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In Wake of Jo Cox Killing, Voters Back Away from Brexit

One survey found that support for "Remain" had jumped to 44 percent, while support for "Leave," had fallen to 43 percent

A memorial for pro-EU politician Jo Cox, who was killed last Thursday by a man with suspected ties to right-wing nationalist groups. (Photo: AFP)

New polls show the British public may be rethinking its stance on exiting the European Union after last week's killing of Labour Party MP Jo Cox, who was known as a "champion of refugees" and was in favor of keeping Britain's membership in the group.

An exclusive survey for the Independent conducted over the weekend found that the "Remain" campaign may have pulled back into the lead, and three polls released after that found public opinion swinging back to the pro-EU faction.

One survey by YouGov conducted for the Sunday Times found that support for "Remain" had jumped five points to 44 percent, while the support for "Leave," also known as "Brexit," had fallen three points to 43 percent.

Nigel Farage, leader of the UK's right-wing Independence Party, admitted on Sunday that the Brexit campaign "did have momentum until this terrible tragedy."

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"It has had an impact on the whole campaign for everybody," Farage said.

The suspect in Cox's killing reportedly made anti-immigration and nationalist statements before he shot and stabbed her as she met with constituents in Birstall, West Yorkshire. Her death prompted both sides of the Brexit vote to halt their lobbying for three days. And, according to some experts, the tragedy and the subsequent pause in campaigning may have been enough to change the game.

David Marsh, European markets columnist at MarketWatch, wrote on Monday that the turn of events "may spur a sharp sympathy vote for Remain protagonists favoring the status quo."

Marsh added that "Opinion polls—largely based on surveys before Thursday’s assassination—show both sides are still neck-and-neck. But the widespread assumption is that Cox’s demise dents pro-Brexit forces."

The Independent also noted that still one in 10 voters are undecided, but that when asked to predict what side they would be more likely to support, 20 percent responded in favor of Remain, and only 11 percent said they would vote for Leave.

Britain votes on Thursday whether or not to exit the European Union.

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