Survey: Britain likely to stay in EU

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LONDON — Euroscepticism is widespread but British voters are still likely to vote to remain part of the European Union in a referendum in June, according to a survey published Wednesday.

Nearly two-thirds of 3,000 people interviewed face to face for the 2015 British Social Attitudes survey were skeptical of the EU, but only 30 percent want Britain to leave the EU, political scientist John Curtice of NatCen Social Research said in a report.

Almost half of the respondents agreed that EU membership was “undermining Britain’s distinctive identity,” while only a quarter thought the economy would improve if Britain left the EU, he said.

“While the seemingly widespread cultural concern that exists in Britain is the foundation of many a doubt and grievance about Britain’s relationship with the EU, on its own that concern is typically insufficient to persuade someone that Britain should actually leave the EU,” he said.

“Only if they are also convinced of the economic case for withdrawal are people highly likely to want to take that step,” said Curtice, who was the only leading analyst to correctly forecast the result of Britain’s general election last May.

EU President Donald Tusk warned Wednesday that the bloc’s ability to handle the migration crisis would be of “key significance” to the British referendum campaign.