Gibraltarians will turn out in high numbers in the June 23 referendum, according to a Chronicle poll that also found locals will overwhelmingly vote to remain in the European Union.
Just under 85% of the 596 people polled said they would vote in the referendum, with just 5% saying they would not participate and 10% indicating they were still unsure.
Of the 506 people who said they would cast a vote, 88% said they would choose to remain in the EU, while 8% would vote to leave and 3% were undecided.
The findings will be welcomed by the Gibraltar Stronger In Europe campaign and are published at the start of the official campaign period in the run-up to polling day.
They also come after Chief Minister Fabian Picardo delivered an unprecedented message on GBC last night on behalf of Gibraltar’s current and past political leaders.
The text of the broadcast had been approved beforehand by Deputy Chief Minister and Minister for Europe, Dr Joseph Garcia, and the Leader of the Opposition, Daniel Feetham. It was also cleared by former Chief Ministers Sir Peter Caruana, Joe Bossano and Adolfo Canepa.
Mr Picardo said the EU was not perfect, but that Gibraltar was united in its belief that this community and the UK were better off inside the bloc.
“Membership of the EU allows our businesses to sell their services throughout the single market,” Mr Picardo said.
“And it allows us freedom of personal movement throughout the EU.”
“Although our free movement is sometimes hampered by the Spanish Government’s measures at the frontier, the EU Treaties have been the only way we have been able to insist on a legal route to enforce our rights.”
The Chief Minister acknowledged the possibility that the UK might leave the EU but said Gibraltar, no matter what challenges lay ahead, would survive.
But he said if Britain voted out, then Gibraltar must be able to show that it did not contribute to that result.
“We must be able to point to a massive turnout of those eligible to vote here,” he said. “So please ensure you are registered to vote and that you make arrangements to vote if you will be away from Gibraltar.”
“And we must be able to point to a vote which is as clear and robust as possible to stay in the EU.”
“That will help us to make the moral case, if it happens, that exiting the EU is not of our making and that the United Kingdom must, more than ever, assist us in resolving such issues as we may face as a result.”
In that respect, the results of the Chronicle poll will provide a boost to the Gibraltar Stronger In Europe campaign.
An earlier poll by Panorama found that 49% of respondents said they would vote to leave the EU, compared to 48% who said they would opt to stay. An ongoing GBC poll puts the figure of those who would leave at 19%, compared to the 80% who would stay.
But both those polls were carried out online, meaning they could be influenced by people outside Gibraltar.
The Chronicle poll was carried out in person over two days this week by Sonia Golt and her team, who spoke only to people eligible to vote in Gibraltar on June 23.
The poll predicts a high turnout and a massive vote for In, but it also highlights that there is work to be done between now and polling day.
For one thing, around 59 people – or nearly 10% – said they did not know whether they would vote in the referendum, even though they were eligible. Of those, 41% were at the younger end of the age spectrum and aged between 18 and 34.
Respondents were also asked to identify which issues would influence their voting intention from a list of five issues including relations with the UK; the border and relations with Spain; security; the economy; and migration.
The results identified that the impact of a Brexit on relations with the UK, the economy and the border were the three main concerns on the minds of voters.
But while the economy topped the list of concerns for voters aged between 18 and 54 – followed by the border/relations with Spain and relations with the UK in third place – respondents aged over 55 were most concerned about the impact of a Brexit on Gibraltar’s relations with the UK.
The second most significant concern for the older generation was the impact of a Brexit on the economy, followed by the border and relations with Spain.
And while some respondents identified security as a key concern, only one indicated that migration – a major issue for UK voters – would influence their decision.