald Trump.”

Next week’s California primary is the final battleground for Clinton as she prepares to clinch the nomination. But it has become an unexpectedly tight race between her and Bernie Sanders, which does not bode well for Clinton.
Even though she will likely secure the nomination in New Jersey, which also goes to the polls June 7, Clinton has banked on the support of non-white Americans. A loss in the diverse Golden State would show that Sanders has made in-roads with these voters. Sanders has pledged to stay in the race until the Democratic convention in July.
In an open letter to Democrats and independents in California, Brown said he was “deeply impressed” by how well Sanders has done and with his message of the growing divide between the wealthy and the rest of Americans.
But Clinton knows how to get things done and advance the Democratic agenda, the governor said. He pointed out that she has approximately 3 million more votes and hundreds more delegates than her rival. Also, she needs to win only 10% of the remaining delegates to clinch the nomination, he said.
“Clinton’s lead is insurmountable and Democrats have shown — by millions of votes — that they want her as their nominee,” Brown wrote.
“The stakes couldn’t be higher. This is no time for Democrats to keep fighting each other,” he continued. “The general election has already begun. Hillary Clinton, with her long experience, especially as Secretary of State, has a firm grasp of the issues and will be prepared to lead our country on day one.”
Brown also listed his fears of what a Trump presidency could mean, pointing out the Republican frontrunner has called climate change a hoax, promised to deport millions of immigrants, suggested other countries need nuclear weapons and promised to nominate conservative justices to the Supreme Court.
Michael Briggs, a Sanders spokesman, said the campaign wouldn’t comment on the endorsement when asked for a response Tuesday. But Bernie Sanders’ wife, Jane Sanders, dismissed the endorsement Tuesday afternoon as another sign of the “Democratic establishment” ganging up on the Vermont senator.
“Throughout the country, Bernie has had to take on the governors, the senators, the congressmen, the Democratic establishment in each race,” Jane Sanders told CNN’s Wolf Blitzer on “Wolf.””He’s won 20 states and there’s a number of them up this coming week that I think he’ll win as well, and California might well be one of them, and that may be why (Brown is) weighing in now on behalf of the Democratic establishment.”
A Public Policy Institute of California poll released last week found Clinton ahead of Sanders 46%-44% among likely Democratic primary voters — within the poll’s margin of error.

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Trump’s popularity inexplicable and Brexit spells disaster, says Stephen Hawking

Scientist repeats backing for remain in EU campaign and says US presidential candidate is demagogue who appeals to lowest common denominator

Stephen Hawking has said that he fails to understand the popularity of Donald Trump, the presumptive US Republican presidential candidate.

Brexit explained: key players

ITVs Good Morning Britain asked the man who has widened the worlds understanding of time, space, stars, galaxies and black holes if he could explain the popular appeal of the billionaire tycoon.

Hawking, perhaps the worlds most famous living scientist and the author of one of the worlds best-selling books, replied: I cant. Hes a demagogue who seems to appeal to the lowest common denominator.

He also ventured once again into political issues, appealing to British voters to back the remain campaign in the EU referendum on 23 June not just for economic and security reasons, but for the sake of science as well. In March, he pronounced the prospect of Brexit a disaster for science.

Gone are the days when we could stand on our own, against the world, he said on the television breakfast show. We need to be part of a larger group of nations, both for our security and our trade. The possibility of our leaving the EU has already led to a sharp fall in the pound, because the markets judge that it will damage our economy.

Hawking also addressed the biggest concern of many: immigration.

There are two obvious reasons why we should stay in. The first is that it promotes the mobility of people. Students can come here from EU countries to study, and our students can go to other EU universities. More importantly, at the level of research, the exchange of people enables skills to transfer more quickly, and brings new people with different ideas, derived from their different backgrounds, he said.

The other reason is financial. The European Research Council has given large grants to UK institutions, either to foster or promote exchanges.

The Cambridge scientist, like Isaac Newton 350 years ago, was once Lucasian professor of physics at Cambridge University. Hawking was diagnosed with motor neurone disease in 1963 and given two years to live. Instead he wrote A Brief History of Time and became one of the worlds bestselling authors, and one of the worlds most instantly recognised scientists: he has appeared in his wheelchair in both Star Trek and the Simpsons.

Because he communicates, with difficulty, using a computerised voice that pronounces words he must spell out a letter at a time, all his opinions must be counted as carefully considered.

And over the years, he has been unapologetically opinionated, not just on behalf of his fellow scientists, and on behalf of Britains disabled, but on wider matters: he joined an academic boycott in protest against Israeli treatment of Palestinians; he backed a recent $100m project to accelerate a tiny spacecraft to a fifth of the speed of light and send it to the nearest star system; he has spoken in favour of assisted suicide for the terminally ill; he has spoken up for atheism; he has made ominous pronouncements about artificial intelligence research; and he has even invited the fans of One Direction to imagine an alternative universe in which Zayn Malik was still with the band.

His latest return to referendum politics is less of a surprise: many of Britains most senior scientists have backed the remain campaign.

The exit enthusiasts however, are not swayed.

Brexit for non-Brits: the EU referendum explained

The EU has been bad for science increasing costs and bureaucracy. The clinical trials directive, for example, acted to double the cost of cancer research as leading scientists and medical practitioners have acknowledged, said the Vote Leave chief executive, Matthew Elliott.

In the internet age, it is patently ridiculous to suggest that the referendum will have an impact on the exchange of information between scientists. And with our world class universities, the calibre of scientists wanting to study here is unlikely to do anything except grow.

We give more money to the EU than we get back meaning we could spend more on science if we vote to leave.

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