Gideon Rachman thinks that the Leave campaign has the edge in the “Brexit” debate:

And in politics, as the saying goes: “If you are explaining, you are losing.” Ominously, early focus groups suggest that, when undecided voters are exposed to the arguments of both sides of the debate, they are more likely to move towards a vote to leave [bold mine-DL]. The polls also show that anti-EU voters are more likely to vote than the pro-EU camp. Meanwhile, Europe is looking like an increasingly tough sell, what with the euro crisis and the refugee one.

The argument for staying in the EU is necessarily not very exciting or inspiring. It is an argument for the status quo, and it requires British voters to believe that their country will be better off remaining part of a deeply undemocratic and poorly-run supranational organization. Unlike the debate over Scottish independence, there is no emotional or patriotic appeal to be made in favor of an “In” vote, and there is no shared identity or history that is at risk of being lost. Staying in the EU and keeping the European project moving towards “ever closer union” are purely elite preoccupations that mean nothing to the vast majority of voters in Britain and elsewhere, and given an in-or-out choice it is understandable that more voters would prefer the latter. By contrast, the Leave campaign can appeal to longstanding traditions of self-government and it can rely on populist resentment against both Westminster and Brussels.

The Telegraph reported on one survey last week that found that the Leave and Remain campaigns had almost equal support overall, but among those that are definitely going to vote in the referendum the lead for Leave grew to seven points. I doubt that Obama’s support for Remain will have much effect on that. It is more likely to energize “Brexit” supporters and add to their determination to turn out.

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