Only 15 per cent of people in Britain are aware that the EU is drafting a constitution. That’s up 5 per cent from the month before (our YouGov poll for The Spectator was taken after wide coverage in the media at the end of last week), but still says little for the success of the EU in ‘engaging’ with citizens in its most important considerations.
In conducting this poll, we first gave respondents a brief explanation about what a constitution is. Then we told them how the European constitution is being developed, and outlined a few of the things it might contain. Thirty-nine per cent approved of the general idea of creating a European constitution (with 42 per cent opposed). We asked if Britain should sign up to the following proposals, if that were finally agreed: an elected president for the EU (37 per cent said ‘should’, 50 per cent said ‘should not’); a common defence policy (44 per cent to 46 per cent); an EU army – with British forces coming under EU command (20 per cent to 69 per cent); establishing guidelines by which the running of each member country’s economy would be co-ordinated (25 per cent to 63 per cent).
We asked respondents to imagine that the British government, having been part of the negotiating process, had agreed to the final version of the constitution. Should it then be left to Parliament to decide whether to sign up, or should there be a referendum? Only 12 per cent were willing to leave it to the politicians – 82 per cent wanted the whole nation to give its verdict.
We also asked how they would vote if such a referendum were held, assuming the previously listed proposals were in it.