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UK support for Brexit rises despite Obama's call - opinion polls

LONDON (Reuters) - Support for the campaign to get Britain out of the European Union has risen in recent days, two opinion polls showed on Tuesday, suggesting U.S. President Barack Obama’s call for the UK to stay in the bloc had not yet had the impact he wanted.

A slogan of the "Vote Leave" campaign is projected onto the White Cliffs of Dover in southern England, urging people to support leaving the EU, March 11, 2016. REUTERS/Peter Nicholls

Forty-six percent of voters were in favour of a so-called Brexit, more than the 44 percent who believed Britain should stay in the EU, ICM said, citing the intentions of people who planned to take part in the June 23 referendum.

That was a slightly wider lead for “Out” than in last week’s ICM online poll and it took some of the wind out of a recovery in the value of the pound which had hit a 12-week high against the dollar on signs that the “In” campaign was gaining momentum. [GPB/]

The poll was conducted between Friday and Sunday, covering the period immediately after Obama made a blunt call for Britain to stay in the EU and warned the country would go to the “back of the queue” in trade talks with Washington if it left.

Earlier on Tuesday, a telephone poll by ORB for The Daily Telegraph newspaper showed the “In” campaign remained in the lead by 51-43, based on all voters. But its support had fallen by two percentage points and “Out” was up by the same amount compared with the previous ORB poll.

Lynton Crosby, an election strategist who helped Cameron win last May’s election, said the Telegraph’s poll showed “not much has changed over the past week” despite Obama on Friday urging Britons to remain in the bloc.

“The effect of the president’s visit may not yet be felt in the numbers as sometimes it takes a while for factors to wash through. Also, people may not take much notice of what an outsider has to say,” he wrote in The Telegraph.

Crosby said the “In” campaign was at risk of “voter complacency” - almost three-fifths of voters polled said they believed those campaigning to stay in the EU will win and may not feel they have to turn out to vote.

“Who is leading at this stage may be indicative of what is yet to come, but the road ahead remains fraught,” Crosby said.

“I wouldn’t be hanging out the victory bunting just yet. The marathon has barely begun.”

Reporting by Guy Faulconbridge and Elizabeth Piper; Editing by Stephen Addison