Majority opinion remains decisively against Norwich Union's proposed merger with CGU, according to Insurance Times' Internet poll.

Voting is divided 67% against the move to 33% in favour.

Brokers supporting the creation of CGNU say it will have the clout and strength to compete against European insurers.

Those taking the opposite view emphasise the cost in terms of 4,000 lost jobs, reduced choice and deteriorating service standards. One broker said: "Reduced competition equals reduced service – remember the Soviet Union."

Meanwhile, analyst Barry Cornes at Charterhouse Securities put the likelihood of a counter-bid disrupting CGNU's merger bid at around 30%.