The results of the poll – carried out by leading Tory blog ConservativeHome – suggest that most Tories do not agree with leader Cameron’s claim to have secured a good deal for Britain at a summit of EU heads of state and government in Brussels last week (28-29 October).
The summit saw wrangling over the European Union's long-term spending plan for 2014-2020 kick off months earlier than anticipated, with the UK securing considerable support for a lean budget (EurActiv 29/10/10).
Fighting among the EU's 27 governments over the next long-term budget, which could be worth nearly one trillion euros, had been expected to start next June after the publication of proposals by the executive European Commission.
But Cameron insisted on discussing the issue at last week’s meeting of national leaders and managed to secure a declaration that the budget will be moderate.
"Heads of state or government stressed that, at the same time as fiscal discipline is reinforced in the European Union, it is essential that the EU budget and the forthcoming [long-term budget] reflect the consolidation efforts being made by member states," the summit's conclusions state.
After the meeting, Cameron told the press he had "succeeded spectacularly" by making sure that the EU budget would only increase by 2.9% next year instead of a 5.9% hike demanded by the Commission and the European Parliament.
But 62% of party members disagree with his assessment and 85% think the EU budget should have been cut.
Meanwhile, the summit saw Britain and other countries back Franco-German calls for tougher eurozone rules by agreeing to accept "limited" changes to the EU's main treaty in return for a cap on the EU budget (EurActiv 29/10/10).
Call for repatriation of powers
74% of Tory Party members think Cameron should have used German Chancellor Angela Merkel's request for a treaty amendment as an opportunity to get some powers repatriated to Britain. 26% agreed that accepting the treaty amendment was in the UK's interest.
The party was split on the issue of whether the UK should remain a member of the European Union. 49% would like to see Britain leave the bloc but a slender majority (51%) supports its continued membership.
Of those who want the UK to remain a member, a massive 42% said it "should stay in the EU but aim to get powers back," while just 5% said it "should stay in the EU but leave the relationship as it is".
Only 4% of Tory members believe Britain "should be more enthusiastic EU members".
Despite their disappointment with his performance at last week’s EU summit, a majority (89%) of party members declared themselves "satisfied or very satisfied" with Cameron’s overall performance as prime minister.
Just 3% were "dissatisfied" and 8% were "very dissatisfied".
Meanwhile, a massive 75% believe the coalition between their party and the Liberal Democrats is good for Britain.