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UK Currency Sliding As Brexit Jumps Ahead In The Polls

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Guy Bentley Research Associate, Reason Foundation

The UK’s currency slid to a three-week low Monday after two polls gave a lead to the campaign to get Britain out of the European Union (Brexit).

The pound fell 1.5 cents to $1.40 before making a slight comeback. “It is becoming extremely worrying for the financial markets and we expect more sterling losses if polls continue to indicate a Brexit lead,” Hussein Sayed, chief market strategist at global online broker FXTM, told the BBC.

Focusing on issues of immigration and national sovereignty, the “Leave” campaign has taken an edge in opinion polls. An ICM poll showed the Brexit camp taking a five-point lead — the largest seen yet — while a YouGov survey put Brexit four points ahead, at 45 to 41 percent.

“There has been a couple of polls in a row all showing movement towards Leave — I suppose there might be finally some movement in the race,” Anthony Wells, director of political research at YouGov, told Reuters.

“ICM’s weekly tracker and indeed at least two other polls published in the last 24 hours, suggest a move to Leave might have occurred,” Martin Boon, director of research at ICM Unlimited, said in a statement.

The UK will vote on its membership of the EU for the first time in more than 40 years June 23. The ruling Conservative government is split on the issue, while the vast majority of the opposition support remaining in the EU.

If the UK voted to leave the European Union, then a wave of countries could follow Britain’s example. In a poll released by YouGov Friday, all seven of the EU countries surveyed thought there would be more exits from the EU following Britain’s departure. (RELATED: Poll: Brexit Could Spark Wave Of Anti-EU Referendums Across Europe)

A majority of people polled in every country, with the exception of Finland, believe it is likely more countries will choose to leave the EU in the event of a Brexit. Swedes (69 percent) are the most likely to think other EU countries will follow the UK out the EU, closely followed by the Danes (66 percent).

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