There are 45 million people who are eligible to vote although, 7.5 million of them fail to register by the general election of 2015. We may see a higher figure eligibility figure should there, like Scotland, be a last minute rush to register.
Most of all we have to consider turnout. This is hard to predict. In the 1975 referendum the turnout was 64.5%, the AV referendum was a very low 42.2%. Generally, turnouts for referendums have not been promising. Indeed of all of the twelve referendums which have been held in the UK only two have breached 64% in terms of turnout; Northern Ireland Good Friday Agreement referendum, 1998 at 81.1% and the Scottish referendum even higher at 84.59%.
Assuming therefore, for the sake of argument, a turnout of between 65-70%, this would leaves us with between 29.3 million and 31.5 million potential voters. To achieve the magic 51% we would need to convince around 16 million voters.
Dr Eric Edmond highlights the difficulty of the task in front of us:
To win the in/out Cameron referendum requres [sic]a 51% vote in favour of leaving the EU. Last year in Scotland the SNP under Alex Salmond backed by Nicola Sturgeon and a superb organisation could only get 45% and we all saw how Nicola trounced Cam, Mil and Cleggy in the General Election debate.It shows the enormity of the task we face to get a leave the EU vote. LibLabCon are not scared of the referndum [sic] vote. As things stand they would win it 2 to 1.Eric Edmond, makes a crucial point. In any "out" campaign we need votes from those who have voted for anyone other than UKIP. And therein lies the danger when conducting a campaign which does not have a broad focus. Using the referendum to highlight issues of climate change, NHS, electoral reform, and immigration risks alienating the very voters across the political spectrum we need on board.
On 7th May UKIP won 12.6% of the national vote. To win the referendum they will have to quadruple that vote. That siimply [sic] cannot be done on UKIP votes. You need to attract millions of voters who voted LibLabCon.
On 7th May. UKIP got 3.8 million votes. LabCon got 20.6 million, the SNP and LibDems who are EU fanatics together got 3.8 million. So the Out campaign has to pick up roughly 10.5 million votes from LabCon to secure an out vote. That's a big ask.and with Farage anywhere near the campaign its impossible.
As Complete Bastard observers, language like "quislings, traitors and fifth columnists" with sometimes an ill-disguised anti Muslim feeling (who vote too) coupled with language on HIV infected foreigners will mean we comprehensively lose.
Ultimately the referendum will not be decided on the likes of myself who will vote 'out' regardless, nor on the likes of Nick Clegg who will vote 'in' but on the soft middle - the "could-be-persuaded-either-way". And it's here where we must make our case.