Eurosceptics lining up to oppose Nigel Farage as a leader of the "Out" campaign have been handed some substantial ammunition today.

The Ukip leader is the second most distrusted high-profile politician among the public on the EU issue. Only Tony Blair, Farage's old Europhile enemy and former Labour prime minister, attracts more suspicion.

The findings come from a Survation poll, which was commissioned by think-tank British Future and questioned more than 3,900 voters between 8 and 15 May

The survey found that Blair (59%), Farage (54%) and Nicola Sturgeon (53%) attracted the most distrust among the respondents, while David Cameron (49%) and Boris Johnson (45%) were the most trusted.

"The findings highlight how vocal advocates in both the 'pro' and 'anti' camps in the EU debate may be turning-off the very voters they need to persuade," the British Future report read.

"In Farage's case, the Ukip leader appeals to existing supporters but repels the majority of British citizens who remain undecided about Britain's place in Europe. The survey finds that Blair is distrusted by the public whether they are 'in' or 'out', 'decided' or 'undecided' alike."

But Farage (-18) jumps ahead if Sturgeon (-22) and Blair (-31) on a net rating of trust, with Labour's interim leader Harriet Harman on -13.

The data comes after splits began to emerge in the "Out" team. John Mills, one of Labour's biggest donors, suggested that Kate Hoey should lead the campaign. Meanwhile, Ukip MEP Tim Aker showed his support for Farage on the issue.

"What is to be gained from side-lining Nigel? The only thing to me, is it seems the long term survival of the Conservative Party and nothing else," the Huffington Post reported him saying.

But Douglas Carswell, Ukip's only MP, has suggested that a high-profile business leader like Eurosceptic and engineering entrepreneur James Dyson should lead the "Out" team.

Ukip had not responded to a request for comment on the British Future survey at the time of publication.