Photo by Gesine Garz
Photo by Gesine Garz
Last week we surveyed our readers about the upcoming EU referendum. Here’s what they told us.

Just under two thirds (64%) told us they would vote to remain in the EU, while nearly a third (28%) said they would vote to leave. The remaining 8% hadn’t decided, or didn’t think they would vote.

The “in” voters cited freedom of movement, regeneration funding for deprived areas and a feeling of “being European”. They were concerned that an unchecked Conservative government could degrade individual rights, the UK could become isolated, and xenophobic attitudes could increase. And they praised the EU’s responsible attitude towards the environment, the Human Rights Act, and access to the European Single Market.

“The new College and Rail Station, as well as Lacuna Place and the new business parks were built with the help of EU money,” said Dean Morrison. “The fishermen have recently been awarded millions in support, and if we left they’d lose access to the premium markets in France and Spain where they can get the best prices for their catch.”

For those voting “out”, fishing was also a key issue, with many criticising EU fishing quotas.

“Hastings’ under 10 meter boats were given a raw deal on quotas,” said one respondent, who didn’t leave a name. “They have fished our waters for years and they understand sustainable fishing but they’re being squeezed out by the quotas. Their boats sit on the shore whilst foreign fishing vessels fish our waters.”

They also cited a desire to regain British sovereignty, concerns about immigration, and the amount of money the UK pays to be in the EU (£55m a day for membership, or £23m factoring in rebates and EU spend in the UK).

Top five reasons given for staying in:

  1. Helps tourism and language schools
  2. EU funding for deprived areas and fishing
  3. Increased social diversity and tolerance
  4. EU is a check on Tory government
  5. We are European, and part of Europe

Top five reasons given for voting out:

  1. No more EU fishing quotas
  2. UK gets its sovereignty back
  3. £23m a day not spent on EU
  4. EU is unelected and undemocratic
  5. Border control and immigration

We surveyed 120 people between 23rd and 26th February, via Facebook, Twitter and our website. This is a small sample size, intended to prompt discussion rather than predict an outcome. Taking a population of 80,000 and a sample size of 120, we can be 95% certain of our results within a confidence interval of 9. Or in other words, we can say that a majority  of the population (between 54% and 72%) wish to remain in the EU.

The survey was open to all who have internet access. Of the respondents, 62% were male and 37% female; 15% were aged 21-30, 29% were 31-40, 22% were 41-50, 19% were 51-60 and the remaining 11% were older or younger. You can download the optional comments given by people who took the survey here: EU survey data.

Note: We’ve had some feedback on our use of “Hastonians” in the headline, and opinions are mixed. So what do you call people who live in Hastings? Take our poll here.