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[LONDON] Support for Britain remaining in the European Union has hit its highest in more than four years, according to a poll published on Tuesday, which coincided with a fall in support for the Eurosceptic UK Independence Party.
Pollsters YouGov said 45 per cent of people surveyed said they would vote to stay in the EU, compared to 35 per cent who would opt to leave. That was a record level of support for the EU and compared to a low of 28 per cent in May 2012, it said.
The 10-point lead for the "in" camp was also the largest YouGov has recorded since it began asking the question in September 2010, the pollster said.
Under pressure from Eurosceptic members of his Conservative Party and the rising popularity of UKIP, Prime Minister David Cameron has pledged to renegotiate Britain's EU ties before holding a referendum by 2017 if re-elected on May 7.
The opposition Labour Party, narrowly ahead of or level with Cameron's Conservatives in most polls, has said it will not offer such a referendum unless there is a substantial shift of powers from London to Brussels.
YouGov said support for remaining in the EU had risen roughly in tandem with economic confidence. "One possible explanation for the movement towards 'in' is that voters have become less interested in disrupting the status quo as they have increasingly felt its rewards," the pollster said.
YouGov surveyed 1,772 adults from Feb 22-23.