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British support for EU membership split 50-50 - ORB poll

European Union and the British Union flags fly outside Europe House in London, November 10, 2015. REUTERS/Toby Melville/File Photo

LONDON (Reuters) - British support for staying in the European Union is split 50-50 according to an opinion poll published by research firm ORB which also suggested U.S. President Obama has not won over many voters with his call for the country not to leave the bloc.

The online poll of 2,082 people, carried out between Wednesday and Friday for the Independent, showed the balance shifting slightly towards the “Leave” campaign when accounting for the likelihood of respondents to actually vote in the referendum in June.

That weighting gave the “Out” campaign 51 percent of the vote against 49 percent for “In,” ORB said on Friday.

Britons will vote on June 23 on whether to end the country’s 43-year membership of the bloc. Many opinion polls have shown the outcome is too close to call.

Supporters of the “In” campaign, which has been led by Prime Minister David Cameron, had hoped that support from by President Obama, during a visit to London last week, for Britain to stay in the EU would help their cause.

Obama stressed the importance for Washington of Britain remaining an influence in the bloc, but he also warned that the country would go “to the back of the queue” for trade talks with Washington if it left the EU.

ORB said 66 percent of respondents disagreed when asked if Obama’s comments made them more likely to vote to stay in the EU compared with 23 percent who agreed.

A spokesman for ORB said the overall, unadjusted 50-50 percent split in voting intentions compared with a 51-49 percent advantage for “In” found in an online poll by the firm in March.

Reporting by William Schomberg; editing by Stephen Addison