David Cameron has a mountain to climb if he is to persuade voters to stay in the EU, according to the first opinion poll since his landmark speech on Europe.
A poll in The Times shows the UK would vote by 53% to 47% to leave the European Union if a referendum was held now and not in 2017, as the Prime Minister is proposing.
But in a blow to the Prime Minister and senior Tories, the Populus poll suggests UKIP voters are unimpressed by Mr Cameron’s referendum and negotiate ploy.
Only 8% of UKIP supporters said the PM’s referendum pledge made them more likely to vote Tory.
More than twice that number of UKIP voters, 17%, said they were now less likely to vote Conservative and 75% said they were unmoved.
The poll will be a major disappointment to Mr Cameron and his inner circle, who would have been hoping for a substantial referendum bounce in the first poll since his speech on Wednesday.
The survey also reveals that many voters have already made up their minds about the EU, regardless of the new deal Mr Cameron seeks to negotiate for Britain.
Half of those who want Britain to remain in the UK and two-fifths of those who want to quit say their vote in 2017 will have little or nothing to do with the details of UK opt-outs or repatriated powers.
Boris Johnson, the London Mayor, put a question mark over whether he would support continued EU membership in a future referendum, telling an interviewer at the World Economic Forum in Davos: “I can’t say now.”
The poll also shows that the Prime Minister’s speech did little to improve his chances of winning an outright Tory victory at the next General Election.
A quarter of Liberal Democrat voters (23%) and Labour voters (26%) said Mr Cameron’s “renegotiate and referendum” strategy made it less likely they would vote Tory in 2015.